10 Must-Visit Farmers Markets Across the Midwest

Looking for the best sweet potato pie or curliest kale? Check out the region’s biggest, liveliest and most unique farmers markets.

Buckets of blooms, piles of tomatoes and stacks of fresh-baked loaves fill tables at farmers markets large and small across the Midwest each week. Whether you are searching for the perfect breakfast sandwich or vegetables to throw on the grill, these destination farmers markets have you covered.

Green City Market Chicago
Green City Market. Courtesy of Green City Market/Tess Graham Photography

Green City Market, Chicago

On Saturdays and Wednesdays all year long, a sea of multicolored tents fills the neighborhood of Lincoln Park, offering fresh produce, delicious food and unique wares. Green City Market puts a premium on vendors that treat animals and the environment ethically and responsibly. And they're just as big-hearted with people: Committed to increasing access to nutritious, fresh food, the market triple-matches purchases made with food assistance programs like SNAP, up to $25.

Know Before You Go

Easily accessible by both bus and L train, Green City Market is open Saturday mornings, April to November, and Wednesday mornings, May to October. The market also has locations in the West Loop and Avondale. Vendors and hours may vary by location.

Shopping List

First-time shoppers should pick up a green juice from Earth & Skye Farm, a raspberry-rose croissant from Verzênay Patisserie or a charcuterie cone from Flock & Forage. Looking for socially conscious vendors? Scope out the Star Farm stand: It's an urban farm and nonprofit that provides horticultural therapy to people with disabilities and women and children recovering from domestic violence.

Hmongtown Marketplace St. Paul
Hmongtown Marketplace. Courtesy of Visit St. Paul

Hmongtown Marketplace, St. Paul

Although it's not the largest farmers market in the Twin Cities metro, the Hmongtown Marketplace offers visitors an opportunity to dip into Minnesota's vibrant Hmong community, one of the largest in the world. You can find apparel, fresh produce, beauty and salon vendors and even live chickens! To really experience the marketplace, shoppers should visit the food courts for global flavors, and the outdoor markets and produce room for a wide selection of Asian produce. The HmongTown market also hosts special events, such as the My Story Cloth Competition for traditional Hmong quilt-makers.

Know Before You Go

The HmongTown farmers market has two seasons: In May, vendors sell seedlings and starter plants for home gardeners. During the second season, June through October, shoppers can find produce and goods.

Vendor Spotlight

Hong Kong Shoes, WY Fashion and Yang Produce have been with the market since its inception. Many vendors stay with the market because of the sense of community in HmongTown. They are able to do business with fewer barriers such as language.

South Bend Farmers' Market, South Bend, Indiana

Started in 1911 on a bridge, this historic market has grown year after year—even a destructive fire in 1971 couldn't halt its progress. You can now find fresh fruits, vegetables and handmade goods piled high around the South Bend Farmers' Market's sprawling H-shaped building.

Know Before You Go

The South Bend Market happens Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays year-round, and runs from early morning to midafternoon. It's situated along the St. Joseph River and accessible from a riverfront bike path (ideal for strolling off the calories from all your morning snacking!).

Shopping List

At the heart of the activity is the Farmers Market Cafe, where dishes are prepared using ingredients from nearby vendors. Be sure to also check out Hovenkamp's Produce for the fantastic fungi of your dreams—on an average Saturday, you can choose between 15 and 20 varieties of wild and specialty mushrooms.

Downtown Des Moines Farmers Market. Karla Conrad

Downtown Farmers' Market, Des Moines

A vibrant summer tradition in Iowa's capital, this market sprawls over seven city blocks, with the historic courthouse as a backdrop. On a typical Saturday morning, the crowd reaches 25,000, and over the course of the summer, hundreds of vendors cycle through, selling everything from apple pies to zinnias. Look for stands sponsored by the Spark DSM Minority Business Incubator, which helps underrepresented and marginalized business owners get a foothold at the market.

Know Before You Go

The market is held Saturday mornings, May through October, plus one weekend in mid-November for holiday shopping. For free, no-fuss parking, slide into the Wells Fargo parking ramp on Mulberry Street, just a few blocks away. (Bonus: If you need cash, you'll walk right by an ATM.)

Shopping List

Grade A Gardens is a longtime favorite for organic veggies (and in fall, sells beautiful braids of their signature garlic). Pick up salad dressing, greens and seasoning salts from Dogpatch Urban Gardens. And for buttery croissants, stop by Nadia's French Bakery, owned by a native of Benin who launched her business during the pandemic. It's one of myriad immigrant-run stands with prepared food and produce.

City Market, Kansas City
City Market. Courtesy of City Market

City Market, Kansas City, Missouri

In the River Market neighborhood, historic City Market has a distinctive international vibe, with an open-air farmers market surrounded by brick-and-mortar food shops and restaurants. (Where else can you buy your sweet corn and spring plant starts, while also hitting a favorite falafel joint and Middle-Eastern bulk spice shop and an Italian grocery and deli?)

Know Before You Go

The market is open year-round: Saturdays and Sundays, morning through early afternoon, April to December; and Saturdays only January through March. Pair your outing with a visit to the nearby Arabia Steamboat Museum or the enormous River Market Antiques warehouse.

