Summer in Iowa means farmers’ markets galore. Now, I think “farmers’ market” means something different up here than down south. When I was living in Baton Rouge I remember being severely disappointed at the lack of vendors, veggies, and general feeling of freshness in the Downtown BR Farmers’ Market. I went into it with a vague childhood memory from the one time I went to the massive and beautiful Des Moines Farmers’ Market – to which nothing can be compared. Up here, farmers’ markets are a vegetarian/health freak/outdoor lover’s dream, and Des Moines is the Taj Mahal of them all.
Nevertheless, they can’t all be Des Moines. The smaller ones are are not to be ignored – they are absolutely wonderful as well! (Just on a much smaller scale of wonderful.) This summer (at least until July) I am privileged to be a vendor at the Ames Main Street Farmers’ Market with my friend, Caroline Sallen (whose work can be found here). Two weeks ago was my first farmers’ market vending experience, and it was awesome. There is simply nothing better than spending a Saturday morning surrounded by mounds of fresh vegetables, smiling faces, and other artisans like myself.
But anywaaaaaay. Here are my top 5 reasons for loving farmers’ markets:
- I love being surrounded by fresh vegetables. Call me crazy, but it makes me feel healthy, like there’s some sort of osmosis happening. And there’s no sight more beautiful than piles upon piles of fresh beets newly pulled from the ground, or rows of perfectly symmetrical heads of lettuce.
- I love buying local – not just for the food aspect of it (though I do feel more comfortable eating something of known origin) but for the human aspect of it. When I buy from my neighbors, I feel like I am not only personally gaining by stuffing my face, but I am also helping support someone’s livelihood.
- I love seeing all the different dogs. Apparently, there is a general consensus that farmers’ markets are a good activity not only for humans, but for their dog counterparts as well. Consequently, there are always a ton of different breeds sniffing around, and it is great!
- I love talking to the farmers and local artisans – their stories are oftentimes very interesting and very inspiring! Even if I don’t buy anything from their booths, I still feel like I am walking away with something.
- I love the bustle – normally I am not one for crowds, but on a crisp morning, it is nice to see people convening for something as wholesome and beneficial as a farmers’ market. People supporting people. It makes my heart happy.
To make your farmers’ market experience even better, I have selected a few farmers’ market must haves from shops on Etsy. (But if I’m perfectly honest, all you really need for an incredible Saturday morning outing is yourself, a friend, and a cup of joe.)
1. Vintage Slingback Sandals by Our Town Vintage on Etsy, $34 // 2. Teal Crossbody Bag by MUNIshop on Etsy, $65 // 3. Dead Stock Vintage Shorts by Bless That Dress on Etsy, $28.27 // 4. Fruit Pin by Jordan Sondler on Etsy, $15 // 5. Vintage Umbrella by Vintage Wall on Etsy, $30 // 6. Farmers’ Market Bags by Moxie Madness on Etsy, $14 // 7. Rabbit Necklace by I Am a Bird on Etsy, $50
For those of you in Iowa:
After you hit the Des Moines Farmers’ Market this Saturday (May 24th), please come by the Kirkwood building downtown for Market Day! (Farmers’ Market – craft edition.) I will have my booth set up with all sorts of lovelies, and it would be a delight to see you.