Local farmers market provides many benefits for community members

Ashley Hunt

With the winter months behind us, students begin to look for ways to get out of their house, apartment or dorm to do something fun. Visiting the Ames Farmers’ Market is just one way to do so.

The Ames Farmers’ Market has both an indoor and outdoor market for community members to enjoy. The indoor market, located on Main Street, runs year-round from 3 to 6 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. Beginning on May 5, the outdoor market will run each Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. until Oct. 27.

Norine Black, owner of Black’s Heritage Farm, said the market holds many benefits to those who choose to shop there.

“Everything is either homemade or homegrown. Even the yarn we sell is homemade,” Black said.

Black said this makes the Ames Farmers’ Market unique.

Everything at the farmers market is local and people shopping there know they are supporting local businesses in Ames.

“Your money is spent here and is going here, not to China or some random place,” Black said.

Black said shopping at the Ames Farmers’ Market feels like a step back in time.

“This is how things used to be: People didn’t buy things off a truck, they bought from locals,” Black said. “I think it’s kind of fun to look at it that way.”

Although shopping at the market comes with many benefits, there are difficulties. Demand of goods tends to be the hardest part, Black said.

“Sometimes we run out of things,” she said. “The grocery store has everything 24/7, and we just get what people bring. We don’t have that luxury here.”

Besides the numerous benefits from shopping locally at the market, it is a creative way to spend your time and to have fun.

The Ames Farmers’ Market also has special days, some of which coincide with popular holidays. One crowd favorite is member discount day. This is used as a tool to recruit new members.

To become a member, one must pay a fee of $25. Then, during the designated days, many items featured at the market are discounted for members.

Once a year, the market puts on a festival. People can come to the market and enjoy a bounty of foods and try a lot of free samples of a wide range of products.

Holidays are fun times to visit the farmers market. Easter marks a popular day for the Main Street event. “There’s an Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt that brings people out,” Black said. “You go store to store and there is also a prize with a $100 value offered.”

Another popular day for the market during the spring is around Mother’s Day. “On Mother’s Day, we hand out little plants for free,” Black said.

Even if you don’t get out and enjoy the benefits from the farmers market firsthand, you might be enjoying them without even knowing it. Signs reading “Buy Local, Buy Fresh,” can be seen lining the ISU Dining centers. Fresh fruit and produce in the dining centers are bought locally through the Ames Farmer’s Market. 

Whether attending the indoor or outdoor market, or even just eating locally bought produce at the dining center, there is something for everyone to enjoy. The warmer weather brings many more options for fruit and produce. Off season, in the indoor market, one can find plenty of crafts, eggs and honey for sale. Also for sale at both markets are jewelry, soaps, cheeses, frozen meats and much more.

Take advantage of the warmer weather, visit the Ames Farmers’ Market and “Buy Local, Buy Fresh.”