If I heard it once, I heard it 10 times during the 2 sweet hours the kids and I spent at the Grand Prairie Farmers Market on Saturday. I crave that. I hear that and my heart melts. The voices…the sweet, warm, welcoming, Texan voices of the people I knew before I moved to a big city come into focus.
Who knew you could find a perfect little dose of kind and gracious Texas hospitality just up I-30? I keep telling myself that eventually one farmers market expedition will start to look like the others and eventually they will all be interchangeable. But they are not. They are a beating heart of each of these communities and neighborhoods and they reflect their citizens.
The “new” Texas Stadium looms right up the road. Grand Prairie is not in the country, by any means. But there was certainly a nice slow pace to the town square on this Saturday and a beautiful dedicated farmers market pavilion that would be the envy of any community.
Winter is creeping up on us. We wore coats on Saturday for practically the first time this year. I wasn’t expecting a huge market and I didn’t get one. But, no worries. Everything we needed was there. Vann Farms had an abundance of lovely fall produce, all from Texas. We brought home apples, butternut squash, and acorn squash. There were also green beans and broccoli and lovely onions and tomatoes. I also saw some gorgeous greens.
Beyond the produce there were some familiar faces. Round Rock Honey is always at the markets and apparently the effort has paid off and they are about to sell their one-millionth bottle of honey to some lucky soul. A million bottles of honey! That is a lot of bee love. Mykell gave the kids straws full of the beautiful honey and explained that she and Will and Marcia Brandstetter had taken the honey on display on the table in front of me from the combs just that Wednesday. I couldn’t resist. I think I have more honey in my house than just about anything at this point. I have trouble walking by a bottle of honey without buying it. Honey, like farmers markets, tends to reflect the areas in which it was harvested. I guess it is more of a fine distillation of an area really…a poem about the flowers to be found if you just look away from the road straight ahead of you every once in a while.
WeMe Dallas was there with a giant basket of beautiful bread and delectable sauces. Flour, water, yeast and salt. That is all that is in the Pan de Pueblo made from scratch by WeMe for the markets. The kids thought it was great bread and they are getting pretty spoiled with homemade bread from me, so I trust their judgment on the matter.
Kat and Richard Patoskie were there selling Casa Nueva Chips and Salsa as well as some fantastic looking Kettle Corn. I’m not sure there is such a thing as Kettle Corn that is not fantastic, though. I bought some of the chips and salsa and I like it. Buy some next time you see them.
Courtney Melton, a distributor for Homemade Gourmet was there with some promising mixes. She wins the award for nicest kid person. She was up enough on her Pokemon lingo to keep Ford and Lily nearby.
A member of the Rodriguez family…I didn’t catch her name…was there with hot trays of breakfast and other burritos for the crisp morning. She assured me that it is definitely worth a trip from Dallas to eat at the Rodriguez Bakery and Restaurant on Clarice Street. I think we’ll have to do that.
One of the vendors who caused my stomach to rumble with hunger wasn’t selling food at all, but soy candles. Susan of Peaceful Waters Bath and Body had a wide assortment of scented candles but was burning one that smelled like toasted marshmallows. Very nice.
The Tamale Company is another company that is absolutely dedicated to attending the farmers markets. I wish them all the luck in the world because they sell a fantastic product. I’ve said it before, but their gluten free, lard free tamales which you keep in the freezer and boil in their bag are wonderful. We should all have 6 frozen packages in our freezers for the “too tired to cook” days. I highly recommend the black bean and corn and the pork tamales.
We also learned about a wonderful thing happening in Grand Prairie. The Luckett Community Garden and Tree Farm in Dalworth Neighborhood is a mentoring program, a job training program, a community garden, and a Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) project.
I think that perhaps the thing that disappointed me most about my day in Grand Prairie was that I failed to make it back through to buy a fried pie from The Country Store. They had fried pies, bread, rolls, pies, cakes, cookies…and everything looked phenomenal. A man working at the Main Street Antique Store next door to the market said that I had really messed up on that one and that the fried pies were the best thing to be had at the market.
Speaking of the Main Street Antique Store next door…it is my favorite kind of store, part antiques, part kitch, part junk…all treasures. Lily was begging for a lava lamp. Ford was laughing at an old radio shaped like a potty. They were both transfixed by a booth of wind up robots and metal toys. If you are a glass junkie there was plenty to pour through. And if you have a bizarre fixation with state plates…like I sometimes do…makes for great cookout ware…you will be in a little corner of Heaven. It was my kind of store. Like our trip to the Chestnut Square Market, this was a day that I didn’t want to end. I wanted to eat pizza at the little joint next door, I wanted to walk around the square a little more. I just wanted to poke about. But now I have ample reason to go back.
The farmers market is open from 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. every Saturday until December 18th, at which time it closes for the holidays.
If a farmers market is in your plans this weekend, take a look at the other markets covered on The Meaning of Pie: Chestnut Square (McKinney) Farmers Market, Celebration Farmers Market, White Rock Local Market, Coppell Farmers Market, Dallas Farmers Market. But as the season is coming to a close, I highly recommend you check each of their websites to make sure of their schedules and ensure that they are open this time of year.