This award-winning farmers’ market belongs on your summer to-do list.
The incredible Downtown Des Moines Farmers' Market is from 7am until noon every Saturday between May 6th and October 28th. During the month of October, the market opens at 8am.
It's held in the Historic Court District. This market started in 1976 and now supports 300 vendors from 58 of Iowa's 99 counties.
Don't worry about parking.
There's a D-Line Shuttle running every 10 minutes with stops at every block around the market for those that want to park and ride. If you can find a place to park on the street, don't bother feeding the meter. Parking is free in downtown Des Moines on Saturdays. There's even free valet bike parking at Second and Court Avenue.
Each year, the organizers of this giant market expect over 40,000 people on opening day.
Even early in the season, you'll find asparagus, green onions, morel mushrooms, leafy greens, and fresh herbs. There are five different cheese vendors and three bakeries dedicated to making only dog treats. Several new artists joined the ranks of Des Moines Farmers' Market vendors this year, as well.
The Daily Meal ranked the Downtown Des Moines Farmers' Market #2 in the nation on their list of 101 Best Farmers Markets in America.
It's been called one of the top farmers' markets in the country by Midwest Living Magazine and Shape Magazine.
Each Saturday, an average of 25,000 people visit this amazing farmers' market.
The market itself spans nine city blocks.
One of the things that's unique about this particular farmers' market is that the organizers actively recruit new vendors.
They are looking for high-quality, locally-produced and grown, or locally-made products. The Downtown Des Moines Farmers' Market employs two full-time year-round people to make sure the market runs smoothly. They also rely on the help of four seasonal employees. Countless volunteers also contribute their time and energy to make this one of the best markets in the United States.
The people who visit this market in search of fresh produce, meat, flowers, wine, crafts, and baked goods appreciate the effort it takes to put together such a large weekly event.
Many vendors have been with the Des Moines Farmers' Market for years.
D&D Farms has been selling organic produce here for 18 years.
There are more than enough produce vendors to get a week's worth of groceries at this market.
Everything here is in season, of course.
You can get everything from grass-fed and hormone-free beef to free-range eggs, to organic vegetables right here every Saturday morning.
The market gets crowded right away, and many vendors sell out within a few hours of the market's opening time of 7am.
For the best selection, and to get some of the most sought-after products, it's a good idea to arrive early. Be sure to seek out the UnityPoint Health-Des Moines health care provider's booth for weekly recipes using produce from the market.
Don't stop for breakfast on the way.
The food vendors here really know what they are doing. You'll find a wide range of ethnic foods, breakfast burritos, BLT's, grilled cheese, grilled corn-on-the-cob, and every kind of baked good you can imagine.
The vendors at this market participate in the Meals from the Market program.
Last year, they donated more than 140,000 pounds of food for distribution to 13 Des Moines food banks. People shopping at the market can make a donation at the Meals from the Market booth.