Type to search


No More Parsley, Sage, Rosemary or Thyme: Downtown Farmers’ Market Ends 2023 Season

THE DOWNTOWN FARMERS’ MARKET has an assortment of things to buy, from baked goods and drinks to handmade crafts. PHOTO BY Lily Wasserman | features editor

The Des Moines Farmers’ Market began with lines for iced coffee and ended with lines for hot chocolate. Oct. 28, which saw temperatures of  28 degrees with wind chill, marked the last Farmers’ Market of 2023.

The Downtown Farmers’ Market takes place on Court Avenue from May to October. It began in 1976 with 15 vendors. This year, according to Megan Renkel, the Downtown Farmers’ Market manager at the Greater Des Moines Partnership, it hosted over 300 vendors, many of which are new. 

“To be able to see businesses really grow by being in the market is really fun,” Renkel said. 

SlapSoda began vending at the market in March. The booth serves mixed virgin beverages, both iced and hot. Rebekah Walker, the owner, went to school in Utah and loved the soda shops.
“When I came out here, I was like, ‘Where are my favorite drinks at?’ So, I decided to bring the concept out here,” Walker said. 

Next year, Walker hopes to open a brick-and-mortar shop. Her favorite part of being at the market has been meeting people. 

“The vendors have become friends, [and] we have regulars. It’s just a good community to be around,” Walker said.  

Walker added that if they do open a brick-and-mortar shop, SlapSoda will still be at the market. In the offseason, SlapSoda will continue catering and will be present at the Winter Market. 

Thill’s Produce, founded in 1975, will also be at the Winter Market. The stand has been a “tradition” in the family, with four generations having run it and another preparing to. 

“The Farmers’ Market is great. It’s great for Des Moines, [and] it’s great for the state of Iowa,” Bill, who works at Thill’s produce, said. 

Thill’s Produce sells clothing, produce, baked goods and large mums, which Bill said sold very well this year. Next year, Bill hopes to do the same, but better.

“We’re happy with where we’re at today, but you always hope to improve,” Bill said. 

Drake community members are normally present at the Downtown Farmers’ Market, including Griff II, who, accompanied by the Drake football team, rang the opening bell on Aug. 26. 

Junior Eva Kellen works every Saturday, so she couldn’t go to the Downtown Farmers’ Market. Kellen is looking forward to being able to shop at the Winter Market, which will run on Friday, Saturday and Sunday as opposed to just Saturday.
“I love a little farmers’ market,” Kellen said. “There’s a really cute one in my hometown on Thursdays that I used to go to with my parents.” 

Drake Students can access the Downtown Farmers’ Market by taking the DART bus to the central station and walking to Court Avenue. The Winter Market will take place from Nov. 17 to Nov. 19 and is indoors for the first time. It will take place in Hy-Vee Hall. 

Next year, according to Renkel, the Farmers’ Market hopes to host more vendors and expand programming. The Downtown Farmers’ Market will open applications for new vendors in January and begin vending again in May.

Skip to content