DES MOINES, Iowa- With over 300 vendors throughout the season and record breaking numbers of attendees this year, the Downtown Farmer’s Market ended Saturday on a high note, even though temperatures were low.
The nationally recognized market showcases local and non-local small businesses, and people from all over Iowa and some from out of state gather to enjoy food, entertainment, culture, the ambiance, and more.
Bella Henry of Bella’s Bread Company is from Omaha, Nebraska. This year, she attended every Downtown Farmers’ Market of the season and she says that the market has helped her reach new customers.
“This one is definitely one of my favorite farmers markets I’ve done, so I’ll definitely be back next year,” said Henry.
Mohamad Ali Baydoun and his family run Tarboosh, a consistent vendor only available at the Downtown Farmers’ Market. He said that the market is how his family can share their Lebanese culture with Iowans.
“We had like really good feedback. We make everything from scratch from home. Our ingredients are local, freshly made,” said Baydoun.
He said that their success at the market may help them open a more permanent location so they can continue to showcase Lebanese food throughout the year.
And while most people attend the market to try new foods or spend time with loved ones, more goes on behind the scenes that helps the community.
Meals from the Market is a partnership with the Des Moines Area Regional Council (DMARC), which is connected to the Food Pantry Network.
Volunteers from Meals from the Market collect excess produce that wasn’t sold by vendors at the end of every market and donate the food to pantries. This initiative that started in 2011 and has helped provide a variety of produce to the 14 food pantries.
“It’s been a very productive year. We’re always appreciative of this partnership,” said Blake Willadsen from Meals from the Heartland.
This year’s market collected over 29,000 pounds of donated produce and nonperishable food items, and over 370,000 pounds were collected since the start of this initiative in 2011.
The chilly temperature didn’t stop the crowds of people at the last market of the season.
Megan Renkel is the manager of the Downtown Farmers’ Market. She said that preparations for the next market are already underway.
However, for people who are eager to feel the market ambiance sooner, the Winter Farmers’ Market will take place from Friday November 17th to Sunday November 19th at Hy-Vee Hall in Downtown Des Moines.