June 16, 2011
This week we dropped by the Drake Neighborhood Farmers Market. It's still pretty early in the season, so more of the vendors were selling other products - including some mouthwatering BBQ - but there were a few people selling pretty substantial amounts of produce. We didn't remember our camera, so we don't have any pictures of the market to share, but we did take some pictures of our three purchases: a carton of strawberries, a loaf of bread and a whole, frozen chicken.
The vendor for the chicken was Anna's Place Poultry Products based out of Grimes, Iowa (a suburb of Des Moines, for those not from this neck of the woods). The proprietor, Ronald Bartelt, advertises "'The way chicken used to taste." Farm raised the old fashioned way. Outdoor birds that are fed no antibiotics or hormones." I got a 4 1/2 pound bird for $10, which sounds expensive when you compare it to the price you might pay for a mass-produced chicken at the supermarket, but is pretty cheap compared to some of the free-range/organic vendors we've looked at. The same vendor also sells eggs and, in the fall, ducks. I'm planning to roast the chicken this weekend, and assuming it tastes as good as I expect it will, I will probably be buying from this fellow semi-regularly... and I'm definitely looking to buying a couple whole ducks this fall.
We also bought a loaf of sesame and flaxseed bread from a small local bakery, Keller's Breads. This vendor sold only a limited selection of breads, but every one we sampled - each with a bit of the seasoned, whipped butter the vendor also sells - tasted wonderful. I had a slice as soon as I got home, and I was very pleased by the wonderful, nutty flavor and nice texture.
We didn't catch the name of the produce vendor that sold us the strawberries, but we're very pleased with the berries. I sampled a few when we got home and found them to be wonderfully sweet and fresh. I expect we'll be going to this market semi-regularly, so next time we'll try to remember to get more information about her.
The Drake Neighborhood Farmer's Market is held every Wednesday from June through September at the parking lot for the First Christian Church at 25th and University Avenue in Des Moines. Hours are 4-7 pm.