Banjo Player in the Farmer’s Market

Banjo Player, Farmer's Market, Dallas, Texas (click to enlarge)

Banjo Player, Farmer’s Market, Dallas, Texas
(click to enlarge)

I seem to always be taking pictures of banjo players.

John Pedigo of the O's. From a photograph taken at a beer festival, Fair Park, Dallas, Texas.  (click to enlarge)

John Pedigo of the O’s. From a photograph taken at a beer festival, Fair Park, Dallas, Texas.
(click to enlarge)

and there is my favorite – the banjo playing woman singing on Royal Street in the French Quarter, in New Orleans

Banjo Player on Royal Street in the French Quarter, New Orleans

Banjo Player on Royal Street in the French Quarter, New Orleans

Banjo Player on Royal Street, French Quarter, New Orleans

Banjo Player on Royal Street, French Quarter, New Orleans

People in the Farmer’s Market

A couple weeks back I spent some time on a nice day shooting some pictures in the Dallas Farmer’s Market with a friend. One subject that I didn’t get enough shots of (except for the fashion shoot next door) were the people down there. Tonight I was digging around in the photographs and found a few – thought I’d stick ’em up here.

A lot of families down buying vegetables.

Nice hat.

These boys were excited about getting some ice cream.

Note the flower petals on the ground.

After their ice cream - the boys had to pose for pictures. The sugar was having its effect.

Shopping for vegetables, trying out samples.

Forgot the Card

An old picture I took out my car window while waiting for a drive thru ATM.

The other day I had a little bit of time so I decided to head out with my camera and take some photographs. I made a little list of places to go – the rugby games near White Rock Lake, maybe a walk along the lake, a return to the Farmer’s Market, a stroll around Deep Ellum (I have some photographs from there, but wanted to supplement them before putting together an entry) and an arts and crafts market in Deep Ellum.

So I drove down to White Rock and discovered the Rugby games were delayed, so I wandered the streets down into Deep Ellum. I found a place to park, pulled my camera out, and walked to the market. I strolled the aisles, looking at the wares, and noticed there was a food truck set up.

It was a truck I’ve never tried before, Rock and Roll Tacos. I ordered some fish tacos and set about getting some pictures. I shot the truck, the market, some folks strolling around, and my food before I gobbled it down. I wasn’t really looking at my camera, simply pointing and shooting, having a fun time.

It seemed to be shooting too quickly so I checked the display. That’s when I realized that I had forgotten to put the memory card back in after sucking the old photographs off the night before. So I’m sorry – no pictures for you today. Well,….. the truck looked like a truck, the tacos looked like tacos, and the art market looked like an art market.

After a few seconds of frustration I felt better. It was a beautiful day, the fish tacos were good, and the art interesting. Without the camera I could simply look and enjoy.

Sometimes the world is better when not looked at through a viewfinder.

The Trees are in Bloom

When we first lived in Nicaragua, before the earthquake, my brother and I had to catch the bus to school at the entrance to our driveway on Carretera Sur. Since the drive popped out in a narrow space between two walls, one of us had to stand there and wait for the bus – or it wouldn’t see us and wouldn’t stop.

The problem was there was this big tree – right there, splitting our driveway at the entrance to the highway. It would bloom all the time – covered thick with bright yellow blossoms. These would fall and form a carpet under the tree. It looked great- the blossoms a colorful scene of yellow against the green of the leaves, the brown of the bark, and the dark gray tarmac of the drive and highway.

But the blossoms would rot in the tropical heat. The sweet-smelling flowers would decay into a sickly foulness that was impossible to stand. The smell was unbearable. My brother and I would take turns waiting under the tree, watching for the bus while our sibling stood well back up the yard in the fresh air, until we couldn’t stand it any more and then switch places. When it was really rank we would have to hold our breath and would trade off every minute or so until the bus rumbled up.

