The Downtown Farmers’ Market will return to Historic Court Avenue District in Downtown Des Moines a week early this year. Opening day for the 2009 Downtown Farmers’ Market season is Saturday, May 2nd from 7 a.m. – noon.

“Both our customers and our vendors have asked us to start the Market earlier in May,” explains Kelly Foss, Downtown Farmers’ Market director. “After discussing opening day with many of our participating farmers, it was determined that they would be ready to start selling their products, therefore we would be able to open sooner.”

On opening day shoppers at the Downtown Farmers’ Market will find delicious spring greens, morel mushrooms, rhubarb, asparagus, herbs, and a variety of spring produce. Vegetable and herb plants will be in abundance, as well as hanging floral baskets, bedding plants and perennials to get your own flower and vegetable gardens started. Just in time for Mother’s Day, a large variety of unique gifts will also be available.

The Downtown Farmers’ Market features nearly 200 vendors, from 49 Iowa counties, with farm fresh products including Iowa raised pork, beef, lamb, poultry, fish, elk, baked breads, pies and cinnamon rolls. Patrons will also find nuts, eggs, butter, cheese, wine, jams, jellies, beautiful cut flowers, unique hostas and a vast assortment of locally created arts, crafts, jewelry, rugs, and clothing.

A new year brings a new layout for the vendors at the Market. Many of your favorite vendors may have changed locations to better fit their business needs. A complete list of vendors with a map and a list of the products can be found at Be sure to check the web site for special offers from vendors each week.

Fun things to look forward to this season include the return of Grapevine Tunes. This program gives youth ages 6 - 17 an opportunity to showcase their musical skills from June – September at the corner of Fourth Street and Court Avenue. Kids can also participate each Saturday in agricultural and nature-related activities at the “Earn your PhB” booth, sponsored by Pioneer Hi-Bred. The Master Gardeners will be on hand monthly to answer questions and give advice and look for the Top Chef Tour Bus to visit the Market in early June. In addition, you will find a variety of entertainment from belly dancers, mimes, live music and steel drum bands at six different locations throughout the market.

For those looking for the perfect gift for their favorite Farmers’ Market enthusiast, Downtown Farmers’ Market merchandise is available. Merchandise includes colorful market shopping bags and gift certificates available in the market business office, at the Market, or by calling (515) 286-4911.
The Downtown Farmers’ Market began in 1976 with just 15 vendors and an average of 200 shoppers and operated July - October. Today, the Market has more than 200 vendors and an average of 20,000 visitors each Saturday during May - October. Last year’s opening day attracted a record crowd of more than 40,000 people.

For more information about the Downtown Farmers’ Market visit or become a fan on Facebook – page name is Downtown Des Moines Farmers’ Market.