MUSCATINE, Iowa–As the very earliest garden vegetables and ornamental plants start sprouting in Muscatine County and the surrounding area, the vendors of the Muscatine Area Farmers Market have started setting up shop. Each Saturday morning from 7:30 through 11:30 a.m., sellers of all sorts will bring their produce and other goods to the corner of Cedar and Third Streets, Muscatine, to the delight of Muscatine Area Shoppers.
On a typical Saturday morning, market manager Jennifer DeFosse shared that around 30 different vendors gather downtown, offering a wide selection of products ranging from fresh produce, to baked goods, to hand crafted items. “The farmers market remains the single best place to buy produce,” asserted DeFosse. “The selection exceeds anything you’ll find in a grocery store, particularly with regard to heirloom varieties. The fruits and vegetables you buy here have been ripened on the vine and are picked just hours before you’re purchasing it, so there’s no competition in terms of freshness. We have some of the most talented bakers in the area, as well as skilled crafters and artisans.”
Along with many vendors who have come to the market for years on end, several new faces joined the market last year that DeFosse thinks customers will welcome back. The Merrill Soap Company will return for a second year to sell their popular Muscatine themed bars of soap, made right in the city of Muscatine. Arley’s food truck, which specializes in Mexican food, including their acclaimed burritos and mangonada, will also continue coming to the market as well.
Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Muscatine Area Farmers Market will continue to follow the public health measures they put in place last year. These include asking vendors and customers to wear masks and practice social distancing and having vendors offer hand sanitizer at each of their booths. At this time, the market does not plan to hold special events, such as musical performances and kids activities, to keep crowd sizes smaller and promote social distancing. As more people receive COVID-19 vaccines and public health guidance changes, DeFosse hopes that the market will once again have the opportunity to host special events.
The Muscatine Area Farmers Market will continue to operate each Saturday, rain or shine, through the end of October. Whether you need fresh greens for a recipe, would like to take home some sweet treats, or marvel at the artistry of Muscatine’s local crafters, DeFosse encourages you to come out and support the market. “In my opinion, there’s no better place to spend a Saturday morning!” she shared.