I thought of that as I sat at the Farmer’s Market. The central passage, around the La Marketa Café, is lined in trees and the trees were in bloom. They were thick with white blossoms which were falling like a dusting of snow. A thin layer covered the ground, stirred up into tiny white flowery tornados whenever the wind circled into miniature cyclones coming around the corners of the building. They were beautiful.

And best of all, they didn’t stink.


The trees blooming in the Dallas Farmer's Market

blooms against the sky

the petals fall in front of a mural on a restaurant

Veggies in the Farmer’s Market

A vegetable garden in the beginning looks so promising and then after all little by little it grows nothing but vegetables, nothing, nothing but vegetables.

—-Gertrude Stein

This last weekend, after grabbings a couple shots of the fashion shoot next door, I met up with my friend and we wandered the Dallas Farmer’s Market, Nikons in hand, taking photographs of what caught our eye. What I saw first was the vegetables (other subjects to follow in the dreary days ahead).

Some sheds at the market feature fresh local produce, others produce dealers – so I suppose what you get isn’t too much different than what you see in your local supermarket, but it looks so much more ripe and delicious lined up there in split-wood baskets in front of the trucks with hand-lettered cardboard signs. The vendors hawk their wares – holding out sample chunks of melon or wedges of grapefruit they cut in front of you with pocketknives. You can’t help but smile and salivate at this cornucopia of wonderfulness.

Filling bags with food to take home is one thing – buying fruit and eating while you walk around is another, a sweet treat – blueberries, tangerines, peaches and plums – all designed to nibble and stroll, packaged in their own skins, ready to give up their juice and pulp.

An onion can make people cry but there’s never been a vegetable that can make people laugh.

—- Will Rogers

One vendor features tomatoes. The back of his slot is filled with pallets of tomatoes. Lots and lots of tomatoes.

Ripe vegetables were magic to me. Unharvested, the garden bristled with possibility. I would quicken at the sight of a ripe tomato, sounding its redness from deep amidst the undifferentiated green. To lift a bean plant’s hood of heartshaped leaves and discover a clutch of long slender pods handing underneath could make me catch my breath.

– Michael Pollan

Shall I not have intelligence with the earth? Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself.

—-Henry David Thoreau

In our gardens, Lord Ganesha sends His power through fruits and vegetables, the ones that grow above the ground, to permeate our nerve system with wisdom, clearing obstacles in our path when eaten. The growers of them treat it like they would care for Ganesha in His physical form.

—- Hindu Deva Shastra, verse 438, Nature Devas

I bought some of these - the broccoli and asparagus in the lower right.

I think of New York as a puree and the rest of the United States as vegetable soup.

—-Spalding Gray

Dried peppers and tomatillos

This cabbage, these carrots, these potatoes, these onions … will soon become me. Such a tasty fact!

—-Mike Garofalo

Poblano and Habanero peppers with some tomatillos.

Cabbage: a familiar kitchen-garden vegetable about as large and wise as a man’s head.

—-Ambrose Bierce

Apples, peaches, and plums. I love these dark, Texas plums - I love to have a cold bag of them to eat while I drive long distances.

Imagination is the real and eternal world of which this vegetable universe is but a faint shadow.

—-William Blake

Fashion Shoot at the Farmer’s Market

I had plans this afternoon to meet a friend at the Dallas Farmer’s Market and shoot some photographs. For days I watched the weather and despaired that the cold and rain seemed to reign over North Texas. Sunday morning was cold, gray, and the water still fell. Looking at the forecast, though, they predicted that the precipitation would end precipitously at about two in the afternoon – so I decided to hold out hope and drove down there.

Sure enough, right at two the sun broke out. Within two hours there was not a cloud in the sky.

In a continuation of good omens, as I was driving down there, coming off of Good Latimer Freeway, I cut through a new urban condominium development and spotted someone doing a photo shoot on the sidewalk – either a fashion shoot or a set of senior pictures. There was a photographer, a model, a couple assistants off to the side, and a small collection of lights, diffusers, and reflectors.

