Help pack a million meals for struggling seniors on Sept. 11. Volunteer today






AARP Games - Play Now!
AARP Auto Buying Program


Contests and

most popular


'Tis the Season for the Farmers Market

Check out 12 we scouted or find one close to you for local, organic food

woman at farmers' market with basket of peaches

Americans are turning to farmers markets for fresher, more nutritious foods. — Blend/Getty Images


Downtown Des Moines Farmers Market

Sure, there are places here to buy corn: corn on the cob, popcorn, corn bread and even sweet corn ice cream. But the 200-plus vendors at this market in the heart of farm country sell an enormous variety of local wares beyond the state's signature ears.

At vendor stalls spread among nine city blocks, the market averages 18,000 visitors on Saturdays from May through October. It's a friendly scene, with musicians playing casual concerts, educational programs for kids and a "bike valet" that not only secures shoppers' bicycles but also will check the tires. Two years ago, the market launched a Meals from the Market program that takes shoppers' and vendors' fresh food donations and distributes them to local programs serving Des Moines' hungry and homeless. 

Locals' love of this market is typified by Betsy Rubiner, whose plans for the season's opening were as follows: "I'm going to the market on Saturday unless there's a tornado." An author and travel writer who has shopped farmers markets around the country, Rubiner considers Des Moines' market "one of the best things about living here."

Among Rubiner's favorite vendors at the market are Orale! Salsa ("My go-to salsa lady! We like the HOT kind."), Koch Woodworking ("Terrific rough-hewn wood plates and bowls made from various trees found in Iowa."), Williams and Sons Orchard ("I buy big boxes of Jonathan apples in the fall from these folks to make applesauce, which I freeze for the winter."), and South Union Bakery ("Great bread including the world's best ciabatta anywhere — trust me."). Last but not least, she recommends Westrum Produce: "Big farm family, nice people, always dependable for the latest in-season produce."


Saturdays: 7 a.m.-noon, May 7-October 29, at the Historic Court Avenue District, on Court Avenue between First and Fifth Streets

Wednesday market: 11 a.m.-2 p.m., August 31-October 5, outdoors on Thirteenth Street between Grand and Locust

Winter markets: Fridays November 18 to December 16, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; and Saturdays November 19 and December 17, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., indoors and outdoors at 400 Locust St., Downtown Des Moines

Next: New Mexico farmers markets.>>

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.


Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

denny's restaurant member discount membership

Members save 15% all day, every day when dining at participating Denny’s restaurants.

Pepperoni Pizza, Papa Johns Superbowl promotion for AARP members

Members save 25% off regular menu price orders at Papa John's

Outback membership benefit aarp festive steak dinner

Members save 15% on lunch and dinner every day at Outback Steakhouse.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points