Guide to Downtown Des Moines' Farmer's Market

Today I want to share one of my favorite things about our city....Downtown Des Moines Farmer's Market

The entirety of Court Avenue is closed off every Saturday morning to make room for produce, flowers, art, and tons of quality people-watching. I visit it every month and always leave feeling happier about living near Des Moines.

Our market is just big enough to feel sort of overwhelming, so I thought I'd share my favorite spots with you to make your visit easier. But first, here are three helpful tips....

  1. Get there early: Farmer's market starts at seven in the morning and ends at noon. Word on the street is that vendors aren't allowed to make any sales before seven o'clock, so don't plan on buying anything if you arrive early. The best time to go is from 7:00-8:30am. If you come around that time, you can beat both the insane crowds and the insane heat.
  2. Don't pay for parking: Street parking is always free on weekends, but if the metered parking is full you have other options. I always head to the parking garage right on the corner of 3rd Street and Court. It's free on Saturday. If you're able to get there early, you can park on one of the lower levels and it's a breeze getting in and out. I've never paid for parking for market and neither should you.
  3. Cash is king: Most of the vendors don't take cards, so make sure to bring cash. There's an ATM down there, but it charges a $3 processing fee. So I suggest dropping by your bank beforehand. Onward to pictures and food!

all photography by Liz Brown.

Like I said earlier, we tend to visit farmer's market early in the morning, so we can wander around without fear of bumping into strollers or tripping over dogs. Plus that gorgeous early morning light makes for good pictures. #instagram 

The first thing I usually head towards is this booth that sells fresh mangoes on a stick. Truthfully, it's the most awkward thing in the world to eat, but it's SO good! It's juicy, tangy, and if you want an extra kick, you should absolutely order it with lime juice.  It's easy to find: head north on 2nd Avenue and find the booth called Taqueria 3 Hermanos

After the mangoes, head over to good, old 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. There's a hefty amount of garlic in that thing, so you'll wanna share. 

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My sister really likes this booth called Fresh Cafe and Market. They sell a lot of "green stuff" and she usually opts for a smoothie or one of their really fancy aronia bowls. I think they're a tiny bit overpriced, but "green stuff" usually is nowadays.

On this visit, my brother and sister tagged along. Thankfully, we're all at that age where we can hang out without wanting to kill one another. I especially enjoy taking my little brother because I always wanted an older brother when I was a kid, so it's nice to be able to be that for him.

While I chowed on the mango, bro and sis ordered some doughnuts from Sweet Treats Without Wheat. Unless they're the maple-flavored doughnuts from Casey's, I'm not a huge doughnut person. So I skipped these and let Liz snap a few pictures of them (p.s. she's obsessed with doughnuts. Ask her about the Doughnut Queen contest...)

In years past, I usually ordered a breakfast burrito bowl from Dos Rios, but they closed for good. Huge bummer! I did hear that Five Boroughs Bagels is going to have a booth at this year's market, which is super exciting because their bagels are the bomb.com. 

Before  we head home, I usually try to grab my mom fresh flowers from the Flower Market. It's owned by the sweetest elderly couple who wrap your purchases in bundles of newspaper. I always think it adds a nice finishing touch to the "market exerience." 

Okay, folks, hope you enjoyed this little roundup of my favorite things at farmer's market. Let me know in the comments if I missed something you think deserves attention. As always, hope you leave this site loving our city even more.