Photo by Carter Oswood
Every Saturday from May until the end of October, more than 200 vendors and an average of 18,000 shoppers line the streets of the court district in downtown Des Moines. From 7 a.m. to noon farmers from around Iowa and the Midwest bring the best of farm life to Des Moines. The Farmers Market is more than just farms, though; the market features hand crafted jewelry, clothes, decorations, baked goodies and a variety of other goods.
This past Tuesday, the Drake Environmental Action League brought a mini farmers market to campus as a part of Earth Week. DEAL was able to bring five vendors to the market: the Iowa Coffee Company, Terra Natural Designs, Grandma’s Fudge, Uncle Wendell’s Barbeque and Kabob House.
Pat runs Grandma’s Fudge at many area markets including the Des Moines Farmers Market, the Ankeny Farmers Market, Ankeny Unplugged, the Johnston Farmers Market, the Polk City Farmers Market, the Four Mile Farmers Market and various craft fairs.
Grandma’s Fudge sells homemade fudge as well as a variety of baked goods including Dutch letter bars. Pat said she is constantly making the fudge and always bakes it fresh for every fair. Pat’s favorite part is the people and their reactions to her fudge.
“I like the reactions to the fudge when they taste it,” Pat said. “It makes me feel good when they like my stuff.”
While most products are locally made, Terra Natural Designs is a sustainable business that features jewelry from South America. The jewelry is made from the Tagua Nut as well as Acai Seeds. The trees produce these yearly and they bring unique designs to the jewelry.
As a relatively new company that has only been around for about four months, Terra Natural Designs travels to different farmers markets, universities and hospital events. The company helps support artisans in South America and helps preserve the rain forest. Whether you are buying local from Grandma’s Fudge or buying sustainable goods from Terra Natural Designs, the Farmers Market is a great way to support the environment.
Drake sophomore Kelsey Johnson helped put on the Drake Farmers Market and explained why buying local is a great way to support the environment and local businesses.
“(Buying Local) helps local businesses thrive, but also there is less energy to transfer the goods,” Johnson said.
Junior Zac Pace also often goes to the market.
“I enjoy the opportunities Des Moines offers for members of the community to interact with and become invested in local food sources,” Pace said. “The chance to buy fresh and local is something that I value and look forward to every week.”
If you enjoyed Drake’s farmers market be sure to check out the Downtown Farmers Market every Saturday until Oct. 30, as well as the Wednesday Farmers Market held on 13th Street from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. until Oct. 5. Be on the look-out for the Winter Farmers Market and explore Des Moines and all the local goods it has to offer.