Good Morning everyone! Today is a gorgeous Saturday. Here's hoping your neck of the woods is as nice as it is here in the greater Des Moines area. Saturdays in Des Moines mean one very important thing to the locals - the downtown farmer's market. Since Maggie and I moved here, we've been hearing all sorts of people raving about the farmer's market downtown. The weekly Saturday event was a highlight to everyone you talked to. "Get there early" "Bring bags" "Be sure to check out this vendor!" everyone seemed to have some advice your an experience to share from their trip downtown. So, Maggie and I decided that it was time for us to head downtown and see what all the buzz was about.
In a word
The farmer's market in downtown Des Moines isn't just a farmer's market - it's an event! It spans two city blocks running east to west - but each block expands north and south (a block apiece) as well. In other words, it's large. Vendors range from a large amount of fresh fruits and veggies (all grown in Iowa) to flower vendors, vendors that sell spices (rosemary, basil, thyme and mint are in season right now). There are also vendors selling Iowa wines, fresh cheese, fresh cuts of meat (beef and duck were all we could find today - chicken was already sold out!) essentially, if it is in season - it's at the market.
Maggie and I came prepared. The night before we picked out our recipes for next week and made a list of things to look for. Some things (Apples, grapes, lemons) were not yet in season - however, others (yukon gold potatoes, strawberries, pearl onions) were in season and plentiful. We also managed to snag some things that were not on the list - fresh mozzarella cheese, homemade honey roasted peanut butter and blackberry jam.
The most surprising part (for us) was the cost! We were expecting fresh fruits and veggies to come at a premium (something we were prepared to pay for) however, I managed to snag 2 Lbs of yukon gold potatoes for $2 ($2!) and a basket of fresh strawberries for $5. Maggie picked up the pearl onions (2 lbs worth) for $2. All in all, we found everything for a very reasonable price. Here's a recap of what we grabbed and the prices:
2 Lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes $2
2 Lbs Pearl Onions $2
Large Basket Strawberries $5
Large Tub Honey Roasted Peanut Butter $5
Blackberry Jam $5
Fresh Mozzarella $5
All in all, we spent an hour and a half enjoying every minute of the farmer's market - and $24 later, we returned to the car with armfuls of fresh, delicious ingredients.
But we weren't done there. Just a block down from where we parked, Maggie spotted a kitchen supply store. Naturally, we had to stop by and check everything out.
Just so you all know, we have a new favorite store!
Kitchen Collage in downtown Des Moines is fantastic! They carry just about everything you could ever want for your kitchen. For about a week now, I've been looking for a certain brand of kitchen knives. According to the folks at America's Test Kitchen, the best brand of kitchen knives for you buck are the Victornox knives from Switzerland. Sadly, none of our usual Des Moines area kitchen stores carried this brand - until we stopped by Kitchen Collage.
I found my 8 inch Victornox chef's knife just sitting on the rack. I was elated. I found it! Happy birthday to me! I also snagged a round (very heavy) meat tenderizer. Both of these gadgets will be put to use this week in my recipes. Maggie had been looking for some medium sized ramekins for a while as well (she has her heart set on a soufflé).
All in all, our Saturday outing in downtown Des Moines was very productive. We are planning a return trip in a couple of weeks!
That's all we have for you today, Maggie is planning on a special breakfast recipe for tomorrow morning, so be sure to stop by to see what she's cooking. Until tomorrow,