Thanksgiving is quite possibly my very favorite holiday because, let’s just be honest here, I love to eat. Thanksgiving Day is the day when you can graze to your heart's content, take a nice, long, tryptophan-induced nap, then wake up and do it all over again - with pie (Mmmmmm, PIE).
This year, I set out on a mission to find local ingredients in Dallas to prepare my Thanksgiving feast, and I’m quite pleased to report that our locally grown, organic food options are this Urban Foodie’s dream come true. This got me thinking about, not only what I’m going to make to eat, but reflecting on how truly grateful I am to live in Dallas where I have so many great food options right outside my door, some even within walking distance of my home.
Why Buy Fresh, Buy Local?
Buying fresh, local ingredients is a great way to go green, support your local community and improve your health all at the same time. Because food is grown and produced locally, it doesn’t have to travel very far to get to your table. This means the ingredients are fresher because they arrive to you faster, which is a greener alternative to food that has been shipped long distance, or imported from other countries.
Local food also tastes better. Ask any well-known chef in Dallas, they’ll tell you they purchase local ingredients whenever possible. The reason is the quality is superior, and using better ingredients equals better food. It tastes better because it’s delivered at the peak of freshness, when the vitamins and minerals are at their highest concentration, which not only tastes great, but is actually more nutritious, and healthier for you to eat, too.
For me, buying fresh, locally grown ingredients is a no brainer. I'm supporting local independent business owners, butchers, bakers, farmers, and chefs who bring me amazing ingredients, and food that tastes great, it is healthier to eat, and it's better for the environment, win–win!
Where to Buy Fresh Local Ingredients in Dallas:
Gobble, Gobble – No Thanksgiving meal would be complete without a delicious cooked turkey, and if you haven’t been to Rudolph’s Market & Sausage Factory in Deep Ellum, you’re in for a real treat. They’re a real live traditional butcher shop, complete with everything a meat lover could desire, including fresh turkeys. You can call ahead to reserve your a bird, or just walk right into the market to pick one up. Rudolph’s has whole fresh turkeys, free range birds, turkey breasts and whole smoked turkeys as well. They offer a wide variety of unique things in their store, including bones. Yes, you can purchase bones (turkey, as well as many other types of bones). Bones are used for making soup stock and I will use them to make extra homemade turkey gravy to accompany my delicious bird! Rudolph’s is located in Deep Ellum at 2924 Elm Street, Dallas, TX 75226 (214) 741-1874.
Dressing vs. Stuffing – Dressing is made in a pan and baked in the oven. Stuffing is the same thing, only it’s actually cooked inside the bird, hence the reason it’s called “stuffing.” Turkey stuffing recipes vary in different parts of the country. Up north, it’s made with breadcrumbs, oysters, and water chestnuts, but in Texas, we do it “Southern Style” with cornbread, sausage, and mushrooms. And the most delicious sausage in Dallas is made locally at Jimmy’s Italian Food Store. Jimmy’s is well-known for many wonderful things (Italian sandwiches, their deli, cannolis, pizza dough, and even wine tastings), but they’re best known for their sausage, which is why so many local Dallas restaurants feature Jimmy’s Sausage in dishes on their menus. Jimmy’s is located at 4901 Bryan Street (at N. Fitzhugh Avenue), Dallas, TX 75206 (214) 823-6180.
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme - Tom Spicer, aka "Spiceman," is the ultimate spice shop in Dallas. It supplies many of Dallas top restaurants with fresh locally grown spices of all kinds, and exotic produce like seasonal wild mushrooms, hearts of palm, and hand-trimmed artichokes, just to name a few. Spiceman's F.M. 1410’s wholesale/retail chefs’ market is located just two doors down from Jimmy's. When you go there, be sure ask to be added be added to Spiceman's mailing list, he sends out weekly email updates to let you know what's in currently in season at his market, located at 1410 N. Fitzhugh Avenue (near Bryan Street), Dallas TX 75204 (214) 954-7994.
A Thanksgiving Cornucopia – No Thanksgiving meal would be complete without the traditional side dishes, and desserts. At my house, our favorites include mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes (not the kind with marshmallows on top - ick), green bean casserole, corn pudding, Vidalia onion pie, Parker House rolls, herbed butter, turkey gravy, cranberry sauce (not that stuff in the shape of a can), apple pie, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, and let's not forget, my grandmother’s fudge pie with fresh whipped cream. Everything at our house was made entirely from scratch and it was so, so, so, good. That’s the stuff family Thanksgiving traditions are made of. Did I mention pie?
No matter what your traditional Thanksgiving dinner family favorites are, you can find just about any kind of produce you need (fruits, vegetables, nuts, etc) to make those sweet and savory delights in Shed 1, (the Local Produce Section) of the Dallas Farmer’s Market. Everything sold in Shed 1 is grown within 150 miles of Dallas, and many have been grown organically (without the use of chemicals, or pesticides), although not all are “certified organic” due to the cost associated with that designation. Shopping at the Dallas Farmer’s Market is a great way to discover what’s in season, find fruits and vegetables you've never tried before, and spend a leisurely day sampling the freshest food Dallas has to offer. The Dallas Farmers Market is located at 1010 S. Pearl Street, Dallas, TX 75201, (just south of Downtown Dallas), (214) 670-5880.
I’m sincerely thankful Dallas has so much to offer from a local market perspective. These are just a few of my Urban Foodie favorite places to buy fresh, local ingredients in Dallas. I hope you’ll check them out for yourself, I know you’ll be glad you did. I’ll be writing more about Dallas merchants, stores, markets, chefs, and restaurants that are doing creative and interesting things within the local market soon, but I’m always looking for new places and noteworthy hidden gems, so feel free to share your favorites with me in your comments, or on Twitter: @UrbanEpicurious.