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Quick Report: Shed 2 at the Dallas Farmers Market

Texas peaches are available at the Dallas Farmers Market. However, the situation inside Shed 2 is anything but peachy.

Forgive me as I step up on my soap box for a minute. Last Sunday, I took my family to lunch at Pecan Lodge Catering in Shed 2 of the Dallas Farmers Market. I’m a long-time supporter of local farmers and both D Magazine and SideDish have promoted many of the events, cooking classes, and developments that take place at DFM. But I’ve got to say, I’m very disappointed in the progress inside Shed 2. The air-conditioned space designed to encourage local, artisanal food vendors and local handicrafters is still half-empty. At 1:00PM last Sunday, the cavernous space was sparsely populated. Unfair Park’s Robert Wilonsky wrote a great piece on the economic reality the vendors face: high month-to-month rents and little security as vendors can be moved at any time for any reason. (It’s all here.)

Fried chicken from Pecan Lodge Catering at the Dallas Farmers Market.

(Stepping down) Anywhoo, despite what goes on behind the scenes, we had a great time hanging in Shed 2. First, we feasted at Pecan Lodge Catering. As I mentioned earlier today, the barbecue side of PLC’s menu was “closed” because they were putting the finishing touches on their new smokehouse. Instead of going for the usual burnt ends, we explored other items on the menu. And you know what I found? The best piece of fried chicken in Dallas. The guy in line behind me said, “I drive all the way from Balch Springs every weekend to eat this chicken.” Who is going to argue with that?

Jump for more goodness.

I also caught up with Ben Rikhilal at Kurry King. He moved out of Shed 2 when the new rent rules went into play, but moved back in last June. What I didn’t know is that the affable Rikhilal played soccer for South Africa in the 1968 World Cup. “We lost in the first round,” Rikhilal said. “But I went on to become the president of soccer in South Africa.” Today, thanks to the high rent he is paying, he is barely making ends meet. I suggest you stock up on his products. His dip spices are a must have for your pantry as is his white bean chili mix.

We couldn’t miss Paul Wackym, the energetic pusher behind the addictive Wackym Cookies. My perfect nephew depleted Paul’s salted caramel samples. (I prefer the crunchy margarita cookies.) Since he started sampling his cookies at the Farmers Market, Paul has managed to get his cookies on the shelves in grocery stores around town. Brian Luscher serves them in his restaurant, The Grape.

Texas blueberries for $3 a pint.

Outside, our local farmers were slicing and selling some fine fruits and vegetables. I have a bag of peaches and a bowl of blueberries sitting on my desk.

I urge you to take a cooking class, participate in Days of Taste, join Farmers Market Friends, and get to know the regular vendors at the Dallas Farmers Market. They are so devoted to bringing you local goodies.  It breaks my heart to learn how hard Ben Rikhilal works to cover his costs.

Gratuitous shot of my nephew, James, sharing a cookie at Pecan Lodge.

9 comments on “Quick Report: Shed 2 at the Dallas Farmers Market

  1. All the way from Balch Springs???? Thats a 10 minute drive, not exactly a cross country trek.

  2. The interior of Shed 2 is such a terrible design – it’s uncomfortable to be in there…the vendors are hodge-podged here and there – no consistency of flow which creates “no man’s land” feel. There are some great products being sold in Shed 2. I wish the city would create a more friendly space to showcase our local vendors.

  3. Shed Two is a work in progress after the initial really bad decisions by the City Manager John Ware. Pink plaster pigs in Maverick uniforms did not make it an International Marketplace, nor did the lack of air conditioning. The new market manager has made major improvements in the layout, including air conditioning. It is coming along and deserves support.

  4. The Farmers Market should have been moved to West End years ago before the big “remodel”. It would have been in the middle of downtown, close to offices, residences and attractions..and people. It would have killed two birds with one stone, not only reviving the Farmers Market, but West End as well. It was a no brainer to me, but I’m not on the city council. I ask myself if people on the city council have ever gone to another city. Dallas has the least “urban” Farmer’s Market than any big city I’ve ever seen. Move it or continue to watch it die.

  5. great item, and excellent comments, too. i never thought about the location being bad – it’s so convenient to the freeway, that seems like a plus, and has plenty of parking – but i can see where it would work in the West End too

    my issue is that it can still be challenging to figure out which produce is local and which is not. officially, Shed #1 is supposed to be where you find actual farmers rather than vendors – yet even Shed #1 has bananas, grapes, strawberries and other items that are obviously not locally grown.

    that said, i realize that most people probably don’t care and i’m more than happy with the cluster of non-local grapes i bought last week. just wish it was more definitively delineated

  6. We used to take our son to the Farmers Market all the time; however, as of late, it feels more like an extension of the grocery store. Most of the produce is sold by vendors not farmers and there are never any new or original items to look forward to. Now we make a trip down MAYBE once every three months to stock up on spices from the Kurry King; volcano curry powder is a must. It’s sad; it was so much fun when i was a kid!

  7. Adding to the local farmer frustration is that if you ask the “farmers” about being organic or using pesticides, they pretty much all claim to be organic and use no pesticides, which I can’t imagine to really be true.