Locally Grown

Farmers’ Market Pre-Game Pep Talk!
2011/05/04, 8:30 am
Filed under: Dining Tips, Local Food Commentary | Tags: ,

As a grandperson said to me once in my childicular years, “Excuses are like dentures.  Everybody here has them, and the harder you bite down the worse they hurt you.”  Thusly I will not be biting down on or spitting out any excuses as to why this Blog has become wordly arid.  Instead, we here at Locally Grown have decided to break another stretch of muted bloggedness with your very own

Farmers’ Market Guide To Attending The Farmers’ Market!!

(and pep talk)

  • The DMZ (That is Des Moines Zone for all of you who have forgotten the jargon used up in this piece) has one of the largest farmers’ markets in the country.  This giant mess of goodness attracts from 10,000 to 25,000 people to the Court Avenue district in Downtown Des Moines every Saturday from 7am to noon.  It is complete madness, a mob of people with giant dogs and strollers, and hangovers, and babies, and big sunglasses, and stainless steel water bottles, and reuseable shopping bags, and messenger bags, and sometimes even under-the-eyes bags all converging on the same few blocks to buy fresh produce, watch musicians perform, find some good hangover food, show off their really cool triple-wide baby strollers, walk their giant bear-dogs, buy some cupcakes, beef jerky, salsa, hand-made textile-type items…etc, etc, etc.  The Des Moines Downtown Farmers’ Market is nothing short of a spectacle all rolled up in a not very neat package meant to deliver you from your homes earlier than you probably want to be out of your home and around 24,999 other people.  It’s an amazing experience, and I urge you to get your possibly-sorry buns out of your toasty oven of a bed and EXPERIENCE IT.

    Now, those tens of you who were with me at this time last year may remember my attitude towards the market being…let’s say…slightly askew from this year’s cheery-esque something or other.

    (I was going to post some links to last year’s blog posts regarding this subject here, but can’t seem to find them due to the distraction of reading other posts and laughing out loud.  Just go to the left and click on the may or june 2010 links in the “compost heap”)

    Well, I am a little excited for the Farmerz Market due to this: I will be working it under my own employ.  Come visit me at 3rd and Court Ave.

    Oh, this isn’t really about that.  This is about you enjoying your Market Experience.

    Keys to a good DTFM Experience:

    • Have some patience.  This is definitely #1 on the list
    • Check under produce sellers’ tables for freshly opened boxes from Loffredo’s Produce.  These people are fine to buy from , but you will be better served by ACTUALLY buying locally grown food which is what the Market was founded on.
    • Step out of your comfort zone.  Try foods and drinks that you wouldn’t normally seek out on your own.  DO YOU REALLY NEED TO EAT ANOTHER BREAKFAST BURRITO?
    • Have a loose game plan.  This may take a few trips to formulate, but plotting your parking, point of entry, and having an idea of what vendors you definitely want to visit  will keep you on point and out of the Zombie Zone. (the mindless wanderers who seem to not notice the other tens of thousands trying to get around them)
    • Check the Weather Forecast but don’t marry it.  We all know how fickle the South Central Iowa weather patterns can be, and how un-accurate our local weather people can be.  Don’t be scared off by a little drizzle or a chilly morning, just dress appropriately and follow your game plan.  The market goes on rain or shine, and the vendors work very hard to serve you.  Also, a “bad” day is the perfect time for you agoraphobes to get  your DTFM fix, as the attendance is markedly sparse…and you can hide under your rain ponch and pretend you are the only one there.
    • Ask Questions It is ok to engage in conversation with your market vendors, in fact most of them are very enthusiastic about answering customer questions.  You may get some good tips or recipes for using the produce you have aquired, or find out what local stores carry that home made jam for which you might have a late night emergency craving.
    • BRING YOUR OWN BAGS to carry your purchases.  don’t be “that” person at the Farmers’ Market carrying a bunch of plastic bags.  Uncool.
    • Pay attention to your surroundings and remember that you are not the only person walking along at your own pace.  There are thousands of other paces being paced and people tend to run in to each other or run over feet with strollers, or trip over dogs.  Watch where you are going, and pull over to let faster peoples pass.
    • Don’t be a dick.
    • Applaud the performers.
    • Buy Things

    and most of all, HAVE FUN.

The Cook.


19 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Is that replacing Jorge’s Taco Adventure?

Comment by InthewaterDSM

Yes it will, the Tacopocalypse has arrived.

Comment by locallygrown


Lookin forward to tasting your tacos….I can sadly never convince the wifey to go to Cumming and have them. 😦

Comment by InthewaterDSM

Also, “triple-wide baby strollers” and “giant bear-dogs” got me good. I got a few strange looks for all the laughter.

There is one big-assed fuzzy bear-dog we see every year. I mean, you or I could ride this beastie around the DTFM.


Comment by InthewaterDSM


Yes, YES, a thousand times yes! Although we’ll definitely be stopping by to try tacopocalypse, my favorite food in all of DSM is the breakfast burritos at the DTFM. However… its not the stupid farmboyz one (apologizes if said boyz are amongst the tens). No the best are the churizo burritos made by the fols that have moved around a bit but last year were at the Royal Mile patio. Sooooo good, I bike my fat ass down to the DTFM almost every Sat for one. I have know idea why everyone loves the lame, bland ones made by the burrito boyz.

Can’t wait for this Sat!

Comment by Mipo777

The Boyz pre-cooked bacon and cold tortillas…blech.

Comment by locallygrown

Oh baby…those are the good ones. They also make good omelets and steak tacos.

The one in from of Sbrocco last year was the same family.

Ezequiel from Mullets (among a few other places FCP runs) and his family run both.

This also explains the awesomeness of the Mullets breakfast menu.

Comment by InthewaterDSM

Ez makes some great grub. I have had some of his daily specials from Mullets, and never disappointed. My tacos are still better. I went there. Bam.

Comment by locallygrown


That’s a bold statement, which I will be happy to put to the test Saturday morning, I’ll be the hungry one that wants some tacos, be sure to pick me out.


Comment by InthewaterDSM

HAHAHA this is 100000% correct. I love the DTFM for exactly all the reasons you listed above. Plus the free samples.

Comment by Kristin

Yeah, like all those jerks who bring their four kids to the Farmer’s Market. Jerks.

Comment by Phil K. James

Hahahaha….you don’t have a giant bear-dog, too do you?


Comment by InthewaterDSM

I substitute my bike for strollers and dogs. Equally traffic blocking.

Comment by locallygrown

I think you are seriously under-estimating the blocking capabilities of strollers and giant bear-dogs, Phil.

Although, if some “jerk” is blocking the road Sat. morning with a bike I’ll have a good idea who it is.


Comment by InthewaterDSM

Can’t wait for Saturday morning!

Comment by DesMoinesReport

C’mon, where’s the update with pics and stories from the weekend?

I want to hear about all the drunken shenannigans after the DTFM. Woohoo.

Comment by InthewaterDSM

It’s in my brain.

Comment by locallygrown

Love this post. It’s a total cluster F of people down there, and I usually end up only making it a couple steps in, before I turn around and give up.
I’ll use your tips next time, and try to find you and your tacos 🙂

Comment by Stephanie

[…] think that it is the locally grown food, but as some other knowledgable bloggers have pointed out, not all of the food is locally grown. Anyway, enough pontificating. I’ll leave the resolution of this conundrum to the marketing […]

Pingback by Des Moines Downtown Farmers Market – Photo Essay « Distilled Opinion

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