I really hope this weather clears so I can make it to one of my favorite winter farmers markets this Saturday.
Before Thanksgiving, I stocked up on local produce at Mount Vernon’s winter market and found everything I needed for several dishes, including sweet potato curry. The curry turned out quite well for my first try, probably because it used so many fresh ingredients grown by some awesome Iowa farmers.
Besides local produce, the markets are the perfect place to shop for last-minute gifts. See a list of local markets in Eastern Iowa.
Ali Alldredge, co-manager of the Ely Farmers Market, is encouraging market-goers to let local craftspeople and bakers help with holiday gift ideas and baked goods this Saturday, Dec. 21.
Located in between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, Ely’s market will have doll clothes; knitted and crocheted items; holiday treats;
recipe cards; dog treats; jewelry; kolaches; jarred baking mixes; eggs; artisan breads; honey; cinnamon rolls; jam/jellies; handmade cards; hand sewn tote bags and more.
The market is inside the Ely Public Library from 9:00 a.m. until noon. Bonus: the library’s beginning knitting/crafting group will follow at 12:30 p.m. and all are welcome.
Mount Vernon’s market also is scheduled for this Saturday, from 10 a.m. to noon, before taking off the day on Dec. 28.
Besides her entertaining version of “Jingle Bells,” co-manager Danielle Martin notes in the farmers market newsletter that squash, carrots, apples, potatoes, beets, radishes, garlic, turnips, cabbage and onions will be available.
And even if I can’t make the Czech Christmas bread like my mom makes, I might go for some of the black walnuts that will be for sale, as well as shag-bark hickory nuts.
Also available in Mount Vernon will be: honey, eggs, pastured pork, beef & lamb,granola, jams and jellies, fresh artisan breads and fruit kolaches; donuts, pies, cookies, turnovers and brownies.
If you’re having trouble thinking of a unique gift idea, knitted hats and scarves, handcrafted jewelry and handmade rugs will be sold, too.
Indoor markets also will be open this Saturday in Dubuque, Iowa City and Davenport, as well as at the NewBo City Market in Cedar Rapids. Another Iowa City market is set for this Sunday, Dec. 22, at the Johnson County Fairgrounds, and the lovely Urbana market resumes on Jan. 11.