From the beginning May until the end October, Court Avenue is blocked off every Saturday morning to make room for an abundance of produce, flowers, and quality people-watching. While it can hard to wake up early on the weekend, once I get downtown I immediately feel a deep sense of pride for our city. We get to live here?!
Before we begin, here are three tips: bring cash, ride the shuttle, and go early. There's an ATM at the market that charges a $3.00 processing fee, so go to your bank before heading down. The metered parking used to be free on weekends, but no more! So either park in one of the garages or just ride the shuttle. And finally, arriving early guarantees you'll be able to wander around without tripping over dogs, strollers, or dogs in strollers.
Onward to picturesssssss! (to be read in a voice reminiscent of Oprah)
One of my favorite things at the market (besides the world famous pupusas from Papusas El Salvador) is this fresh mango-on-a-stick. Without a doubt, it's the most awkward thing in the world to eat in the middle of a crowd, but it's delicious! If you want it with an extra kick, order with lime juice. Taqueria 3 Hermanos is located on the north side of 2nd Avenue.
After the mangoes, there's always that old faithful, La Mie. They're near the east end of Court Avenue in a big white tent. Take a few moments to gawk at the bread and then order one of their pastries with spinach and parm. Warning: it has lots of garlic and it’s sort of dense, so maybe share? Or don't share. I won't be there and no one will ever know. You can eat two or three! Go crazy because it's farmers' market, baby!
Lately, my sister has been really into Fresh Cafe and Market. They sell a lot of "green stuff" and she usually orders one of their smoothies or their fancy aronia bowls. I really wish Des Moines had a juicery. It’d be like Horizon Line, but for juice! Horizon Squeeze?
Before we head home, I usually try to grab my madre flowers from the Flower Market. It's owned by the sweetest elderly couple in the Universe and they wrap your flowers in actual bundles of newspaper. I always think it adds a nice finishing touch to the "market experience" and it sort of makes me feel like I've traveled back in time to the good, old days.
And that's that! I hope this guide helps you navigate market a little bit better. If you have any questions, you can comment below and I'll do my best to help. p.s. I update this post every year to make sure it stays relevant and accurate.