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What I Love About the Winter Farmers' Market in Downtown DSM

Winter Market Fun in Des Moines

December 11, 2019

The piercing sound of my iPhone alarm goes off a few minutes after 4 a.m. It feels like I’m the only person awake in the world, but instead of rolling over, I sit up quickly in anticipation. It’s time to pack up Handcrafted FCD’s mobile booth and products and get downtown. The car had been packed the night before with all our displays, piece by piece — we’ve got this down to a science. After several trips loading our handmade products, we took one last look around, snatched up our warm travel mugs and set them out to fill the next morning with apple cider and hot chocolate.

A Worthwhile Visit

Going to the Winter Farmers’ Market is an exciting journey for me, albeit a whirlwind to assemble our pop-up shop before the workers, shoppers and Greater Des Moines (DSM) wanderers begin to trickle down, shopping on their lunch breaks or in between meetings. This is my seventh year as a vendor at the Winter Farmers’ Market — each one unique in its own manner, but always the same in spirit: buzzing with excitement, tangible remnants of the summer Market creating momentum that spills over into the nearing holiday season.

I’ve found a sense of familiarity at the Winter’s Farmers’ Market connecting with regular market patrons and fellow business owners each hoping for the same thing: a new story, gift or memento to bring along with them as they are carried through the holiday season. My favorite booths include Shell T Pots, Papercake Creations, Juan O’Sullivan’s salsa and fresh vegetables from Shutts Garden Center. When my daughter is helping me, we make a point to grab honey sticks and maybe a sweet treat from Soder Apiaries. I love finding creative places within my display for her to ensure she has a little ‘space’ to hang while at The Market. Sometimes it’s behind my display wall, other times it’s under a table. There’s always a place for her to retreat and color, craft and snack while hanging out with mom at The Market.

Continuing to Grow

A sense of pride rushes over me, without fail, at every single Market. My heart swells with accomplishment and gratitude as my entrepreneurial journey unfolds. Each mini-clutch, backpack or other item I’ve hand sewn is a testament to following my passion and continuing on a family tradition. My grandmother taught me to sew as a child, and that’s something that laid the foundation for my career later on — from Disney to Iowa State University. Starting Handcrafted FCD 10 years ago was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It’s allowed me to connect with the grounded and welcoming citizens in DSM, as well as given me the opportunity to visit a market packed with other amazing small business owners. If you have a chance to visit the Downtown DSM Winter Farmers’ Market this year (8 a.m. – 2 p.m. December 13 and 14) — don’t let it pass you by! Set your alarms and reach for that travel coffee mug because it’s a place to get lost in. Whether it’s in anticipation for the holiday season or whether you’re seeking a treasure you didn’t know you needed, the Winter Farmers’ Market is the place to find cheer, excitement and perhaps a new DSM friend. 

Find a complete list of Winter Farmers’ Market vendors here.

In November and December, experience local artists, live music and entertainment at the Winter Farmers’ Market, now taking place at Hy-Vee Hall at the Iowa Events Center.