Farmers market season is here, and this year it will be easier than ever for Cedar Rapids market fans to make the most of their Saturday mornings.
The NewBo City Market and the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance are partnering for the first time this year to make it easy for shoppers to visit both markets on one day.
Beginning June 7 and continuing on each day of the Downtown Cedar Rapids Farmers' Market, which is the first and third Saturday of each month, June - September, there will be free trolley service between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. from the downtown Cedar Rapids market to NewBo City Market, 1100 3rd St SE.
"Both organization's missions heavily involve the promotion of Iowa's farmers and food producers," said NewBo City Market executive director Kristie Wetjen. "By effectively combining our efforts this summer, we hope to greatly expand local foods access for Cedar Rapids' residents and visitors."
The NewBo Market runs from 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. The downtown market is from 7:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.
The Cedar Rapids downtown market also slightly shifted its location this year due to construction on Fourth Avenue. The market will run along Third and Second Ave. SE between Second Street SE and Fifth Street SE, with the stage on Third Street SE.
Jill Wilkins, event planner at the Economic Alliance, said this year's market will include other new features.
"We're excited about the new amenities along Third Street, including the flower planters, pianos outside various businesses and the parklets that provide outdoor seating at some eating establishments," she said.
The stage will feature a wide variety of live music and entertainment throughout the summer, kicking off June 7 with Tim Riven, Theatre Cedar Rapids and Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre. A full schedule for the summer is available on the Downtown Economic Alliance's website.
The Cedar Rapids Downtown Farmers' Market has more than 200 local Iowa vendors offering fresh produce, a variety of baked goods, artisan gifts, meats and dairy products.
To help residents explore all the options for vendors and activities, the Economic Alliance has released an online interactive guide, complete with tips for storing and freezing veggies throughout the season.
Can't make it on Saturday? The Cedar Rapids Parks & Recreation Department has opened the Noelridge Farmers Market at the corner of Collins Road and Council Street NE. The market is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 4 to 6 p.m. through Oct. 17, with the exception of May 26, July 4 and Sept. 1.
Want to find more farmers markets around the region? Hoopla has you covered with an interactive map of dozens of Eastern Iowa markets online.