Farmers markets bring students healthy food


Greg Zwiers/Iowa State Daily

A customer buys kale and a garden blend salad from one of the vendors at the Ames Main Street Farmers Market in June 2014.

Kennedy Mason

Ever curious about where to get fresh produce for a college friendly price? Check out the Ames farmers market to find healthy fruits, vegetables and an experience that keeps you returning.

“It’s a good investment to sell [at the market] and nice to see all the student participation,” said Lyle Evans, founder of Evans Produce Farms, Inc.

Many students at Iowa State take part in the farmers markets around Ames, both as sellers and as buyers.

“It’s something to do, too, and a great way to get out and experience something new,” said Trisha Nielsen, senior in global resource systems and intern at Red Granite Farm.

Nielsen stresses the importance of taking advantage of having fresh produce from local farmers.

“Locally grown foods are important because it’s good to know your farmer and where your food is from,” Nielsen said. “You aren’t getting things shipped from California.”

Many loyal farmers market customers continue to return for two things: freshness and reliability.

“Much of my produce was picked yesterday or today, which makes for a more fresh and wholesome product,” Evans said. “Students can get vegetables here just like they did at home in their own gardens.”

A trip to the farmers market can be more educational than a trip to the grocery store.

“It’s also a good learning experience,” Nielsen said. “Anyone can learn about different vegetables, like the orange seedless watermelon we have.”

For both buyers and sellers, the farmers market is a good place to meet and interact with other people and see the kinds of food people with different ethnicities use.

“The market brings people of different ages and ethnic backgrounds, and we raise a lot of different kinds of crops, so it’s a good place to sell my produce,” Evans said.

Whether one is looking to buy fresh products or just spend time outside, the farmers market is a good place to go to interact with other members of the Ames community. 

“[The farmers market] is just a nice place to go,” Nielsen said. “It makes it a closer and tighter knit community.”

If you are looking for fresh fruits or baked goods on a Wednesday afternoon, stop by the North Grand Mall Farmers Market from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. to satisfy your hunger.

If you are looking for some live music along with fresh perennials, vegetables and all around fun on a Saturday morning, stop by Main Street from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to see what all the Ames farmers markets have to offer.