The problem with, and the pleasure of, farmers’ markets

The worst part of farmers’ markets, or at least Iowa City’s farmers’ market, is this: the market is just predictable enough so you start depending on certain people selling certain products.

That works until, one day, it doesn’t.

Today, for example, I stopped by to see Eric, the plants-and-chicken guy, because I wanted a frozen chicken. He had, he said, been cleaned out by the Motley Cow Café. And we needed honey, but the good honey guy — with honeys from different flowers (can you call those varietals?) — was nowhere to be found.

But that same unpredictability is what makes the market so great, so serendipitous. In weeks past, I had somehow missed the stall for La Renya, Iowa City’s excellent Mexican market and taco stand. Or, though it seems unlikely, perhaps it hadn’t been there before.

Whether new or overlooked, La Reyna was now selling frozen tamales, available in vegetarian, chicken or pork. Relatively reasonable, too, at $5 for four. Paired with salsa, the tamales — well-cooked pork, solid corn flavors and slightly fatty — were a fantastic lunch.

I should have bought more, because they might not be available next week.

4 thoughts on “The problem with, and the pleasure of, farmers’ markets”

  1. I don't know the answers to those questions, Adam. I will say the lack of variety can be helpful (we were able to get honey from another apiary and chicken from another farm, for example). But it also makes me feel like I can't just buy all my produce from one place. So I go here for cucumbers, there for squash, etc.

    And now, in addition to the three or four bread-and-pie stalls, there are a couple of overpriced — I mean gourmet cupcake places.

  2. @Soundasleep I have since returned and found more tamales. I stopped by the shop last night on my way home from work only to find La Reyna was out of tamales. Luckily, the market is tomorrow!

  3. The tamales are ridiculously good..The 'diablo' salsa they sell is amazing. La Reyna is the real deal this side of Chicago..

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