Des Moines, Iowa’s Downtown Farmer’s Market

The Des Moines, Iowa Downtown Farmer’s Market is like none other. It transforms some 7 city blocks each Saturday from 7am to noon into a full street fair with farmers and their produce representing 39 different Iowa counties. Scattered in between the rows of heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant and herbs, are baked goods of every size and shape, handmade crafts, wine makers, musicians and food booths. We had the “Something Italian“ tent set up right next to us. They were selling frittatas and breakfast pizza (nix the sauce sub scrambled eggs…yummy) …what a wonderful and delicious excuse to eat pizza in the morning! “Buy Fresh, Buy Local” is the premise behind the market, and everybody’s buying. An estimated 15,000 to 30,000 walkers browse, purchase, and eat at the market each weekend. This Saturday, Chef Marcus, along with NECI alumni Haley and Sean Wilson, set up a New England Culinary Institute booth and spoke to more than 700 market goers. It was a hot, sunny day and attendance seemed good. Chefs began their day shopping at the market and picking up fresh local fruits and vegetables to create dishes and show off their skills. Since the crepes and pasta dishes went off so well at the St. Paul Farmer’s Market, we decided to stay with the same theme and made peach, melon, raspberry, and mint crepes topped with crème anglaise. They were fabulous. This was followed up by fresh Heirloom tomato sauce with sautéed red onions, bell peppers, and garlic and chiffonade basil. Another big hit. We served just under 400 samples. Much of the produce we used today came from the Buy Fresh Buy Local campaign coordinator, Matt Russell. Check out more at While out looking for fun produce and a morning’s cup of joe, I came upon a massage therapist, Kenny, who was massaging at his booth for $1 a minute. I found a $5 and sat down in the therapy chair. Ahhhh. I’m liking this farmer’s market gig! Seriously, though, I think we connected with quite a few interested in NECI and hopefully some prospective students. Please check out the Downtown Farmer’s Market at or better yet, come visit! We thank the farmer’s market for a wonderful morning, and all of Des Moines for being such a warm audience. We’re dining at Azalea this evening at 7 and have invited along many we met today.

Published in: on September 1, 2007 at 11:06 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. So it’s 9:15 AM Eastern time and I’ve just reread the blog about the Farmer’s Market, and my stomach is grumbling… where are those crepes! Erika, your description is mouth watering!

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