Baby tomatoes

Baby tomatoes

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Farmers' Market Season is here!

It's my favorite time of year again- farmers' market season! The spring produce is just starting to be ready, the days are getting warmer, and all the small towns in west central Iowa are starting their farmers' market season. It won't be long and gardens will be bursting with fresh, delicious food. 

For the first time since I moved from the city, the nearby town of Dexter now has a farmers market. Tuesday afternoons the historic Roundhouse will be filled with vendors selling locally grown produce, homemade baked good, jams and jellies, handcrafted items and more. Nearby Stuart has their market on Wednesday in the city park. Almost every night of the week you can find a market within a few minutes drive.

It's fun to watch the weekly offerings change as the season progresses. Early markets boast loads of asparagus, radishes, peas and spring greens. If you're lucky you might find a market with morels for sale. Mid-summer brings all the warm weather fruits and vegetables- strawberries to sweet corm, tomatoes to zucchini. One of the best things about the weekly market is the ever-changing variety of fresh ingredients. I love to stop after work and grab something I see and create a dinner with vegetables picked just hours ago.

Pick your own farms are a big hit in the area as well. It's a great way to get a large quantity of something like cucumbers for pickle-making, or tomatoes for canning, and usually saves a lot of money. It's a great resource for people like me who love home-canned foods but just don't have the garden space to grow so much.

Most of the farmers' markets continue until the end of October. Fall markets boast apples, pears, winter squash, decoratives like cornstalks and of course, pumpkins!

From the humble road side corn stand to the bustling big city Downtown Farmers Market, summer is all about celebrating the wonderful fresh foods we have available, so get out there and shop your local farmers' markets!

(Top photo of produce in baskets courtesy of Online Farmers Markets Group)

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