The beloved Des Moines Downtown Farmers’ Market returns to the Historic Court District for its 47th year in May, brimming with local produce, fresh flowers, great food and more.
More importantly, shoppers will find the market back to its pre-pandemic glory.
When does the 2022 Des Moines Farmers’ Market open?
The market, held each Saturday, opens on May 7 from 7 am to noon and continues through October. In October, the market opens at 8 am until noon before it closes on 29.
What to expect at the Downtown Des Moines Farmers’ Market
More than 275 vendor booths, interspersed with bands and other entertainment, will span nine city blocks on Court Avenue from Water Street to Fifth Avenue and extending north and south on Second Avenue, Third Street and Fourth Street.
Typically, the market attracts about 25,000 shoppers each week, but opening weekend brings an estimated 40,000.
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What’s new at the Downtown Farmers’ Market in 2022?
There are 37 new vendors for 2022, selling everything ranging from pastries to bubble teas to mushrooms. Keep an eye out for new vendors like The Sweatshop Pepper Farm, whose owners dress in hazmat suits while selling their spicy varieties of peppers, and Ori Asè, a handmade waist bead and crystal jewelry vendor.
Will there be COVID precautions, mask requirements?
After altered versions of the farmers market in 2020 and 2021, it should look closer to pre-COVID this season.
Hand sanitizer will be available at the UnityPoint Health tent and at multiple hand sanitizer stations around the market, but no other COVID precautions are in place for the 2022 season.
Last year, the market, which had been limited to drive-up service in a parking lot beside the Iowa Capitol in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, returned in much smaller form than usual. Masks were required, the number of vendors was limited to 115 to allow extra space between the booths and there was no entertainment or prepared food service. In addition, pedestrian traffic was limited to a single direction on each side of the street.
As COVID infections fell, however, the restrictions loosened. By the end of May, the number of vendors grew to 165 and within another few months, food service returned, as did performers.
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What can I buy at the farmers market?
The opening day market typically offers early produce such as radishes, scallions, lettuce, spinach and kale. Vendors also will have starter plants for your garden as well as microgreens, fresh-cut flowers and — when they begin appearing — morels.
The farmers, producers, artists and bakers at the market come from 50 counties across the state, and as the growing season moves along, so do the varieties of fresh produce and flowers, as well as an increased abundance of farm-fresh eggs, cheese and baked goods, locally produced wine and a variety of Iowa-raised meat and breakfast products.
Ready-to-eat food and drink vendors will also be on site for snacking while you browse.
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Can I pay with cash?
All vendors accept cash, but farmers market organizers encourage patrons to consider using touchless or card payments.
Is there music or other entertainment?
Every week, six performers will take to the streets to provide live music and other entertainment during the farmers market. The performers will rotate weekly and include juggler and street performer Luther Bangert, musician Bryce Kai and singer/songwriter Patricia Holly.
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Are dogs allowed at the farmers’ market?
Yes, but farmers market organizers ask that you review the FAQs before deciding to bring Fido. Dogs must be on a leash.
Where to park at the Des Moines Farmers’ Market
Around the historic Court Avenue district, several free and paid parking meters, lots and garages are available for day-of parking.
Market visitors are encouraged to consider using the free DART D-Line, which runs on extended hours to service the market from May through October. Buses run every 10 minutes from 10 am to 5 pm
Park anywhere along the route, which runs on Locust Street and Grand Avenue from the 17th Street to the State Capitol. There are stops on nearly every block, and attendees can easily access the market by getting off between Second Avenue and Fifth Avenue. More information about the route can be found here.
The market also offers a bike valet staffed by the Street Collective. Bring your bicycle to the Terrus Real Estate Group parking ramp at the southeast corner of Second and Court avenues for safekeeping while you shop. Staff can also pump air into tires or change a flat.
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Elle Wignall covers dining for the Register. Reach her from her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @ElleWignallDMR.