Several people have told me recently that I really needed to make it to the White Rock Local Market if I were going to have a well rounded view of all of the types of farmers markets in the Dallas area, and boy were they ever right.
The White Rock Local Market is a terrifically fun way to spend a Saturday morning. And for anyone on the West side of town, you will be pleased to know it is a breeze to get to. You just zip over Northwest Highway to Buckner and drive south a bit. The market just pops up on the left in the parking lot in front of and adjoining the Green Spot Market, a “healthy convenience store” that sells healthy foods and bio-fuels.
I have yet to go to a farmers market in Dallas where I would say that one is like all the rest. They are all utterly unique, each having its own vibe and character. And, this one was fun. I think we that don’t often frequent a particular market should make it a summer goal to stamp our passports at all of the markets in the greater D/FW area. Why was I so jazzed about the White Rock Local Market? It had all the food you would expect. But, in my humble opinion, the artists and artisans stole the show. And I’m not even sure that the artists are there every week. I’m so grateful that I randomly chose one of the weeks that has the full market. Make sure to check the calendar on the White Rock Local Market website. If you are traveling a distance to get to this market you will want to see the full range of vendors.
It is hard to pick favorites and I missed a whole slew of people, but there are some artists that deserve our attention.
First, I loved the gentlemen at the Bearded Anvil. As the name suggests these metal artists are big burly bearded young men who clearly know their craft. And, they are nice, to boot. They had a table with which I was smitten, although I’m going to have to wait until the kids quit thonking into all the furniture head first because it is a serious and somewhat sharp piece of art.
Then, there were the two gentlemen who worked with wood. One, Thomas O’Kelly had Adirondack chairs that were incredible as well as benches and door/bath mats. But my favorites were the candle pieces. They are all made from recycled hardwoods that he collects and dries after the inevitable storms in the area. While the rest of humanity is out calling the tree trimming services, O’Kelly (and my husband for that matter) are wielding chainsaws and going out to pick up and save all of that amazing hardwood. A man with a chainsaw never has to buy firewood. Remember that. He also showed us a lovely candle piece made from bois d’arc that had the most incredible yellow hue. Gorgeous stuff.
Second, and equally impressive, was Jim Kuchera who offered exceptionally lovely chairs that were nothing short of art and every bit as impressive as the works you see in high design glossies. I utterly failed to get a decent photo of the chairs because no one, including the kids, would stay out of them long enough for me to snap a photo. But, definitely visit his website. The fortuitous byproduct of wood working of this scale is that you end up with a lot of little pieces of extra wood, with which Kuchera makes some of the loveliest cutting boards.
The kids’ favorite artist there, by a long shot, and the gentleman who wins the award for patience when playing 20(00) questions with kids is Nix Johnson of House of Smash who makes bracelets out of old vinyl records. He then applies unique decorative effects to them, resulting in a table of wares that covered every imaginable color and pattern. They are inexpensive, given the work that must go into them, and it’s just a cool idea. Nix has an Etsy store if you can’t wait ’til the next market.
The soaps were the produced by Renee Mitchell of Abundantly aromatic. I love anyone who makes a soap with the name Fresh Linen. She also has a presence at the Dallas Farmers Market and the Coppell Farmers Market which she says should be next on my list to visit.
Perhaps one of the most charming artists in attendance was Ginger Strand, owner of the Millinerium. She is a milliner. Yes, she actually makes hats. I can’t make hats. Can you? I didn’t think so. And, she is one of those magnetic people that draws you in with a smile and sweet word. I think Ford was over the moon as Ginger produced a little battery powered fan and cooled him off like a little King Tut. The kids just wanted to stay in her booth and visit.
Patti Haskins makes critter creations. She is clearly a very skilled knitter, but she also makes couch cats and embellished photos of her creations that are pretty cute too. Ali Sheay and Sasha Kovacic of Viva La Glam made jewelry and trinkets and magnets out of recycled glass that were darling and a huge hit with Lily. They also have a line of plate covers for light switches that were comical and cute pop art. Imagine, if you will, where the light switch would go on a picture of the sculpture David. Ah…yes. With me? Cute.
And, Chasity McCarty, owner of Blue Olive Design makes t-shirts and stickers of slices of bread in various states of dress that were chuckle-worthy. If you see a slice of bread with a beret, it is….French Toast. A slice of bread with a giant grin…cheese toast. Cute, too. The pillows made of coffee bags are the creations of Petit Four Designs. Great idea.
The food you ask? Isn’t this blog about food? Fine. It was great. Some of my favorite vendors were there. Notably, the man in the bee suit above is Brandon, of Brandon and Susan…the honey people. They, rather the bees that they love, make incredible honey.
Wackym’s Kitchen was there. And, again they were generous with the samples…chocolate snickerdoodles and cornmeal shortbread and a host of other delectable flavors. I am still a huge fan of these crisp little delights. I unequivocally recommend these cookies.
The same goes for the Kessler Cookie Company. It is funny. There truly is something for everyone and Kessler’s cookies will appeal to those who like a cookie that is a bit chewier. They use fantastic products and the cookies taste fresh baked.
Village Baking Company was selling their gorgeous loaves and buttery croissants.
Empire Baking was there with massive chocolate cookies and lovely baguettes. And they gave Lily a free fan which made her very very happy. The young men manning the booth were great salesmen.
Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters was serving up fresh coffee and bags of beans. I am sad that I didn’t get a chance to taste it but the kids saw Brandon in the bee suit and I missed out. Next time.
Perhaps the most unique food there was served by Ifiok Augusta, a lovely woman in traditional African costume serving Akara. Akara are little patties made mostly of plant proteins including ingredients such as black eyed peas, red onions, bell peppers and tomatoes. They looked delicious.
As you can imagine, the kids keep me moving at these markets and if I don’t pay attention, they are zooming off ahead of me to the next booth of interest so I missed several great vendors. I would have liked to have gone into the Green Spot Market and I didn’t have a chance to chat with the folks from the Texas Olive Ranch. There was a gentleman selling gulf shrimp, and The Rain Barrel Guys, and a gentleman selling refurbished bicycles. And before you get your knickers in a twist about a cat in a box in 100 degree heat, you should know that the lovely lady manning that booth had just rescued it an hour prior after it had fallen out of the back of a truck and was working diligently to find it a new home while feeding it water and such. She also had a pile of Herb Foccacia that looked delicious. There were jams and sauces and piles of fresh vegetables that I scurried past without noting the vendors.
Suffice it to say, this market is a keeper. Go. You will not be disappointed. It is well established, beloved by the neighborhood, and has a great selection of vendors and artists. Check out the White Rock Local Market website for hours of operation and vendors lists. We ended our time at White Rock with Ford dancing in the middle of the parking lot to the music being played by Doug Fairweather. He’s good. I think I would have enjoyed pulling up a chair somewhere and listening for a while. He was even nice enough to let the kids get up in his business and admire his guitar (which incidentally was made in Austin). I don’t know where my kids got the spontaneous dance gene…not from me. But I like it.
The list grows. I have visited these other fantastic farmer’s markets in the area. I encourage you to do so, as well. This is turning into a little Saturday morning adventure for our family. I can’t think of a better thing to be doing on a Saturday morning that seeing what our farmers and local artisans have cooked up for us all.