It’s one of my favorite times of year. Yesterday marked the first day that produce vendors line the streets of downtown Des Moines just hours after Court Ave announced last call. After the cold winter months, the various food tents are a welcome sight, and I wasted no time in making what was the first of many summer trips to the downtown area. It’s Farmer’s Market season!
This is so much more than a trip to the outdoor produce section. It is:
- entertainment (at least 3 different live performances)
- dining (a cultural buffet)
- people watching (just rolled out of bed to on the way to a special occasion)
- arts and crafts (metal, wood, fabric, paper, clay)
- dog walking (tiny to enormous)
- philanthropy (dog shelters, charity races, feeding the hungry)
- sampling (beef sticks, cheese, mustard, bread, salsas, wine)
- photography (from selfies to professionals)
- and, yes, produce shopping at it’s finest.
I took a lot of pictures (and it was early at the market so the crowds are still forming)… here are some of my favorites.
My all-time favorite thing at the market is a Pupusa. This is the reason taking a risk and trying new things is such an important part of a market experience. I ran across this stand a few years ago and was so curious, I knew I’d regret not trying it. It looks like a grilled pita filled with pork and cheese (there are other choices too), served with a vinegar-based cabbage slaw and hot or mild salsa (or in my case … some of each). The only bad thing about this dish is that I have a hard time trying anything else at the market because I crave pupusas each and every week! The only way to improve on this dish? Follow it up with their rice pudding with cinnamon and raisins. The stand is found at the south end of 3rd Street (location can change from year to year).
MORE FOOD OPTIONS
GORGEOUS PLANTS AND FLOWERS
FUN FOR THE KIDS
THE USUAL AND UNUSUAL PRODUCE
So what (besides the pupusa and rice pudding) did I choose?
- three garden stakes for my herb garden
- a jar of Peter Rabbit seasonsed salt from Saltlickers in Nevada, IA
- Red Rambo Radish microgreens
- a jar of My Thai mustard from Denison Mustard Company in Dow City, IA
I have had minimal exposure to microgreens but these were so gorgeous I asked the proprietor to tell me about them. After we talked about how to cut them and serve them, he said “Feel free to try one!” So I pinched off one stem and tried it. Then I tried another variety. And then I paid him.
The garden stakes are in place amongst my herbs. I plan to try coating chicken breasts with the thai mustard and olive oil for grilling this week. The spinach in my garden is ready for the first picking and these microgreens, some of the seasoned salt and a little lemon and olive oil will make an awesome salad.
I think that will be enough to keep me entertained … at least until next Saturday!
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