Okay folks: We're approaching Des Moines' vaunted, number-two-in-the-whole-nation Downtown Farmers Market this Saturday.
This means two things:
1. You'd best believe that market will soon overflow with a heavenly cornucopia of seasonal treats. I'm talking winter squashes, prime bushels of apples and eggplant so good it will haunt you in your dreams, man. I want to wear a flannel shirt just thinking about it.
2. You've been to the market enough times this year to know the key players, good and bad. As much as we all love Farm Boys burritos, live music and responsibly harvested produce at reasonable prices, there are a few market characters we all avoid. Let's call 'em out.
The Mid-Street Pow-wower: I see you, Pow-wower. I see you with five of your closest friends standing in a circle in the middle of Court Avenue, pontificating over whether you should get the kale that tastes better or the kale with the lower carbon footprint.
First off, kale is so 2012. Second off, you're blocking the foot traffic of me and 20,0000 of Des Moines' faithful. All I want to do is cross the street for a free gouda sample at Frisian Farms. Why you got to be so inconsiderate?
Clearly Hungover Guy: I feel for you, Clearly Hungover Guy. You woke up in a sea of regret and just want to salvage the morning with a breakfast burrito and the Bloody Mary bar at Johnny's Hall of Fame. You're playing it cool: shades on, shorts on, flip flops a flopping down the concourse. But you're not fooling anyone. What do Friday night's decisions look like through your Raybans, Clearly Hungover Guy? Now hit the bar; there are kids here.
Dog-The-Size-Of-A-Small-Human Walker: We all love dogs. We love petting them. We love cuddling with them. We love looking at pictures online when we should be working. But what you've brought downtown is more than a dog, Dog-The-Size-Of-A-Small-Human Walker. What you've got is a furry, adorable impediment to my market experience. I've got to watch where I walk. There's slobber on my reusable bag. And that dog can't even appreciate a fine Honeycrisp apple.
Mom Lingering At The Regional Wine Samples:Look, we're all thankful for Iowa's growing wine industry and, hey, social mores be damned, it's Saturday. Try a local rosé or two. But I just perused all the way down to that salsa dancing exhibition at 4th and Court and back and you're still here. Don't take advantage of the vintage. Leave some for latecomers.
Special Ops Shopper: I don't avoid you, Special Ops Shopper. You avoid me. You know good food. You want good food. What you don't want are the unwashed hordes of people watchers, slow walkers and smalltalkers that populate the market past 9 a.m. So you show up at 7 a.m., stealthily grab your staples and get on with the weekend. I actually respect that.