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Iowa City Farmer's Market ready kicks off

BY BILL COONEY | MAY 01, 2015 5:00 AM

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More than 130 vendors will set up shop early Saturday morning across the street from City Hall for the 44th year of the Iowa City Farmers’ Market.

The mission of the Farmers’ Market is to provide a venue for local farmers, crafters, and artisans to come together and provide a variety of fresh, local products directly to the consumer.

This year’s market will feature many new vendors, including more prepared food and more breakfast options.

“We’re really excited about all of the new vendors that will be joining us this year,” Farmers’ Market Director Cassidy Bell said. “There’s more prepared food options then ever before, and I think it will be a big draw for people.”

A new feature, owned and operated by Iowa City chef Chris Grebner, features a wood fire oven built onto a vintage Dodge pickup truck named Provender.

While another vendor in attendance will be Betty’s Fresh Produce, owner Betty Lopapa said the colder spring has made getting ready tough.

“Because it got cold so recently, we won’t have that much fresh produce right now,” Lopapa said. “I’ll be selling herbs and tomato plants we were able to grow in the greenhouse, so we’ll still have something available.”

Lopapa said she looks forward to the Famers’ Market every year because of the familiar faces.

“I love walking around and seeing what everyone has for sale,” she said. “I’ve gotten to know a lot of the vendors, and it’s nice to see them again.”

Freshly squeezed juice from Get Fresh will also be for sale, manager Wendy Zimmermann said.

“We feature unique, raw juices, and we’re one of the only companies in eastern Iowa to do that,” Zimmerman said. “We’ll have smoothies, iced tea, fresh-squeezed lemonade and orange juice, and once it gets hotter, we’ll start selling popsicles.”

Zimmerman said all of the ingredients used are locally sourced when possible.

“Obviously, it’s not always possible to buy local; for example, apples aren’t in season right now, so we have to get those from a distributor,” She said. “But we love supporting local food producers, so we buy local whenever possible.”

Saturday mornings will not be the only opportunity to score some local greens this summer. There will also be vendors in the Chauncey Swann parking ramp Wednesdays from 5 to 7 p.m. and Tuesdays in Mercer Park from 3 to 6 p.m.

“This gives people that cant make it on Saturday a chance to get to [the Farmers’ Market], even though there will be fewer vendors then on the weekend,” Bell said. “I think anyone who comes out is going to have a good time, there’s too much good food and cool stuff to check out not to.”


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