Highland Park Village’s LOCAL Artisan Market returned for the season on Saturday, March 24. Nestled between Balenciaga and Céline, this monthly market takes farmers markets to a chic new level.
White flags waving in the warm morning breeze decorated each post. Over a dozen white tents lined the street, and jazz music played by Camden Lee filled the area. By 11 a.m., the sidewalks were packed with shoppers holding Royal Blue Grocery coffee cups, as they perused through each tent exploring the unique goods.
Courtney Goldberg is the owner of Urban Spikes, which specializes in botanical designs. The company is unique in that they specialize in succulents and couple the plants with sand designs and natural accents. She was inspired to start the company after building arrangements to add warmth and inspiration to her home. While playing with arrangement building, she discovered succulents were perfect for her busy life because they require minimal care and can individually be replaced in an arrangement.
“I love the big centerpieces because you can switch out plants, so you’re not stuck with the same thing every time,” Goldberg said. “I also love the sand and different dimensions because it adds a sculptural and natural aspect.”
A crowd was constantly in front of the Texas Olive Ranch booth, which sells local, family grown, picked, pressed, and bottled extra virgin olive oil. Jim Henry is the founder and owner of the company. Henry connects with each customer and talks to them as if they were an old friend.
“I have been doing this for 25 years. Originally, I was interested in the wine business, and I was told that wasn’t a good idea, so I decided to do the same thing with olive oil,” Henry said.
Every Saturday, the company has booths at about 20 farmers markets. Henry’s favorite part about participating in the local markets is meeting interesting people and being able to talk to them. He especially enjoys the Highland Park Village’s LOCAL Market.
“This one is great because it’s entrepreneurship at its finest. Vendors here have graduated from SMU, they have master’s degrees, they are doctors, and they are lawyers,” Henry said.
SMU alumnus Marcus Wentrcek, who owns The Amazing Dip Company, occupied a nearby tent with his two sons and wife. His company sells different variations of smoked gouda dip. In February 2017, Wentrcek transitioned from a career in engineering to one in cheese.
“It was actually on accident. I was working for a company out of New York that sells cheese, and I was also the best man at a wedding. We were all staying at a plantation and I made a cheese dip by hand for the whole house,” Wentrcek said. “Everyone loved the dip and would steal portions of it to hide in their rooms. Years passed, and everyone kept telling me I needed to start selling this dip, so finally I did. After three months of doing both, I quit my engineering job so that I could give my everything to the dip company.”
There are currently five different types of dip: Cameron’s Original Smoked Gouda Dip, Cameron’s Spicy Smoked Gouda Dip, Cameron’s Mild Smoked Gouda Dip, Cameron’s Garlic Smoked Gouda Dip, and Cameron’s Vegetarian Smoked Gouda Dip. With so many delicious options to choose from, picking which dip to sample could prove challenging. Unless you ask Wentrcek’s son; however, who would tell you to start with the original because that is his favorite.
The Amazing Dip Company currently has a store at the Dallas Farmers Market called “Market Provisions,” a commercial kitchen in Plano, and they may be sold at Royal Blue Grocery in the near future.
Other vendors present at the first LOCAL of the season include,
Village Baking Co.: Artisan French bread, pastries, and sandwiches. They attend numerous farmers markets each weekend, and their storefront is located on Greenville Ave.
Pet Wants Big D: Offers fresh, high-quality dog food, cat food, treats and pet care products delivered right to your door.
Oui Please: Offers a monthly, luxury subscription box filled with products curated from France. The owner herself is originally from France.
A number of the products sold at LOCAL can be regularly found at Royal Blue Grocery, along with other locally produced goods.