Winter Farmers’ Market, 2020 Edition

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Driving through downtown Des Moines Saturday you may have seen the long line of cars going to the Winter Farmers’ Market.

“The Winter Farmers’ Market doesn’t look quite like what we’re used to, but we are embracing it,” Des Moines’ Downtown Winter Farmers’ Market Director Kelly Foss said.

Dozens of cars waited to enter Principal Park for the Downtown Winter Farmers’ Market Saturday. This year they don’t need to worry about finding a parking spot.

“It’s a good market that way, just completely different. But I guess given it’s 2020, that is pretty typical,” said Kathleen Hoard, owner of Kat’s Garden and Gary Hoard Photography.

In typical 2020 fashion, this farmers’ market is a drive-thru version.

“It’s worked really really slick. We have a shopping lane and then a passing lane, so if you’re not interested in shopping a specific vendor, you can go around and hook up with the next vendor and it’s just been really smooth,” Foss said.

“If it was in-person, I probably wouldn’t be here, but since it is in this format, I feel a lot better about attending,” West Des Moines resident Taylor Gion said.

“They’ve really taken all the precautions for our safety and the customers’ safety as well. We are required to wear masks and always use the sanitizer between any transactions or anything like that,” Hoard said.

Normally the market has about 300 vendors. This year there are only 40. Kathleen Hoard is one of them. She and her husband, Gary, have not missed a farmers’ market in 23 years.

“I think it’s a really good mix of vendors and different products that are available, and it still showcases everything that’s handmade or locally produced,” Hoard said.

Hoard said because there were fewer markets this year, some local vendors are struggling, which is why one customer said it’s important to support local businesses.

“We’re here getting some ingredients for dinner tonight, trying to buy some coffee and stuff like that. We’re just trying to support those local businesses rather than going to a grocery store if we can,” Gion said.

Normally there are two winter farmers’ markets. One is usually in November and another in December. But because they had to move to an outdoor venue, this was the last one of the year.

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