Iowa is home to a strong agricultural industry that provides quality food products to our state as well as the rest of the country. Buying produce, meats and dairy products directly from local farmers supports the community and the environment while putting fresh, healthy food on your family's table.
The Des Moines Downtown Farmers' Market is preparing to open for its 40th season on Saturday, May 2. Here are some reasons why you should make the market a regular stop for food shopping this summer.
1. It's Conveniently Located
The market is held across nine blocks in the city's Historic Court District adjoining the Des Moines Riverwalk. There is plenty of free parking available, but the DART Central Station is only four blocks away for a stress-free, eco-friendly transportation option. Bike riders can take advantage of the market's free valet service.
2. You Have Access To A Variety Of Sources In One Spot
More than 300 farmers, bakers and artists from 58 counties display their goods at the market. Where else would you be able to find such a comprehensive assortment of vendors gathered in one place?
3. It's Nationally Recognized
Organizations across the United States have taken notice of the market. For the past two years it's held the #2 spot in the list of "101 Best Farmers' Markets in America" by The Daily Meal, an online culinary community. It has made similar lists in magazines such as Shape and Midwest Living and was featured in a blog by Rachael Ray.
4. Get Recipes And Cooking Tips From Experts
Who knows more about good food than farmers? Market entrepreneurs are delighted to share their knowledge with you, whether it's cooking methods for an unfamiliar item or new recipes to get your kids to eat their veggies.
5. Sample Some Delicious Prepared Foods
Not everything at the market needs to be taken home to be enjoyed. Several vendors are on hand to tempt you with tasty items like gourmet grilled cheese, BBQ pork and brisket sandwiches, tacos and burritos. If you have a sweet tooth, you'll be in heaven with fudge, pastries, cakes and pies.
6. The Market Is More Than Just Food
Pick up some fresh flowers to brighten up your Springs Apartments home. Find a unique gift from one of the artists selling jewelry and other craft items. Take a break to enjoy live entertainment that includes musicians, dancers and other performers.
Market hours are 7a.m. until noon each Saturday through October 25. It's easy to get your shopping done and still have plenty of time for other activities, either in the downtown area or back at home.
Are you already a regular at the market? Share your tips in the comments!