The Dallas Farmer’s Market is a staple landmark of Dallas dating back to the early 1940s. Over the years the function of the market has expanded and evolved. Although the market is open daily, it becomes a hot spot over the weekend. This is when you can find tons of businesses under the Shed featuring up and coming entrepreneurs showcasing the best in food, clothing, produce and other products. With the increased traffic to the market on the weekends here are a few tips to help you navigate it like a pro.
Parking can pose a bit of an obstacle to the novice market visitor. A few things to know are that there are tons of options. There are limited spaces available in the parking lot for the market, but those will fill up fast. Watch the signs. Some will require you to pay a meter. You can also park for free in the parking garage by the market. Right by the parking garage there is limited free street parking as well as metered street parking. You can find more free street parking if you’re willing to make a little bit of a walk, and drive a street or two over. Check the event calendar for the market before going. If there is a special event going on this will change everything. You don’t want to show up and find that there is a big festival going on (in which case all of the above does not apply and I’d suggest Ubering or taking a Lyft to the market).
The earlier you arrive to the market the better. The last thing you want to hear after venturing to the market is Sold Out. To prevent this you will want to be in the first string of market visitors. Getting to the market between 10am-11am typically ensures that if you’re already in line for the things you want, you will be able to get them. I can’t 100% guarantee this, but your chances increase significantly. A later arrival, after about 2pm, will give you less of a crowd. There will still be plenty of vendors with product to sell. If you want a more leisurely visit, and aren’t concerned with a specific item, then a later visit may be better for you.
The Dallas Farmers Market features tons of vendors, and most you can only try on the weekends. Since you don’t have daily access to these businesses I suggest going with a group, getting a variety of things, and trying them all together. You don’t want to have FOMO because you got full at one place, and had no room to try anything else.
Have some patience with the vendors. A lot of these stands will be one or two people operations. With them not being a fully staffed operation, you may have to wait a bit longer as they are handling everything. They are engaging various customers at their stand, handling products and processing money (which is a whole headache of its own), but they are working hard to bring you the best customer experience. Imagine one or two people freshly preparing food for 30 orders at one time. The beauty is that you are getting all of the love in the flavors straight from the chef, so it’ll be worth the wait. A lot of the products that are for sale will be represented by the person whose hands actually made the various jams, sauces, jewelry etc. This is a very special experience that you should take your time working through. Talk to the vendors. They’re all friendly and ready to answer any questions.
Know before you go! If there are specific vendors you’ve seen post about being at the farmers market that you want to try, stalk their social media. These people have lives outside of the market, and since they are small operations, if they have weddings, parties, travel etc., then that will result in them missing a weekend. Sometimes they may come on just Saturday or just Sunday. They will keep this information posted on their social media. The food vendors are good about posting the food menu as well (these typically change weekly). If you get a late start, check before you head to the market. Places that sell out will typically post when they’ve sold out in real time on their social media pages. Take a good look at every vendors page you want to try on Friday to see if a Saturday or Sunday visit will work best, get a group together and go enjoy! The market also provides a list of vendors and where they will be for each day here.
Paying for your products shouldn’t be an issue. Most of the vendors can take cash, credit and debit. I would suggest trying to pay with cash if possible only because of the additional fees the business will get processing each card purchase.
A few of my faves
Below are just a few places that regularly come to the market and have great owners as well as products. This doesn’t represent every great business out there though, so explore beyond the list as well.