The Dubuque Farmers’ Market first opened in 1858 and is the oldest in Iowa (after all, Dubuque is #WhereIowaStarted)! The ‘Summer’ Market is open every Saturday from the beginning of May to the end of October between 7am – 12pm. Currently the Market is located mainly on Iowa Street and spreads out down 11th, 12th and 13th Street. Since it began, it has always been in or around the Dubuque City Hall!
The Farmers’ Market celebrates all things local. All the vendors come from within a 100 mile radius of Dubuque and their produce/products are either grown or made at their farm or in their home. When it began, it was a typical Farmer’s Market that sold mainly fruit and veg but it has since welcomed arts and crafts and local musicians entertain visitors while they shop!
The Market also supports local low income families by creating the ‘Double Up Food Bucks’ incentive. Iowa ranked 50th out of 50 States when it came to fresh fruit and veg consumption which is crazy considering just how much of Iowa is dedicated to farmland (over 33 million acres)! People on the SNAP programme can use their food stamps at certain stalls. For every $1 spent, the market matches it up to $10. Essentially they can spend $10 but get $20 worth of fruit and veg.
Here are some of my favourite finds!
I love lemonade (lemon juice for UK readers…lemonade in the UK is carbonated, more like 7up or Sprite!) so when I came across a stall selling lavender lemonade, I had to try it because I was so intrigued by what it would taste like! Strange, but addictive! The vendors are definitely proud of their local connection, the girl pouring my drink pointed at another lady on the stall and said “the lavender comes from Emily’s garden!”.
Breakfast Donut Sandwich
There’s a section of 12th St that acts as a mini food court. I struggled to decide what I wanted for breakfast because there were so many amazing sounding options! In the end I opted for a breakfast donut sandwich from ‘Coates Street Homestead‘! It’s exactly what it says on the tin…a donut sliced in half, with egg and bacon in the middle! It was a mess to eat but very tasty! There were FOUR choices of donut to act as the sandwich as well (I went for sugared)!
Buy a GIANT Kohlrabi
I had never actually heard/seen/eaten a Kohlrabi before I met my other half. ‘Gerald & Mardelle Rojemann‘ sell GIANT kohlrabis for $2. I always assumed that Farmers’ Markets would be expensive but the amount of vegetable that I got for $2 is incredible! It was bigger than my head and weighed about the same as a baby elephant. Kohlrabi has the consistency of a radish but tastes like raw cabbage (it is a member of the cabbage family). Some people sprinkle the raw slices with salt, I thought it was good enough without the salt!
Sample Local Maple Syrup!
I was surprised by how many stalls there were selling honey and maple syrup! I stopped by ‘Great River Maple‘, a business located 50 miles north of Dubuque that tap over 6000 maple trees to make their syrup! The lady running the stall was very knowledgable and offered free samples of all of their products, explaining all the differences in the flavours. The maple cream is AMAZING.
Pig Out on Pies!
There are lots of local bakeries selling anything from cakes to homemade pies! ‘Klein’s Market Bakery‘ were selling various flavours of kolaches, 3 for $2! These ones had raspberry jam in the centre!
Iowa Themed Popcorn
‘Freddies Popcorn Company‘ have a physical shop location in Dubuque, but on Saturday mornings they have a pop up spot at the Farmers’ Market! They sell a whole range of popcorn flavours, but the one that caught my eye was the ‘Iowa Spirit’, black and yellow popcorn resembling the Iowa Hawkeye colours!
There is a huge range of crafts on sale at the Dubuque Farmers’ Market! I really liked ‘Breitbach Garden Ceramics‘, they had a lot of ‘Farmers’ Market’ and Dubuque themed ceramics and awesome coffee cups that say ‘Wanderlust’ on them ($25)! ‘Linda Cathman Crafts‘ sold these cute corn people!
To find out more about the Dubuque Farmers’ Market, visit: http://dubuquefarmersmarket.org