Saturday, March 27, 2010

Saturday Ramble

Produce DealersI went to the Dallas Farmer's Market this morning . . . I couldn't help but contrast today's market with the same place last week.  Then, it was raining in the morning and SNOWING in the afternoon; the farmers market was like a ghost town and no one was happy to be there.  Today it was sunny and warm and the place was full of people and vendors. People were sitting outside and enjoying lunch, the weather and everything. One of the food vendors even had a guy making balloon animals–it really felt like a party.

I came home with newly sharpened kitchen knives, tasty tomatoes that were picked yesterday on a farm in West Texas, fresh eggs from free range chickens, artisan cheeses and a couple tote bags full of other beautiful produce.

But I have to admit, I felt a little like Jamie Oliver on last night's episode of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, when he was asking a class full of young students to identify a bunch of vegetables and no one guessed correctly for any of them.  That's Jamie, dressed as a pea pod, talking to the principal of the grade school, in a scene from last night. Today, I kept asking the "farmers" where their produce came from and often, even the ones in the "local growers" shed, couldn't tell me.  I know that a lot of them walk over to the wholesale shed, buy stuff and bring it back to their own stalls and resell it, but I was still quite surprised how little so many knew about their veggies and fruits.  So I bought things from those vendors who knew what they were selling, and bought as local as I could.  The vendor who easily and very specifically answered my question about his avocados and the community in Mexico where they came from made me smile. This guy knew his stuff . . . ALL of his stuff.

On the trip home, as I was driving round and round my parking ramp I caught this view of City Hall and realized that this is what I would see from my loft IF the parking ramp wasn't there.

The view I would have ...

Before there was a parking garageOf course, it wasn't always there. This photo, from the 1930's shows the back of my building BEFORE the parking ramp. when the building was filled with the offices of the Interurban Railway.  This is a photo of one of the historic photos that hang in the halls here.

No one lived in the building then, but the people working in the offices could have enjoyed the view.  Of course, City Hall wasn't there in the 1930's, either ;-)

Security PatrolA funny thing happened when I decided to walk out and over to the other side of the parking ramp to take the photo of the view I might have had . . . this guy, a safety patrol officer, came over and asked if I "was alright."  He startled me, but I didn't fall over the wall . . . nor was I intending to jump ;-)

I snapped this photo of him on my way back inside my building.  (No idea what he was doing up here.) 

I told him what I was doing–taking a photo of my theoretical view–and he commented how I can see two IM Pei designed buildings.  I figured that City Hall was one, but I couldn't guess which is the other one.  He told that the Central Library was also an IM Pei design.  (I couldn't confirm that on the web anywhere, but I did go the libraries Web site and "ask the librarian."  I'll let you know when I receive a response.)   Edited to add that my question was forwarded to and quickly answered by the Library's Texas/Dallas History & Archives Division.  My gut feeling was right.  The library is NOT an IM Pei designed structure, but was designed by the Dallas architectural firm of Fisher & Spillman.  It was completed in 1982.

Here's the wider view, with the library in the foreground on the left.

Designed by IM Pei?

And here's my ACTUAL view ... I really wish I could see some of the trees, green grass and the fountain, but I will just have to continue to imagine that the parking structure isn't there.

My actual view

3 comments:

sol.calinao said...

Sophie, liked your story on the Dallas Farmers Market, it is definitely true about the weather. If it's a nice day outside you know the Market will be busy but if it's cold outside the Market will be empty.

ONE CORRECTION though, the food vendor DOES NOT hire a balloon guy to stand next to his food cart. Gene the balloon artist is part of the Market's Buskar Program. Performers can pay for a season permit to perform their particular activity in 5 different locations throughout the Market. At the height of the season you will see four highschoolers playing their instruments, a duo playing guitar and singing, there is even a flutist that sets up outside of shed 2.

So if any of your readers would like to come to the Market and perform have them call us 214-670-5880 or visit our website: http://dallasfarmersmarket.org/Events/buskar.html

sol.calinao said...

Sophie- wanted to clarify on the LOCAL Shed....right now you will not find many local vendors, it is still too cold and with the weather we have had their crops are going to take longer to get to the Market. If you noticed at the front of the LOCAL Farmer shed there was a sign that instructed you top LOOK FOR THIS SIGN: " Verified LOCAL Farmer", if you are looking for local produce you really need to look for those signs otherwise you will need to ask the vendors where they got their produce. There are some Produce Dealers: vendors that buy and resell produce purchased from produce warehouses or growers. That is why there is also a sign outside of Shed 1 with the definition of what a produce dealer is.

So please when you head back to the Market look for the Verified LOCAL Farmer sign because you will know that they are a true farmer within 150 miles of Dallas and our Farm Resource Coordinator went to their farm to verify everything they are selling and say they are growing or have grown.

sophie said...

Thanks for correcting my understanding of the vendors and performers at the Farmer's Market.

FYI, I couldn't send you an email response thanking you for your visit because your account is set for no email.

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