Best farmers markets in the midwest

Do you like spending your weekend mornings perusing the farmers market for regional delights? Food enthusiasts from around the globe know the Midwest - with its landscape lush with corn, wheat and other crops - is the place to go for locally grown fare. Maybe your favorite is the hometown market you visit every week, but stop by these top farmers markets the next time you traverse the Midwest:

Dane County Farmers Market

farmers market

Located in the Capitol square of Madison, Wis., the Dane County Farmers Market was opened in 1972 as a way to connect city dwellers with country farmers. Choose from countless varieties of Wisconsin cheese, an array of organic vegetables, specialty nuts from Biersach Hickory Nut Heaven and the popular Butter Mountain Potatoes. The market is open Saturdays and Wednesdays, though it has special hours during winter.

Green City Market

In Chicago, the south side of Lincoln Park is transformed into the Green City Market every Wednesday and Saturday morning between May and October. In the colder months, the market packs up and goes indoors at the South Gallery of the nearby Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Look around and you’ll find produce straight from the Land of Lincoln, as well as meat from sustainable farms. Take part in cooking demonstrations led by celebrity chefs from the Windy City.

French Market

Over in Chicago’s Loop near the Ogilvie Transportation Center, the French Market offers produce, seafood, meats, cheeses and hand-prepared treats inspired by European markets. Sink your teeth into baked goods from Bebe's Eatery or FliP Crepes. Chicago favorites like Frietkoten and Pastoral serve up wine and fine cheeses.

Indianapolis City Market

Just a few hours south of Chicago, the Indianapolis City Market was established in the late 19th century. The farmers market is open on Wednesdays and specializes in Indiana-grown seasonal produce, like corn and tomatoes. Browse the stands of local vendors, like the European-style farmstead cheeses of Ludwig Farmstead Creamery or the Columbus-made wines of Smith's Winery and Simmons Winery. Stop by Earth Mama Compost for tips on making your own organic compost. The market also hosts ethnic-themed events, like Middle Eastern spices and Asian food celebrations.

Holland Farmers Market

At the Holland, Mich., Farmers Market, feast your eyes on the colorful displays of cherries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries while the Lake Michigan air refreshes you. For a sweeter treat, there are plenty of jams and jellies, candies, fudge and honey to choose from. In the crafts section, you’ll find handcrafted outdoor furniture for sale. The market also holds a chef series, in which area chefs teach you how to cook simple recipes out of seasonal Michigan fare.

Des Moines Farmers Market

Local is mandatory at the Des Moines Farmers Market: Any product you purchase here is guaranteed to be grown within Iowa state borders. Walk about this downtown location on Wednesday or Saturday mornings to see more than 160 stands and booths offering not only Hawkeye State favorites like corn, but also baked goods and handmade crafts from vendors like 110 Caramels and Bella Creations. Bring the kids with on Saturday mornings, when they can play among a miniature train fixture and be entertained by clowns, musicians, dancers and other performers.

Ann Arbor Farmers Market

The historic Kerrytown neighborhood in Ann Arbor, Mich., is home to one of Michigan’s biggest open-air markets. Open Saturdays January through April, as well as Wednesdays and Saturdays May-December, it hosts more than 160 vendors from the area, like the Michigan Garlic Farm, Nemeth Orchard and Shetler's Organic Produce. The market has a producers-only rule, so that very item you purchase here has been produced by the person selling it to you.

Fair Grove Farmers Market

Since summer 2001, this farmers market has set up shop on Missouri’s Historic Wommack Mill grounds, which span a 100-mile radius. Vendors come from all directions, so you can buy produce and crafts from farmers and artisans in Stockton, Buffalo, Strafford and Springfield. This event is also big on flowers and plants - you can purchase seasonal flowers or your own garden bedding and landscaping plants. In spring, the children can participate in the kids club, which teaches them how to garden and lets them plant their own seeds.

Worthington Farmers Market

As the biggest farmers market in Central Ohio, the Worthington Farmers Market allows you to browse the produce of about 90 vendors from Columbus and nearby towns. The year-round event runs each Saturday - outdoors in spring and summer and indoors in fall and winter. Local vendors like Gluten Free Expressions and Speckled Hen Farm serve up produce and specialty items. Don’t forget to try fruit from the area’s many orchards, like the Malabar and Thomas Family orchards.

Traverse City Farmers Market

Also known as the Sara Hardy Farmers Market, this event takes place in downtown Traverse City, Mich., nestled between the Boardman River and the Grand Traverse Bay. Stop by on a Saturday morning in May through October, and shop from booths by more than 65 vendors. Savor some gluten-free treats from Dennett's Gluten-Free Creations, or pick up a few specialty soaps from Jelinek Honey. Of all the best farmers markets in the midwest, this one might be located near the most attractions.

By Nicole Martinez