Local farmers markets enter national competition to determine who’s got the goods

Ineichen’s Tomatoes at the Iowa City Farmers Market, Wednesday, May 9, 2018. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

The Iowa City Famers Market and other local farmers markets are competing this year in the Farmers Market Celebration, an annual competition organized by American Farmland Trust to determine the country’s most popular farmers markets.

“We have participated in the past, when the format was different,” Tammy Neumann, the city’s coordinator for the market, told Little Village.

The Iowa City Farmers Market won first place in the state in its size category for three years running, from 2010 to 2012, under the old format. Now, winners are selected at the regional level — Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, Southwest and Pacific — and the national level. All markets in each region are in the same category, regardless of size.

Farmers market fans can go to American Farmland Trust’s site and vote for their favorite market. The winners of the popular vote will receive a cash prize — $2,500 for first place, $1,500 for second and $1,000 for third — as well as bragging rights.

In addition to the Iowa City Farmers Market, the Coralville Farmers Market, the North Liberty Farmers Market, the Cedar Rapids Downtown Farmers Market and the Marion Farmers Market are also listed in the competition.

Voting in American Farmland Trust’s competition runs through Sept. 19.

Closer to home, you can also vote for any of these farmers markets in one or more categories in Little Village’s 2021 Best of the CRANDIC competition. All of the categories allow you to write-in your favorite, so while there isn’t specifically a best farmers market category, you could choose your favorite market as “Best Pandemic Mood Booster,” “Best Place for a Cheap Date” or “Best Place to People Watch.” There is also a category for “Best Farmers Market Vendor.”

Voting in all the categories of the 2021 Best of the CRANDIC closes on Sept. 30.