Des Moines’ Downtown Farmers’ Market
Many people start thinking about Farmers Markets during the early days of summer but Iowans living in the central part of the state have been patronizing the Des Moines Downtown Farmers Market since early May. They haven’t forgotten about meat and potatoes (the market has plenty of these items) but instead celebrate the fresh local harvest of fruits and vegetables every Saturday from May thru October in the capital city on the west bank of the Des Moines River.
With nearly 300 vendors representing 59 counties (there are 99 in the state), the Des Moines Downtown Farmers Market offers the best of what Iowa has to offer in fresh herbs, flowers, farm fresh eggs, cheeses, wine, an endless selection of baked goods and prepared foods, along with seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables. Seasonality is the key word for this outdoor market that runs rain or shine for 6 months of the year. In May, expect lots of vegetables and plants (especially tomato) while July and August bring a bountiful supply of fresh fruits and sweet corn.
Looking for fresh croissants, chapapta (plain or with olives) or crusty European style breads? Check out La Mie Bakery (in the 100 Section – see the map in the link below) whose doughs for breads and pastries are made entirely from scratch every day.
The aroma of fresh donuts is tempting but consider stopping at Fresh Cafe and Market (Section 3N) where fresh smoothies and wheatgrass shots (served with a slice of orange) are made to order. The lines (there are several) are long but move quickly (due to the incredibly efficient numerous staff members working at lightening speed).
Looking for strawberries, honey crisp apples, and asparagus? Head to Rhinehart Family Farms (Section 400), Westrum Produce, and Hassevoort Farms – both in the 300 section where an abundance of your favorite fresh favorites are available. The Grinnell Heritage Farm (in the 200 block) offers fantastic organic vegetables and flowers.
For a bag of Tapestry Salad Mix (more than 40 types of greens) or a bunch of sweet crunchy carrots, stop at the Blue Gate Farm booth (Section 200) – a Certified Natural Grower producing chemical-free fruits and vegetables.
Blue Gate Farm also sells hand-spun and hand painted skeins of yarn in colors that will delight your eyes.
The Des Moines Downtown Farmers Market spans 4 city blocks along Court Avenue in the Historic Court District in downtown Des Moines. Divided into 4 sections (100, 200, 300, and 400) with North (N) and South (S) designations, the market is easily accessible by foot with parking available on the street (meters are free on Saturday), in a large parking garage on the corner of Locus Street and 4th Avenue (see map below), and numerous parking lots.
The hours are 7:00 am – noon every Saturday morning from May 2 – September 26 and at 8:00 am – noon from October 3 – October 31. Get an early start for the best selection and to avoid crowds. For more information on the market, including a map, list of vendors, market tips, and parking information see the official website: www.desmoinesfarmersmarket.com.
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