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Farmers’ Market brings unique goods to Ames

The+Ames+Farmers+Market+remained+busy+through+rain+on+July+1.
Sarah Currier
The Ames Farmers’ Market remained busy through rain on July 1.

The morning of the first of July was overcast and rainy, but Ames’ Main Street was bustling with visitors. They are there for one thing: the Ames Farmers’ Market.

Visitors to the Ames Farmers’ Market may be able to find farmed goods that they would not find on the shelves of their local grocery store. 

“We didn’t want to bring the same thing to market that everyone else was bringing,” said Aaron Johnson, the owner of Joygrow. 

Joygrow is a Cambridge-based business that grows and sells a variety of mushrooms.

“Everyone’s very curious,” said Melissa Johnson, Aaron Johnson’s wife. “[It’s] something new and exciting.”

For visitors with a sweet tooth, the Ames Farmers’ Market has plenty to offer. The sound of a tractor engine and a sign advertising “old-fashioned ice cream” drew a small crowd to the V&B Farms tent.

“We’ve been making ice cream for years and years and years,” said Brian Bahr, who runs the company with his wife, Vicky Bahr. 

After designing an ice cream machine powered by a 1928 John Deere Model E engine, the Bahrs spent about two years developing the vanilla base they use in their ice cream.

“When we made [the machine], we knew it would bring people in, but we really wanted to bring the people back,” Brian Bahr said.

V&B Farms sells three flavors of ice cream: vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate malt.

Huey’s Mini Donuts is owned by Riley Huhn. His mother, Marce Huhn, is “the helper and promoter.” The Huhn family tradition of stopping by J.R.’s Mini Donuts stand at the Iowa State Fair helped inspire Riley Huhn to create Huey’s Mini Donuts.

“[He] wanted to make other little kids happy,” Marce Huhn said. 

According to Marce Huhn, Huey’s Mini Donuts is “sticking to [their] tried and true [recipe]” by selling mini donuts coated in cinnamon sugar.

“We think we’re the best mini donuts around,” Marce Huhn said. 

In addition to food vendors, artisans also line the street.

Lori Kuench is one of these artisans and owns LK’s Custom Creations, a handcrafted jewelry company that sells clay earrings. After Kuench’s family gave her a Cricut cutting machine for her birthday, she started to make earrings out of faux leather. She later switched to clay because it was “much more fun and versatile.”

“All you have to do is send me a picture of a shirt, and I’ll match it [with earrings],” Kuench said.

Salt+Honey is a joint-owned arts business started by two friends, Courtney Kooley and Emma Elsberry. Kooley sells silk canvas paintings, and Elsberry sells her crochet creations.

“[The company] started because we both have a hobby that we would love to sell,” Kooley said. 

Both women said they are grateful for their artistic passions because they work jobs that don’t normally allow them to be creative.

Most vendors seem to agree that the Ames Farmers’ Market is a good place to be, regardless of what they are selling. Andrew Friend, a fourth-generation flower farmer, has been attending the Ames Farmers’ for nine years. Friend owns and operates Friend’s Flowers, where they sell flowers in addition to flower-themed cards and stickers that his wife, Naomi, designs.

“[This is] the best market in Central Iowa,” Friend said. “I genuinely believe that.”

Alternatively, it is Sydney Friest’s first year attending the Ames Farmers’ Market. She owns Friest Designs, an Ames-based business that sells custom signs, stickers, stationery and home decor.

“I’ve really enjoyed the market. The people in Ames are really good at coming out,” Friest said. “I [also] get to see all sorts of fun dogs.”

The Ames Farmers’ Market is scheduled every Saturday through Oct. 14, with summer hours from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and October hours from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

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