Court Avenue District may not look ready for the Downtown Farmers’ Market, but opening day is Saturday. The snow should be gone, but you’ll still want to bundle up.
More than 150 vendors will be on hand selling a variety of produce and products. One trend you’ll notice at the market this year is more young farmers.
Jordan Clasen was busy tilling the land and planting potatoes earlier this week. He rents land not far from downtown. He says, “It’s in the heart of Johnston. Right here in between Pioneer and John Deere and all the big guys, but we’re just a little guy tucked here in the corner.”
Clasen started renting 12 acres off Northwest 62nd Avenue a few years ago. This April, he and his buddy Thomas Burkhead decided to make a living off the land. Burkhead says, “This year we finally decided to quit our jobs and make it full time.”
The farm is called Grade A Gardens. They’ll make their money through CSA shares and by selling their produce at the 26 Downtown Farmers’ Markets this season. Clasen says, “Kale, broccoli, potato, sweet potatoes, winter squash, squash, lots of stuff, lots of lettuces you can see in our little high tunnel here.”
You’ll find more than just produce at the Downtown Farmers’ Market. There’s also meat, cheese, eggs, wine. And, organizers have a challenge for you this year. Director Kelly Foss says, “Create an entire meal for your family using everything comprised of what you’ve purchased at the farmers’ market.”
Foss says it’s a great way to support local farms like Grade A Gardens. Clasen says, “It’s definitely a lot of work. We’ve pulled 15 hour days. But, this is my office. I get to work outside every day.”
You’ll have an extra hour to shop opening day. The market will be open from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Saturday. Then, the market will switch to normal hours 7 a.m. to noon. The market will open an hour later in October. Those hours will be 8 a.m. to noon.