May 6, 2014

Early Farmers Market Finds

By Wini Moranville


A mid-May Downtown Farmers Market doesn't always bring to mind bushels upon bushels of fresh produce in every booth. But that doesn't mean the early weeks of the market are all about packaged goods, crafts and kettle corn, either.

I called some Iowa farmers to ask what they're hoping to sell on the next couple of Saturdays, and in spite of this wet, cool spring, I found plenty of good things to bring to the table: 

  • Hensley's Farm: Farmer Will Hensley says he hopes to have spinach, green lettuce, tomatoes from the greenhouse, radishes and maybe some wild asparagus. Also look for hanging baskets of flowers. Find them on Fourth Street, north of Court Avenue.
  • Grade A Gardens: Grower Jordan Claussen has his sights set on five varieties of radishes, spring garlic, baby greens and rhubarb. Home gardeners should poke around his stall for vegetable transplants such as tomatoes, pepper, broccoli, cabbages and fresh herbs. Find them on Fourth Street, south of Court Avenue.
  • Cleverley Farms: Look for seven varieties of radishes from farmer Larry Cleverley, along with spring garlic, arugula and other greens. He's also hoping to bring in some wild nettles and rapini (aka broccoli raab). Find Cleverley Farms on Court Avenue between Second Avenue and Third Street.


We help improve Des Moines residences one project at time, but committing to community service has been deep-rooted since our... 

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Can You Dig It?

By Kellye Crocker


With a plethora of limited-edition plants, inventive displays, celebrity green thumbs and more, the inaugural Spring Garden Festival, May 8-11, is not your mother's plant sale. Still, mom no doubt would love a Mother's Day weekend outing to the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden's celebration and fundraiser, where she can browse more than 430 varieties of plants for sale--many of them rare or unusual and unavailable at local garden centers. And mothers get free admission to the Botanical Garden on Mother's Day. (Garden geeks, hit the festival early for the best selection.)

The Botanical Garden's parking lot will become a tented pop-up shop highlighting edibles and drinkables, shade gardening, four-season gardening and urban gardening, with something for all levels of gardeners. Organized by a mostly volunteer committee co-chaired by Deb Wiley and Cynde Schreiber, the festival starts with a members-only sale (May 8, 5-6:30 p.m.). An opening night gala includes bubbly botanicals--champagne cocktails with roselle flowers and syrup--dinner and an auction.

You'll also find a mix of educational programs, with presentations by Joseph Tychonevich, author of "Plant Breeding for the Home Gardener"; Eddie Ross, East Coast editor for Better Homes and Gardens; and a range of experts in the "Pallet Pulpit Series." Except for the gala ($125) and Tychonevich's talk ($5), the festival is free. Buy tickets and learn more here.

Joseph Giunta, music director
and conductor of the
Des Moines Symphony.
Standing Ovation
The Des Moines Symphony's season finale
concerts Mother's Day weekend mark the end of Joseph Giunta's 25th anniversary season. We wondered which performance had challenged him most in his quarter century of conducting in Des Moines, and why. Here's what he said:

"The most predictable answer would be benchmark works like Beethoven's immortal Ninth Symphony, Mahler's 'Resurrection Symphony' and Stravinsky's ground-breaking 'Rite of Spring.' These works are
all monumental and extremely challenging technically and emotionally. . . . But what may surprise you is that I find challenges in every work
I conduct, and that is what makes my job so interesting. Sometimes the challenges are technical, but most often they have more to do with assessing the intention of the composer, and inspiring the musicians to relay that message to the audience. Like any language, in music, you must not only know the rules, but have a clear idea to impart in order to communicate effectively."

"Masterworks 7: Season Finale-Brahms, Grosvenor & Afternoon of a Faun" (May 10 at 7:30 p.m. and May 11 at 2:30 p.m. at the Des Moines Civic Center) includes a performance by British piano phenom Benjamin Grosvenor. Incidentally, Grosvenor was age 4 when Giunta took up the baton in Des Moines. Tickets and information here.  -K.C.
Members of Valley Church's Route 56 group were the first to volunteer at the Wednesday-night youth session at Meals from the Heartland's new facility.

Help Fight Hunger


One out of eight people will go to bed hungry
tonight, according to the World Food Programme.
If that unfathomable statistic leaves you feeling overwhelmed and powerless, let some local fifth- and sixth-graders inspire you. The 62 young volunteers from Valley Church in West Des Moines recently packaged 6,912 meals at Meals from the Heartland's new packaging center and warehouse 
at 357 Lincoln St., West Des Moines. The Route 56 youth group was the first to take part in Meals from the Heartland's new Wednesday-evening youth sessions at the new Patty Cownie Center.

Companies, churches and other groups can arrange private packaging events at the center or host Meals from the Heartland at their sites. Other easy ways to help:  

  • Donate. Just $1 buys five rice-soy meals or four macaroni and cheese meals.
  • Plan to help. The seventh annual Hunger Fight, Meals from the Heartland's signature event, is Aug. 27-30. Last year, 15,000 volunteers packaged more than 5 million meals. For more information, click here.  -K.C.
Urbandale High School art teacher Chris Kimble steers a steamroller
at an Iowa State University print-making event last fall. Kimble,
a member of the Urbandale Public Library's Art Gallery board, is involved in organizing a similar
event here.

Extreme Stamping


Talk about making a big impression! Local artists, along with college and high school art students, will use a steamroller to make fabric prints in the Urbandale Public Library parking lot May 10 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Part of the library's Art Gallery event series, "Art Under Pressure" is free and open to all ages.

Students from Urbandale, Johnston, Valley and Dowling Catholic high schools and Iowa State University graduate programs will work with local printmakers to create 8-foot-by-4-foot prints. Some will be displayed in the gallery May 13-June 30 and be available for purchase. For more information, click here. -K.C. 


Kellye Crocker

Kellye Crocker lives in Clive and writes fiction for teens and nonfiction for adults. A former Des Moines Register senior reporter and current dsm contributing writer, she's also written for Parents, Better Homes and Gardens and Glamour, among other national publications. Connect with her on Twitter: @kelcrocker.
Wini Moranville

Wini Moranville, author of "The Bonne Femme Cookbook: Simple, Splendid Food That French Women Cook Every Day," is a food, wine and travel writer who covers the dining scene for dsm magazine. Follow her at All Things Food DSM - Wini Moranville and catch her food segment on Fridays at 6:40 a.m. on KCWI-23's "Great Day" morning show.

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