Monday, May 26, 2014

Farmers Markets: Shop Local For "Real" Foods

Over the weekend I saw a new film at the Angelika that claims that "Everything we’ve been told about food and exercise for the past 30 years is dead wrong." FED UP is an eye-opening documentary about the sugar industry's influence over our government and their role in obesity.

Variety summarizes the film thusly: Americans have doubled their sugar intake since 1977 resulting in the explosion of Type 2 diabetes in the past 30 years. At the same time, the food and weight-loss industries continue to emphasize the concept of “calorie in calorie out” (you can eat whatever you want, as long as you exercise enough to burn it off) — a fallacy effectively debunked here.

We have the first generation of kids in two centuries expected to live shorter lives than their parents. Processed food remains cheap and accessible, school nutrition budgets have been slashed while fast food is served in more than half of U.S. schools, and companies dump so much sugar (in so many different forms) into food labeled non-fat or low fat that “healthier” options are often anything but. Attempts to crack down on practices that are clearly harmful to kids are inevitably met with “nanny state” talking points from right-wing commentators and politicians.

I came out of that film realizing a better balance is needed in my house between providing my family "real" food and processed easy-to-make foods that are full of sugars. Sure, it will take more time and planning, but is it really that much harder to make your own spaghetti sauce using fresh tomatoes and herbs vs. buying a jar of Prego? I intend to find out...  A great rule of thumb when shopping at the grocery store is to only shop the perimeter: the produce, meats and bakery all provide "real" foods. The center aisles are where you will find the processed and frozen foods that are a lot more likely to be full of preservatives and sugars.

I've been wanting to check out our local Farmers Market scene for a while, but my laziness has prevented me from doing so. This film was the kick in the butt I needed to get off the couch and go check out the different markets scattered around town to find great locally sourced fruits, veggies and more. Farmers Markets allow you to kill two birds with one stone: shop locally and eat better.

Dallas Farmers Market

Since 1941, the Dallas Farmers Market in Downtown Dallas has provided citizens with the premiere marketplace to go for fresh fruits and veggies.

Located at 1010 S Pearl Expy, Dallas, TX 75201, the site is currently undergoing a $65 million dollar renovation, a new and improved market should be ready in October 2014.  According to the DMN, "Shed 1 (longtime home of the local farmers) has been emptied and sits fenced off. Its tenants have been moved over to Shed 3, and told they’ll be able to return by no later than mid-June.

Shed 3′s parking spaces are now filled with vegetable sellers and tea-makers and other produce peddlers; at last, shoppers no longer have to worry about being run over or deep-breathing exhaust fumes. Come June or July, work on the enclosed, air-conditioned Shed 2 will begin, and the new ownership group says it will reopen in October with four locally based eateries serving as anchors. They have not yet been named. And the kiosk that once housed La Marketa Cafe in Cesar Chavez Plaza has been razed, three years after its demolition was a point of contention. The new market will also include 60 additional residential units and 25,000 square feet of retail planned on Taylor Street, site of three warehouses and former restaurants that will be demolished in coming months."

Saint Michael's Farmers Market

The Saint Michael’s Farmers Market was founded in June 2012 and is open every Saturday through September 6th, 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. The Saint Michael’s Farmers Market is located near the bustling Preston Center shopping area at Preston Road and Northwest Highway. Residents from Park Cities, Preston Hollow, Uptown and North Dallas have easy access to the Market, located at 8011 Douglas Ave. in the north parking lot.

The Market takes place on Saturday mornings, rain or shine. Open from 8:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon, each week brings new produce and vendors. We welcome farmers and growers who practice natural, sustainable, organic farming. The products must come from within a 150 mile radius of Dallas County to assure freshness. Special foods such as baked goods, tamales, cheeses, eggs, local honey, meats, and pastas are also available. All vendors must grow, produce, or make at least 60% of what they sell at the Saint Michael’s Farmers Market.

White Rock Local Market

More than just a farmers market, White Rock Local Market is a growers only/makers only market, and accepts farmers and food artisans from 150 miles of Dallas.

At White Rock Local Market you will find the best of local produce, meats and cheese, bread and pastries, pickles, jams, tamales and more. On the 1st and 2nd Saturdays you will also find hand made furniture, toys, clothes, soaps and more, all made by North Texans.

This organization is a moving target: on the first and third Saturday of each month, you will find them at Lakeside Baptist Church, 9150 Garland Road, Dallas 75218 from 8am - 1pm. The second and fourth Saturday of each month, you will find them at Green Spot, 702 N. Buckner Blvd, Dallas 75218 from 8am - 1pm.

Watch the trailer for FED UP.