Shopping List

Between noshing, check out the non-edible wares at City Market: The Cutting Board Authority will fulfill all your artisanal cutting board needs, Bird's Botanicals Inc. sells exotic plants and award-winning orchids, and Lavender Hill Farm is the stop for all things lavender (and now honey, too). If you spot the beautiful blooms of Enright Gardens, enjoy this sweet backstory: The couple behind the stand met in the 1970s as teenagers working at the farmers market, and have been vendors for more than 50 years, with help from their children and grandchildren.

Eastern Market Detroit
Eastern Market. EE Berger

Eastern Market, Detroit

Founded in 1891 and housing more than 500 vendors across several brick buildings (known as sheds), Eastern Market anchors one of the largest urban food districts in the nation. Try ox-tail soup or pierogies, buy mushrooms or snapdragons, and try to time your visit to one of the district's many special events—flea markets, Flower Days in May, Holiday Markets in November and December.

Know Before You Go

The year-round Saturday Market, which runs from early morning to late afternoon, is by far the largest. The Sunday and Tuesday markets (June–September) are more specialized, with shorter hours. Tuesday is geared towards health and wellness, while Sunday spotlights local artists, cooks, jewelers, musicians and more.

Shopping List

Norman Kaltz & Sons Farms has been a vendor since the market began operation in 1891. Their booth brims with fragrant basil, crisp broccoli and vibrant sunflowers at the wholesale and Saturday Market.

Tower Grove, St. Louis

A relatively new farmers market, Tower Grove launched in 2006. Since then, the market has grown (mushroomed, you might say) into the metro's largest—and the setting is incredible. Huge trees and looping paths fill Tower Grove Park's large, historic green space. (Organizers and market-goers leverage the serene venue well; a free yoga session happens every Saturday morning during the market, and you'll see families and couples sprawled on the grass picnicking every week.)

Know Before You Go

The market is held Saturday mornings, spring through fall, and Tuesday evenings May to September. If Tower Grove Park doesn't offer enough green space for you, walk across the street to visit the renowned Missouri Botanical Garden.

Vendor Spotlight

For a savory dish, hit up the Guamanian-style barbecue from Hafa Adai Catering. Feeling sweet? Check out Holy Crepe, where you can't go wrong with Nutella and sea salt. Ozark Forest Mushrooms is a mycological powerhouse, with umami-packed shiitakes, fluffy lion's mane and meaty trumpets.

Omaha Farmers Market
Omaha Farmers Market. Courtesy of Papesh Creative

Omaha Farmers Market, Omaha

With roots more than a century old, the Omaha Farmers Market relaunched in the 1990s and hasn't looked back since. And it's really two markets! On Saturdays, vendors set up in the Old Market district, and on Sundays, the show moves west to Stinson Park in Aksarben Village, where a nearby playground keeps kiddos happy.

Know Before You Go

Both markets are held May to October, morning through early afternoon, and there's a one-off Holiday Market, too. The Saturday market is probably the better fit for out-of-towners, who may already be planning to visit shops and restaurants in the charming Old Market. (Hello, Ted and Wally's ice cream.)

Shopping List

Stock up on enchiladas at Erick's Enchiladas—they freeze well and make for a delicious treat later on. Fermented Felon serves craft kombucha in a variety of flavors, such as tart cherry cola, pear and lavender. Head to Daniels Produce for fresh vegetables and canned goods (which they ship if you can't make it to the market!).

Red River Market, Fargo, North Dakota
Red River Market. Courtesy of Studio Freshly

Red River Market, Fargo, North Dakota

When you're as far north as Fargo, spring arrives late, and veggies ripen even later. So this market squeezes big flavors out of a shorter season and doesn't open until July. But it's a winner, with vendors reflecting Fargo's eclectic personality.

Know Before You Go

The market is held on Saturdays, July through October. (Early birds be aware, it doesn't open until late morning.) Make it your first stop after a night at the stylish Jasper Hotel or before a visit to the Plains Art Museum.

Shopping List

For unique flavors, check out African-European fusion stand Adibon, especially their drunk kabob with fried plantains. Grab a lavender cream soda from Flannel Fizz and make sure to scope out handmade jewelry and curated stones from Lady Gem.

Dane County Farmers' Market Madison Wisconsin
Dane County Farmers' Market. Courtesy of Sharon Vanorny/Destination Madison

Dane County Farmers' Market, Madison, Wisconsin

In 1972, Madison mayor Bill Dyke drew inspiration from European open-air markets when he helped found the Dane County Farmers' Market. Today, it retains that European vibe, with hundreds of vendors wrapped around the domed capitol and a strict emphasis on hyper-local products. Visiting the farmers market is an iconic part of any visit to Wisconsin's capital (especially on Badger game days in the fall, when the crowd is awash in red shirts and good cheer).

Know Before You Go

Visit the market on Wednesdays and Saturdays (it's open through lunchtime), spring through late fall. From the market, you can walk right up bustling State Street (full of shops, restaurants and coffee spots) to the University of Wisconsin campus.

Vendor Spotlight

When in Wisconsin, eat cheese. Whether you're craving sharp, crumbly, spreadable or nutty varieties, the farmers' market has you covered. Hook's sells a wide selection of cheeses that will leave you craving more. Make sure to check out Bleu Mont's bandaged cheddar; and visit Stella's for their famed spicy cheese bread, the perfect snack while you browse this large market.

Updated by
Emily Postlethwait

Emily Postlethwait is a former editorial apprentice for Midwest Living and a recent graduate of Drake University. She works in marketing in Des Moines.

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