Des Moines Favorites – Downtown Farmers’ Market

Des Moines Favorites – Downtown Farmers’ Market

One of our favorite things to do on the weekends is go to the Des Moines Downtown Farmers’ Market. Open May-October, it spans nine city blocks on Court Avenue and its side streets. Anyone who has experienced the Des Moines Farmers’ Market understands why it’s continually ranked as one of the top Farmers’ Markets in the country with fresh fruits, vegetables, baked goods, organic meats, food stands, handmade goods, and live music.

Des Moines Farmers Market

We try to make it to the Downtown Farmers’ Market at least once a month during the spring/summer/fall months its open. Sometimes we go more, sometimes less. This weekend was our first visit for the season. We weren’t shopping for anything in particular, but we hit up our favorite food stands. Come hungry, it’s a must that you eat your way through the market!

My stop is always Vander Ploog’s bakery stand for a Dutch letter. I have a great recipe I’ll share one day, but Vander Ploog’s are the best!

dutch letter at Des Moines Farmer's Market

Todd always stands in line (and the line can be long) for a Farm Boys Breakfast Burrito.


We didn’t buy any produce this time around, but we checked out all of the stands so we knew where our favorites were for our next visit.
(Egg and flower photos courtesy of the Des Moines Farmers’ Market website)



This weekend they happened to have a 5k sponsored by the Des Moines Police Department, and as part of that they had all of the law enforcement and rescue vehicles out for kids to check out, climb inside and talk to the officers and first responders. We even got to see the life flight helicopter take off which Carter thought was the coolest thing ever. Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of that, I was afraid I might miss something!


Carter also enjoyed running into Pikachu who was promoting next weekend’s Asian Heritage Festival. Yes, that’s Todd in the background in his bike gear. He rode his bike down to the market.


I was in luck this weekend and it was Market Day at the Farmers’ Market. One day a month local makers set up shop at the Kirkwood on 4th and show off their goods.


For the second year in a row, I’ve bought something from a maker of handmade jewelry (surprise, surprise!). I could have bought several things, but I had to limit myself.


How clever are these metal ruler bracelets?


There’s a band on almost every corner, everything from salsa, cover bands, folk and classical can be heard.


After making our way through the vendors, we walked along the river walk. I swear Carter is training to compete in parkour. When I ask him why he always does things the hard way around, he says “because it’s more fun”.



He did sit for about 2 minutes while he was “resting his legs”.


Of course he recovered quickly and practiced his balancing skills in a construction area.


We’re already looking forward to our next trip to the Downtown Farmers’ Market. If you’re looking for something in particular, make sure to get there early to avoid the crowds and get in and get out quickly. Luckily vendors always seem fairly well stocked, and generally don’t run out until the very end of the market. If you’re not in a hurry, just take your time checking out all the goods and stay for brunch or lunch downtown.

Parking Tip: I almost always park in the ramp at 5th and Court. Even if the light says “full” you can almost always get in and catch someone leaving. Biking in is a great option too. They have free bike valet and plenty of bike racks allowing you to “park” very close.


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