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Why Grade A Gardens Remains a Downtown Farmers' Market Vendor Through the Winter Market

Winter Market Vendor Story 2019

December 12, 2019

Hello! My name is Jordan Clasen and together with my wife, Whitney, we operate Grade A Gardens. I have been a vendor at the Downtown Farmers' Market in Downtown Des Moines (DSM) for the past 10 seasons! We enjoy being a part of The Market not only because of our great customer base, but because of all the unique vendors The Market brings. From birdhouses to beard balm, The Market has a wide variety of products and personalities.   

How Grade A Gardens Got Its Start in Garlic

Grade A Gardens is a Certified Organic vegetable farm started in 2009. We focus on seasonal produce grown without chemicals. I started the farm after running the produce department at Gateway Market and Café for 5 years. While at Gateway I learned the importance of local produce and felt like there needed to be more farmers in DSM. An early mentor of mine, Larry Cleverley, got me growing garlic and I fell in love with the crop right in the beginning. Garlic is still a strong part of our business. We offer many different varieties and even sell garlic braids! What is a garlic braid you ask? Garlic has been grown for well over 5,000 years and in ancient Greece braided garlic was used as a ward to protect babies and children against evil. Although, today braids are seen by many as a decorative kitchen item. Years ago, they were used as food, medicine and spiritually by many different ancient cultures. Whether you're looking to keep away vampires, or add a little rustic flare to your kitchen, stop by and see us this weekend to pick up a beautiful handmade garlic braid!

Developing Creativity at The Market

Selling at the Downtown Farmers' Market allows us to be creative. We enjoy displaying produce in eye-catching ways. Many of our early customers know that I can usually be found adding that last bunch of carrots and snapping a photo right before the bell rings. Our loyal customer base is what motivates us to be at The Market week after week. Rain or shine, we try our hardest to bring as much produce down as possible. We put a lot of care and attention to detail into the food we bring down. Selling at the Winter Market in November and December allows us to see our friends a few more times all the way to the end of the year. Crops like sweet potatoes, winter squash, carrots, onions and garlic are nice to buy in bulk, too, because they store for months and can keep local food on your plates throughout the winter months! We will even have fresh lettuce from our heated greenhouse this weekend! 

As my family begins to grow, we look forward to growing healthy, nutritious food for DSM for many years to come. We are grateful for all of our customers support and we look forward to seeing you all this weekend.

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.