Farmers Market season begins

Perennials for sale by Betty Decker at Hiawatha Farmers Market

Perennials for sale by Betty Decker at Hiawatha Farmers Market

 As of this afternoon (Friday, May 1, 2009), the Cedar Rapids farmers market season will begin. The schedule apparently has caused some confusion. This might be the reason:  There’s the Noelridge Park market, which begins at the same time and place as usual. Then there is the market in the city parking lot on Eighth Avenue SE, which was relocated after last year’s flood and is almost, but not quite the same otherwise as last year, and one in Greene Square Park that replaces one day of the Eighth Avenue markets, but only from June through August. And then there is the large-scale Downtown Farmers Markets, which is only on certain days throughout the season and preempts the Eighth Avenue market on those Saturdays. Pretty simple.

   I was at the Hiawatha Farmers Market on Sunday. If you haven’t been to that one, it’s worth your while to go, not only because it’s one of few markets on Sundays, but they offer great produce, plants, baked goods, organic meat and more. That’s where I shot the photo, above, of perennials for sale by Betty Decker, from Decker’s Hobbies in Walker. Look for more photos from the Hiawatha market and a “clip and save” listing of area farmers markets in the Sunday, May 3, Gazette. It’s in the Money section, in its new location behind the sports pages.

   You can find all of those markets under the Linn County heading in the farmers market category on this blog, plus many others. New this year is a farmers market in Shellsburg and the Downtown Farmers Market in Cedar Rapids (the big one that’s just on certain days) has some new additions, too. This is from Quinn Pettifer, from the Cedar Rapids Downtown District:

   New features this season include open mic sessions, a Green Space sponsorship and recycling program, and a pet policy offering guidelines for patrons that bring their pets to the market. The pet policy includes a maximum 4 foot leash requirement, as well as basic health and social interaction guidelines.  Another noteworthy addition to this season includes the acceptance of WIC checks by those vendors participating in both the City and Downtown Farmers’ Markets. The WIC approval process was led by Representative Tyler Olson who took the initiative to Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey for special approval.  

    Quinn also notes that 4th Avenue and 5 Seasons Parkades will be free and open to the public, with additional on street parking available. Handicapped accessible parking will be available in the True North Parking lot along 5th Street SE.  The market (remember, this is the large, downtown one) will be in a slightly different location than it was last year after the flood. It will be along 3rd and 4th Avenues to include 2nd and 3rd Streets SE and Greene Square Park.   

That market is on June 6, June 20, July 18, August 1, August 15, September 5, and October 3. Entertainment for the June 6 market includes Pan-Delirium Steel Drum Band, Theatre Cedar Rapids, MOvMNT, Library Story Time, Iowa Children’s Museum activities, a roaming wine tasting, cooking demonstration, and street entertainment from Mark Brown and Junk Funk.

     Bob Shepherd also sent some info (as well as the photo below) about the Washington Farmers Market, which begins Thursday, May 14th:  The market starts at 5pm each Thursday evening and closes at 7:30pm. Growers, bakers, and artists set up their displays in downtown Central Park, under the tall shade trees, along the new sidewalks leading to the Memorial Fountain. Vendors number from 20 in the spring to 45 during the summer as produce reaches its peak maturity. We are a certified Iowa Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program market with a number of eligible growers. Starting in June, ‘Thursday Night Live’, offers entertainment from 6:30pm to 7:30pm, local artists including; Catfish Keith, Patrick Hazell, suzuki strings, dance studios and the Richland Old Time String Band to name a few, perform on the Washington Bandstand. The Washington Muni Band follows with rousing concerts from 8pm to 9pm. Such is the usual fare in downtown Washington on Thursday evenings throughout the summer. Special Market events include; the12th annual Smoker/BB-Q/Grill Challenge on the Thursday following Fathers Day June 25th , The 11th annual Tasters’ Choice Salsa Contest will be September 3rd the Thursday before Labor Day.

    Duane Randall, Director of Parks & Recreation in Vinton, sent information about the Peal or No Peal night and other fun stuff going on at the Vinton Farmers Market this summer. You can find more info and photos on that market at: www.vprdzone.com

Customers snatch up baked goods at the Washington (Iowa) Farmers Market last summer. Photo by Bob Shepherd

Customers snatch up baked goods at the Washington (Iowa) Farmers Market last summer. Photo by Bob Shepherd

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1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Nicholas Heimer said,

    Hey Betty’s perrenialls are looking great! She made some super great tasting hot pepper apple butter for us last year. Yummmmmmm…. Miss that farmers market a lot. Love and Light Nicholas Heimer


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