It was a pretty sad scene at the farmers market, in Cedar Rapids, at Noelridge Park, Wednesday afternoon. When I first heard about this I just assumed it was because of the outrageous heat wave Iowans have been going through. Only two vendors showed up and fewer than ten customers in the first hour according to KCRG. Through further investigation, I've found out there's a little more two it than just warm temperatures.

Unsplash - Shelley Pauls
Unsplash - Shelley Pauls

Getting vendors has been an issue for farmers markets throughout Iowa. This has led to scaling way back on the number of days farmer's markets have been open during the week. KCRG reports the Mount Vernon market will not return in 2022 and the Iowa City market will only be held on Saturdays. The Noelridge market is now scheduled for only Wednesdays.

Being still a relatively new Iowan, I honestly don't know much about farmers markets, other than you can buy fruits and vegetables. I didn't grow up going to many of them as a kid in Minneapolis and in Winona, Minnesota (where I just moved from) they would have a local farmer's market on Saturday mornings, which I was never up early enough to attend. I was an afternoon radio host back then...

There are quite a few people that are pretty bummed about the decline in farmers markets this year, which I've discovered mostly on social media. Marty Condon spoke to KCRG and she was heartbroken to learn the Mount Vernon market wouldn't be around this year. She was looking to get some veggies at the Noelridge Park location and couldn't find them.

“It was a religion. I would go to all the farmer's markets. I don’t know if it’s just too hot to bring all those fresh things out today, or whether people just aren’t doing it. I don’t know.”

Part of the reason for the decline in the 2022 farmers market scene might be because vendors have opened their own shops and started selling direct. Rick Elliot helps put on the market in Mount Vernon and he told KCRG "there were not enough vendors to make it happen."

If you're looking to get your farmers market fix, never fear. Kerri Mac compiled this list, of a ton of Eastern Iowa farmer's markets for you to still enjoy. While there are many available options for you, it's still a bummer to see what's happened with Mount Vernon market, Iowa City's market, and Noelridge Park market. I don't want to speak for everyone but I know there would be a lot of bummed Iowans if there continues to be a decline in farmer's markets around the state.

The Recreation Superintendent, Brad Barker, confirmed with KCRG that decreasing attendance at farmer's markets has been happening since before the pandemic.

Farmers Markets in the Cedar Valley & NE Iowa - List

There's a Farmers Market in Waterloo, Cedar Falls or in the surrounding area almost every day of the week! Check 'em out and support your friends and neighbors. Buy Fresh - Buy Local

Small Town Iowa: Road Trip to Pella - Photos

When you mention Pella, most people say "they have all the tulips right?" Where that would be correct, there is so much more to this town. Pella is also home to two manufacturing companies, a college, the largest working windmill in the U.S. and it's the boyhood home of the legendary Wyatt Earp. Now, let's go on a virtual tour of this excellent example of picturesque small-town Iowa.


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