It’s springtime in Iowa City. The asparagus are up, and the Iowa City Farmers Market is back! I strapped my toddler on my back on the first Saturday at Chauncey Swan, and headed off to see what was new this year. Right at the gate was Serena James, of Delish Dips. James has a wide selection of dips to compliment all of your market veggies, as well as any crackers or chips you might have. I sampled a few, and can tell you, they are in fact delish! She is very excited to be at the market this year, and is looking forward to sharing her dips with Iowa City.
Going further into the market, I was enthusiastically greeted by the good folks at Great River Maple. Great River Maple is not exactly new to the Iowa City area, as their products are currently carried at New Pioneer Co-op; however, they are new to the market. I sampled the maple cream, and this product alone is worth a trip to the market. It’s spreadable syrup, people. Spreadable. Syrup. It’s so good.
If you’re looking for fresh pasta at home, and want gourmet quality, you’ll be pleased to know that Baroncini has a booth this year. Gianluca Baroncini was nearly sold out of pasta at 9 a.m., so plan to come early if you need a fresh pasta fix.
La Reyna has a food truck this year, and I saw a large crowd gathered there. I love their grab and go tamales, so this will be a much welcomed addition. Banh Mi Amore, owned by Greg Millsap of Davenport, is also new on the market schedule. I’m all for a bánh mì food truck! Pizza vendor Onion Grove of Clarence, Iowa will be on hand to satisfy your artisan pizza needs.
The big news at the market this year, though, will be the inclusion of local favorite, Backpocket Brewery. I have sampled Backpocket brews a number of times. They haven’t been to the market yet, but I’m sure they will be welcomed with open arms. They are a part-time vendor; expect to see them soon. When there, they will be offering samples, with bottles and growlers available for purchase.
This market season looks fantastic, and I hope you can make it several times this summer.
Area Farmers Markets
Guthridge Park lot
Sundays through Oct. 23, 11 a.m.–2 p.m.
Saturdays through Sep. 24, 8–11:30 a.m.
Downtown Cedar Rapids
1st and 3rd Saturdays, June 4–Sep. 17, 7:30 a.m.–noon
Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays through Oct., 4-6 p.m.
Ely Community Center
Tuesdays through Sep., 4–6:30 p.m.
Saturdays through Sep., 8 a.m.–noon
First Street Community Center
Thursdays through Oct. 27, 4–6 p.m.
Chauncey Swan Ramp
Wednesdays through Oct. 26, 5–7 p.m.
Saturdays through Oct. 29, 7:30 a.m.–noon
Tuesdays through Aug. 29, 3–6 p.m.
University Club Parking Lot
First Tuesdays through Oct. 4, 4-7 p.m.
Coralville Community Aquatic Center
Mondays through Oct. 3, 5-7 p.m.
Sundays through Oct. 30, 11 a.m.–2 p.m.
This article was originally published in Little Village issue 199.