You never forget your first. Mine was in college at O’Bannon’s, a dingy Irish bar I frequented much too often to admit.
I’m talking about cider, of course. For me, it was an Angry Orchard. I remember savoring its crispness and chuckling at the thought of those ripe, juicy apples being savagely plucked from their branches, the workers irate and the land fierce.
When I read that Locust Cider (710 S Main St, Ste 100, 817-344-7035) would be hosting the Fort Worth Market Trail summer series — which I happened upon in my desperate search for activities to “beat” the heat without draining my bank account — I plotted my quest for the sweet elixir.
The Washington-based cidery on South Main Street is hard to miss, with its fractured façade of colorful geometric shapes — an homage to Gotye’s music video for “Somebody that I Used to Know,” I like to think. One particularly humid weekend, my friend and I stepped inside for the first time.
What was marketed as a trail turned out to be more of a pit stop — a fact I might have known, had I thoroughly read the Facebook event announcing the three participating vendors. Every Sunday afternoon through September, the Market Trail features a different smattering of local artists and craftspeople. Because the merchants are few, most likely due to space constraints, the market remains short and sweet.
After briefly scanning the stations covered with jewelry and miscellaneous handmade crafts, my companion and I approached the soft-spoken hipster at the bar. As we ordered, I stared, considering how closely the bartender’s mustache and the messily side-swept mop atop his head resembled those of the Lobby Boy in Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel.
We accompanied our first round, vanilla bean and honey pear ciders, with amusements selected from a table stacked high with games of every kind. Reggae artists tapped drums overhead, a handful of visitors perused the booths, and my crony and I struggled through Dos — Uno’s bitch of a sibling — and joked our way through There’s a Moose in the House.
We weren’t alone. Nearly everyone was part of a group at play. While a party blithely feuded over Trivial Pursuit, a murder of millennials — that’s the term for a group of them, no? — dealt cards and indulged in several flights. A neighboring couple gently pulled at Jenga blocks, the girl seemingly transported from the ’90s in her high-waisted jean shorts, tie-dye crop top, and low side-pony gathered in a pink scrunchy.
After quaffing our first round, followed by a 6-glass flight, my friend and I took a closer, albeit buzzed, look at the artisans’ booths.
Chatting with Laurie of LZ Aurand Art, we were surprised to discover she works in IT by day. As I thumbed through her collection of card-sized sketches, Laurie explained she “doodles” them during meetings to help her focus. Far more sophisticated than simple linework and squiggles, these “doodles” exuded such artistry that it’s no wonder she sells them.
Admiring Laurie’s painted coasters glossed with resin, we were oblivious to Moon Essentials quietly packing up her jewelry and essential oils behind us. By the time Laurie had bagged my purchase, an embellished luggage tag, Moon Essentials was gone.
Jessika Guillen’s table, which had been unmanned since we’d arrived, abutted the now-empty space. For a moment, I regarded the well-designed display, featuring “817” and “Fort Worth” tote bags strewn across a Mexican blanket and accented with cacti and a felt letterboard showing pricing — and wondered how Jessika expected to make any sales.
The Fort Worth Market Trail promised an opportunity to sip cider and, according to the invite, “get that Christmas shopping started early while helping talented local entrepreneurs.” Though ’tis the season when thigh sweat prevails and windshield visors provide little respite from the scorching sun, I found comfort knowing that I’d supported local — even if I did buy the luggage tag for myself.