Passionate About Iowa City
and the Moms Who Live Here.

Iowa City Area Farmers’ Markets: Things to Know Before You Go

Now that spring has finally (finally!) arrived, our family is eagerly awaiting the openings of the Farmers’ Markets in the Iowa City area. We’re very lucky to live in an area that supports the local growers, artisans, and craftspeople who sell their wares at our local markets.

Over the years our family has had the chance to visit each local market. We’ve discovered that each one has its own vibe and approach to selling and shopping. Each market has different inventory, different events, and is held on different days and times. In addition, there are different “market adjacent” activities that make a trip to each special.

Iowa City Area Farmers' Markets: Things to Know Before You Go

Here are some things to know before you go to the local Farmers’ Markets:

Iowa City Farmers’ Market

This is the big one, folks. Operated by the Iowa City Parks and Rec Department, The Iowa City Farmers’ Market runs on Wednesdays and Saturdays and is located in the Chauncey Swan Ramp at 405 E. Washington Street. The Wednesday market runs from 5 to 7 p.m., beginning May 2nd and ending on Oct. 31st. The Saturday market runs from May 5th – October 27th from 7:30 a.m. to noon.

The Iowa City Farmers’ Market is a staple of our family’s spring and summer routine. Each Saturday we pack up our brood to visit the market for fantastic food and conversation.

Some things to know before you go:

  • The Saturday market is always packed. It’s not unusual for the crowds to be shoulder-to-shoulder at peak times (usually between 9-11 on Saturday mornings). The foot traffic in the ramp can also be very slooooooow as people are stopping at booths to browse and chat. Honestly, this can get frustrating if you are in a hurry. As such, if you need to get in and out quickly it’s best to show up right when the market starts. It can also make it difficult to navigate with strollers, and it can make it easy for little ones to get lost (trust me, it’s happened to our family more than once.) Since our preschooler tends to bolt, we carry him in a backpack to keep him safe.
  • When you visit the Farmers’ Market, be sure to go with an empty stomach. The food at the Iowa City Farmers’ Market is always amazing. There’s the usual bounty of fresh produce, as well as an impressive lineup of food trucks. In addition to the yummy food, there are several artisans and craftspeople selling beautiful and unique items. You can find anything from homemade candles to jewelry to clothes at the Iowa City Farmers’ Market.
  • The Iowa City Farmers’ Market has a unique payment system. Some vendors participate in the market’s token system (where you exchange money for a set of tokens.) It can be a bit complicated, especially if you’re not accustomed to the rules. You can read more about the market’s payment system here.
  • You’ll probably see someone you know. This is one of our favorite things about the Iowa City Farmers’ Market. It’s bustling with friends and neighbors, and it’s not unusual to pass an hour or two chatting with folks. In fact, our kids have gotten VERY frustrated with my husband and I for “standing around jabbering with other adults.” 😉

You can check out the Market’s special event calendar here.

Iowa City Farmers’ Market Schedule:

Wednesdays 5 – 7 p.m. (May 3 – Oct. 25)

 Saturdays 7:30 a.m. – Noon (May 6 – Oct 28)

Coralville Farmers’ Market

Some things to know before you go:

The Coralville Farmers’ Market holds a very special place in my heart, and it’s not just because I’m a Coralville city official. While the Iowa City Market is crowded and bustling, the Coralville Market has a much quieter, laid back vibe. The smaller scale and the open location make the Coralville Farmers’ Market a comfortable place to browse and chat.

  • The picturesque setting adds to the ambiance and convenience of the Coralville Farmer’s Market. The Coralville Market is located in the parking lot of lower ST Morrison Park. The market overlooks a lovely pond and is just steps away from the Coralville Aquatic Center and upper Morrison Park (where all the playground equipment is.) During the summer, hungry families who have just left the pool often visit the market. And since it’s located in the middle of a residential neighborhood, lots of folks walk to the market to pick up fresh ingredients for their dinner.
  • The selections can be hit or miss. While the small size makes for a lovely shopping experience, sometimes it means there isn’t much produce to choose from. On other nights, there’s an abundance of fresh sweet corn, delicious grilled food, and more. The good news is that since the market is relatively small, a quick pass through is all it takes to assess the situation.
  • The Kids’ Nights are awesome. Kids’ Nights at the Market feature music, activities, and more. Many families go for a late afternoon swim or play session at the park and then swing by Kids’ Night. It’s a perfect activity for a summer evening.

Coralville Farmers’ Market Schedule

May 7 – October 1, 2018

Mondays, 5 – 7 p.m. (rain or shine)

Coralville Community Aquatic Center Parking Lot
1513 7th St., Coralville

*Market is closed on May 28th, July 2nd, and on Labor Day.

You can view special Market events here.

North Liberty Farmers’ Market (Penn Landing Market)

At the time of this writing, the Penn Landing Market is undergoing some management changes. According to a Facebook post, the start of this year’s market will be delayed until late May.

Some things to know before  you go:

I have only visited the Penn Landing Market a couple of times. During my visits, it seemed as if there were more craft vendors than food vendors. Like the other area markets, the Penn Landing Market also features special events and musical acts. The location is convenient with plenty of parking and close proximity to other local businesses.

Penn Landing Market Schedule

Dates TBA

Sundays, 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Pacha Parkway
Near Penn St & Hwy 965
North Liberty, Iowa

Other area markets:

Solon and Swisher also have Farmers’ Markets. You can check out their info here and here. I’ve never visited these markets, but they look like fun places to connect with friends and neighbors.

What are your favorite Farmer’s Market tips?



, , , , , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply