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The Personality of the Winter Market - I Will Miss You!

As I parked my car for the last Winter Market of the season, there were a few pangs of “meh.” The Market for us is such a family affair. Sometimes it’s a mad dash just to be sure we hit every vendor before we head out to the next sporting event or we plot our course to be sure we stop for treats and eats but today was a rare occasion because I was kid-free and could actually stop, sample and chat with some of familiar faces as well as some newbies. The vibe was so warm and inviting, I ended up staying for hours and I loved every single minute of it!

Winter Market All-Stars

When you think about what these vendors do for us each week — the early morning set-ups, driving from miles away to be here in Downtown Des Moines (DSM), the prep and care of their products, engaging the clients who graze versus those that actually purchase and then cleaning up, tearing down and another Market done. In my opinion, you’ve got to have passion, personality and a good sense of humor.

And the final day of the Winter Market (sigh) proved to have IT ALL! From the holiday decorations to the baked goods to the vendors in their ugly Christmas sweaters, The Market was in full of holiday cheer!  

So there are a few shout-outs and stock-ups that made this Market so fun!

AGRI-Cultured Foods

Thanks to AGRI-Cultured Foods I am now a Kombucha junkie – no joke, one sample and I was hooked. The cranberry tangerine turmeric kombucha is said to increase energy and performance by helping the mind and body adapt to stress. Perfect for the holiday season — fill up my growler please! 

 Kombucha

Saltlickers

The Saltlickers didn’t struggle with personality either! I mean, with a name like Saltlickers, you have to be fun!   Because we are going to be hunkering down soon enough with snow, I am always looking for new ideas for snacks to have around the house. Jennifer at Saltlickers had me try popcorn with the Iowa Nice Spice and I was hooked immediately. It was an awesome blend of sweet and salty and would be great for a movie night at home!  

 Saltlickers

Good Beards

Because I don’t have a beard and hopefully never get one, I wasn’t going to stop at Good Beards. However, their t-shirts at their table made me stop and laugh, so I thought I would check it out. Good thing I did, because I had no idea that the balms they make for beards are also great for dry skin. Dan, the owner of Good Beards, told me that their balm is obviously great for beards, but also men’s faces after shaving and anyone’s dry skin – including my legs after shaving! And the balms are all natural, so safe to use on kids! Sold! I grabbed a tin of the Peppermint Tea Tree balm and am looking forward to silky, not scaly legs this holiday season.

Good Beards BalmBeard season couple

The Des Moines Bacon & Meat Company

Although there are many vendors that I will miss over the winter, I thought I would quickly highlight a few more of my favorites. The first is The Des Moines Bacon & Meat Company. Thanks to the new freezer I bought, it is choked full with DSM’s Applewood Bacon. You may remember the bacon popcorn recipe, so enough said. If you haven’t tried this deliciousness, put it on your must-do list.

Des Moines Bacon & Meat Company 

Big Daddy's BBQ

Next, Big Daddy’s BBQ because they have every sauce for all my crockpot cooking! And, who else makes you sign a waiver to try one of their super-hot sauces???  

Big Daddy's BBQ 

Lastly, I do love a good bottle of wine so I will miss Jasper Winery (even though I can drive to them here in Downtown DSM, if need be)! I bought my wine and tried the recipe below and it is the perfect warm-hug ending to the day.   

Jasper Winery recipe 

Finally, one of my favorite things about The Market is the music and the final Winter Market did not disappoint. From the DSM Dueling Fiddles to a 15-year old with a guitar named Maninoa, I could have listened all day, but alas it was time to leave. Farewell Des Moines Farmers’ Market! See you in May!

The DSM Dueling Fiddles

From May to October, find your handful of happiness at the Downtown Farmers’ Market featuring nearly 300 family farmers, bakers, artists and crafters from around the state. To learn more, click here. Visiting Downtown DSM is easy with plentiful  street and ramp parking options.