I love taking pictures of other people’s photoshoots – like the one I stumbled across in Pirate Alley in the French Quarter. I guess it’s because I don’t have any models I can use – so I like to steal images from other people.

The problem with shooting in a condominium complex is that people keep walking by. Nobody seemed to notice anything.

I'm actually taking a photo of the STOP sign. The others just showed up by accident.

Taqueria – La Marketa Cafe

Lee and I were driving downtown yesterday, later than I had wanted to go, it was Texas nuclear hot, and nobody had eaten. Lee announced that he had to have something to eat before we went to the Nasher. When a college boy says he has to eat, he has to eat.

I threw the criteria in to my head…

-We were headed downtown (not a lot of action downtown on the weekends – shame on Dallas)

-We were in a hurry (no sit down restaurants)

-No chain-type fast food (general rule of mine, whenever given a choice, I choose local, privately owned – have to support the peeps)

I did not have much of an idea until an old, musty memory came bubbling up. I was at the Dallas Farmer’s Market, buying vegetables, and I saw a Taqueria in a run-down stand right in the middle of things. I remember wanting to eat there in the worst way, but we had other plans that day.

Tex-Mex is not my favorite, but I love Taqueria food. Incredibly unhealthy, probably not too sanitary – but fast, spicy, and good. What can be better?

“I think there’s a taco stand in the Farmer’s Market, Lee. It’s not too far from the Nasher, can you handle that?” I said to Lee.

“Go for it,” he said. So I exited on Good-Latimer and threaded my way through the giant glass canyons of downtown to the Farmer’s Market.

The place was hopping. The ragged field that serves as a parking lot was filling up – groups and families were wandering around with bags of vegetables, flats of bedding plants, and carts with Mexican clay pots and sculptures. A street musician was playing wildly inappropriate music (I have never heard Steve Miller’s Swingtown done by a busker before) and they were setting up a stage for a cooking demonstration.

I love the Dallas Farmer’s Market and am glad that it has become so popular (at least on a Saturday morning). I’ve been going there ever since I worked downtown twenty years ago and would walk over for a bag of tomatoes before taking the bus home to Lower Greenville.

It has grown quite a bit since then – the area is now surrounded by condominium urban-hipster type developments and the city has built a new air-conditioned “shed” to accommodate more retailers than the traditional farmers and wholesalers that still line up in the lines of stalls in the old open sheds.

La Marketa Cafe in front of Shed 2 at the Dallas Farmer's Market

La Marketa Cafe in front of Shed 2 at the Dallas Farmer's Market

We walked up and in front of the new “Shed Number 2” was, sure enough, a run-down, rounded, concrete building with a sign that said, “La Marketa Cafe” and a big, hand-lettered menu board.

I asked if it was still early enough for breakfast and it was. The menu was complex, but we quickly settled on tacos and burritos – corn and flour – and the options:


“Two tacos, one corn, one flour, one sausage, one beans&cheese, one burrito…, bacon and two bottles of water.”

I had to repeat it twice, but I didn’t really care if they got it right. It’s all good. They asked if I wanted “everything?” and I said, of course, “Sure.”

The food wasn’t very fast (there were a lot of people ordering and waiting), but it was very, very good. Large, full of eggs, onions. and peppers and “everything.” The best was the sauce (that’s the most important thing isn’t it?). Two paper ramekins – one with a hearty red, the other a wonderful spicy guacamole (I hate wimpy guacamole).

Lee getting ready to attack a breakfast taco

Lee getting ready to attack a breakfast taco

La Marketa Cafe (I have no idea where the Cafe come from) has now risen to the top of my extensive list of approved taquerias.

Now I want to go back, early, when there is a little cool morning air left wafting around, have some tacos, watch some people. I might even pick out a bag of tomatoes before I go back home.

Eating al fresco in front of the taqueria

Eating al fresco in front of the taqueria - HDR