Last night I checked out the Friends of the Dallas Farmers Market Hoedown which took place at the Food and Fiber Building at Fairgrounds. The evening is an annual event to raise awareness and funds for the Dallas Farmers Market. The friends are a group of local people that take great interest in supporting the market and use the money raised throughout the year to take care of needs that go unfinished by the city due to budget restraints.
One of the city’s outspoken leaders for many projects in the city, Ida Paper, set her sights on the farmers market and was a founding member of the Friends. It was Ida, along with cheese-making pal Paula Lambert, who began the chef classes at the market. She recruited Jim Severson who for many years lined up the talent for each of the classes. These classes helped the Friends turn a profit and brought in folds of interested people to the market each week.
Last night we celebrated the market as the many friends gathered some offering tastes from their restaurants or food related businesses, others merely in support of the cause.
Being a Friend of the Dallas Farmers Market definitely has its advantages. The members are ensuring that the dream if “Mama” Ida continue and Dallas has a growing and interesting market.
This year the Friends celebrated a local farmer, J.T. Lemley, who is a mainstay at the market. Mr. Lemley offers up some of the best tomatoes, peaches and other fantastic produce on his farm in Canton, Texas. Many local chefs insist on using his produce, and Lemley has become an icon at the market.