A Bite of Normalcy with the Downtown Farmers' Market
Normal. What does that even mean these days?
For me, I was reminded of the ‘normal days’ while attending opening day of the Des Moines Downtown Farmers’ Market Drive-Through Bite-Size Market presented by UnityPoint Health. While different from the typical Downtown Farmers’ Market experience, it still offered a few of my Market favorites. (And I’m not just talking about the amazing Market products.)
Driving through the Bite-Size Market was safe, simple and efficient. The vendors and staff were all required to wear masks, and yet everyone’s smiles were still evident. Customers and vendors all seemed genuinely happy. Perhaps they were happy to have access to some of their favorite products, or happy to see other people from a safe distance. Or maybe they were just happy to have somewhere to be on a sunny Saturday.
One-by-one, cars drove into the Bite-Size Market, allowing shoppers to view products as they drove by each spaced-out vendor’s tent, or to take the ‘fast lane’ and go to just their favorite vendors’ tents. As cars drove by, vendors stood beside their tents and waved at prospective customers, saying, “Thanks for being here.” Shoppers were given a map and listing of the vendors as they entered, in addition to a reusable Market shopping bag and hand sanitizer from UnityPoint. The whole process was slick!
I placed pre-orders with a handful of vendors prior to Saturday’s Drive-Through Market. While on site, I saw more products I thought my family would enjoy. It felt like a private-shopping Market experience. I had the opportunity to speak directly to each vendor about their products and point out which items I wanted to add to my to-go bag. Between the Online Marketplace and the Drive-Through, I learned about new products I had not seen before.
Most of the vendors preferred cash, but some took credit cards or Venmo. Good thing because I ended up purchasing quite a few extra items on site.
Seeing the vendors in-person reminded me of what we are all craving right now … a bite of normalcy. Every vendor was incredibly grateful for the opportunity to sell their products at the Bite-Size Market, and each vendor expressed their sincere gratitude for each purchase I made. It felt good — and normal — to see the farmers and vendors, look them in the eyes (from a distance) and express my appreciation to them for their work and products.
My Market Purchases
I drove away with bags full of sweet corn, radishes, green beans, tomatoes, potatoes, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, cherries, dips, salsa, pickles, bread, biscotti, nuts, honey lemonade, honey, popcorn and flowers. My Market purchases made for healthy lunches, dinners and snacks to fill the bellies of my family. The experience also filled me with greater appreciation for our local farmers and vendors.
The Downtown Farmers’ Market Drive-Through Market is a bite-size piece of normalcy I will now look forward to experiencing every Saturday through October. Hope to see you there — from a safe distance.
Downtown Des Moines (DSM) is a growing, vibrant community that offers the energy, sophistication, housing and attractions of a burgeoning city with a brilliant future. It’s also easy to visit with plentiful and affordable street and ramp parking options.