Buy Fresh, Buy Local: The Des Moines Farmers’ Market
By Lindsay MacNab
- AmesEats Flavors Writer
Looking for local, organic produce? Or perhaps you have been searching for homemade jelly or bread? Whether you are on a quest to find that peanut butter cup fudge you’ve been craving or a basil plant to grow in your garden, the Des Moines farmers’ market is the perfect place for you! With vendors from 51 counties across Iowa, you are bound to find exactly what you are looking for. And if you simply came to look around, I can almost guarantee that your trunk will be packed with goodies by the time you head home.
By purchasing direct from Iowa farmers, you’ll be supporting local agriculture while shopping at the market. Farm stands offer fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs, eggs, assorted cheeses, Iowa-raised meat such as beef, pork, chicken, etc. You’ll also find vendors who sell baked good (breads, pastries, pies and cookies), healthy wheatgrass smoothies, garden plants, rich, creamy fudge, beautiful flowers, nut butters, wine, sauces, coffee/tea, homemade pasta and so much more.
And if you’re craving a bite to eat, don’t worry! There are many local restaurant vendors whose food will quell your stomach grumbles. You can choose from many different types of food such as Indian delights, American breakfast burritos/bowls, Italian cuisine, Mexican fare and Asian style food. There are even musicians who will entertain you while you eat!
The Des Moines farmers’ market is held every Saturday (May 5th through October 27th) from 7am – Noon. The vendors are located along the streets of the Historic Court District between 5th Avenue and Water Street, with Court Avenue serving as the main street.
If you are new to the market, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Arrive early. Although the market opens at 7am, I can assure you that it will get crowded fast! If you looking for free parking that’s close by, the earlier, the better.
- Buy/bring a re-usable bag. Not only are you saving the environment, but it will be much easier than carrying multiple bags around for hours.
- Prepare yourself for the weather. Slather on that sunscreen for those sunny days or bring an umbrella/poncho for when it is rainy.
- Bring cash. Most vendors will not accept credit/debit cards or checks, so make sure to bring enough cash for your purchases.
- Try something new! With a plethora of items waiting to be bought, there is bound to be something that you haven’t yet tried. Be spontaneous, and buy that one item that you never thought you would. Who knows, you may end up absolutely loving it!
- Treat yourself. Chances are you won’t go to the farmers’ market more than a few times per season, so while you’re there, splurge a little and buy yourself something special!