Buying farm-fresh produce is easier than ever in the Omaha metro area with all the farmers markets popping up. From traditional road-side farm stands to weekly farmers markets, there’s something in nearly every community each summer. Read on to learn about each farmers market, as well as various area farms and CSAs.
Farmers Markets In The Omaha Area
Farmers markets are held throughout the week in Omaha, including some weekday evenings and many weekend mornings. It’s not uncommon, either, to have more than just produce and craft vendors at these markets. Some of the farmers markets listed offer live music and kid’s activities to boot.
Aksarben Village Farmers Market
The Aksarben Village Farmers Market is managed by the same people who run the Old Market Farmers Market, and usually have a lot of the same vendors. Vendors set up at Aksarben Village along 67th Street and Mercy Road. You can shop the Aksarben Village Farmers Market on Sundays from early May to mid-October. The 2023 dates are: Sundays, May 7 through Oct. 15, 2023. The market is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
One perk of the Aksarben Village Farmers Market is that it’s next to Stinson Park, which has a playground and a large grass area for kids.
Bellevue Farmers Market
The Bellevue Farmers Market is held at Washington Park, between East 20th and 19th Avenues along Franklin Avenue. The market is held on Saturday mornings from early June to mid-September. The dates in 2023 are: Saturdays, June 3, through Sept. 16, from 8 a.m. to noon.
Farmers Market Council Bluffs
The Farmers Market Council Bluffs is held in downtown Council Bluffs, Iowa, around the city’s Bayliss Park at First Avenue and Pearl Street. The farmers market is held on Thursday evenings from May to September, and features seasonal and weekly vendors, as well as wellness activities like yoga and children’s activities. There’s also usually live music. Farmers Market Council Bluffs hours are Thursdays from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.
There is metered parking around Bayliss Park, but meters do not need to be plugged after 5 p.m.
Gifford Park Community Farmers Market
The Gifford Park neighborhood is located at midtown Omaha, and home to the Gifford Park Community Farmers Market. Vendors set up at 520 N. 33rd St. The farmers market is held on Friday evenings from June to September from 5 to 8 p.m. There is a beer garden and typically a food truck there.
Gretna Farmers Market
A new farmers market is starting in downtown Gretna in 2023. The farmers market will be held along McKenna Avenue on Saturdays from June 3 through Oct. 28, 2023. The hours of the market will be 8 a.m. to noon.
Legacy Farmers Market
The former Village Pointe Farmers Market has relocated and renamed itself the Legacy Farmers Market this year. The market will now be held at the Shops of Legacy located at 168th Street and West Center Road. Legacy Farmers Market will be open on Saturday mornings from early May to early October. This year, it is scheduled to run from Saturday, May 6, through Oct. 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Old Market Farmers Market
Vendors set up in the Old Market at 11th and Jackson streets. The Old Market Farmers Market is held on Saturday mornings from early May to mid-October. The dates for 2023 are: Saturdays, May 6, through Oct. 14, 2023. The market is open from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Street and lot parking is not free in the Old Market, though if you go to the market from 8 to 9 a.m., you do not need to plug the meter. Meters run from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Typically, there is a mix of vendors each week at the market. Early in the season, you’ll find plants and seedlings for sale, as well as baked goods, handmade items, and condiments like salsa. The later in the season — summer months – the more variety of produce becomes available.
I like strolling the Old Market Farmers Market, because there is always something to see. The atmosphere is unique since the streets are brick and the buildings are old warehouses that once had a connection to the produce markets of Omaha.
Papillon Farmers Market
Papillion Farmers Market is held at City Park along West Lincoln Street on Wednesday evenings from mid-May to mid-August. The hours for the 2023 market are: Wednesdays, May 24, through Aug. 16, from 5 to 8 p.m. The market will not be open during Papillion Days on June 14.
River City Farmers Market
The River City Farmers Market is a small farmers market held in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on Saturday mornings from May to September. Vendors set up at outside the YMCA Healthy Living Center at 714 So. Main St. The hours are from 9 a.m. to noon.
Turner Park Night Market
While not a weekly market, the Turner Park Night Market is a series of nighttime markets at Midtown Crossing’s Turner Park, at about 33rd and Farnam streets. The night market is held on select Friday nights from May to September, and features local makers, boutiques, outdoor games and live entertainment. The family-friendly event is typically held from 6 to 10 p.m. This year’s dates have not been announced yet.
Farm stands around Omaha
Sometimes, you don’t want the crowds or all the added activities found at farmers markets. For those days, you’ll want to visit a farm stand. Keep in mind these operate seasonally. Here are a few trusty locations to seek out for farm-fresh products:
- The Union for Contemporary Art has a unique space called the Abundance Garden, and throughout the summer, they give away produce grown in the garden in a drive-thru produce stand for free. Free Produce Saturdays is held from late June to late September, with pick-up just west of the Union building in the parking lot across 24th Street from noon to 2 p.m.
- Barreras Farm Market, located at 14449 F St., is a unique farm to table market, offering farm-raised food at a permanent location year-round. Barreras also offers a CSA.
- City Sprouts is an awesome nonprofit with farm stands in the summer ran by students in their internship program. Weekly City Sprouts farm stands are set up at Fair Deal Farmer’s Market or City Sprouts South, and produce is pay-what-you-can.
- Huffman Produce is a farm in Valley, Neb., that sets up produce stands at Twin Creek Plaza, 3608 Twin Creek Drive in Bellevue, and 66th & Cornhusker in Papillion. They may open an Omaha location in 2023.
- Nelson Produce Farm has an on-site market at the farm at 23301 Deer Ridge Road in Valley, Neb., as well as two produce stands at 204th & Wirt streets in Elkhorn and 120th & I streets in Omaha.
- The Perennial Homestead is open daily (weather permitting) from mid-April to first snow at 12505 Ponca Road, Omaha. This is a home-run stand that operates on the honor system. You can pre-order online, too.
- Wenninghoff Farms, 6707 Wenninghoff Road, Omaha, is one of the area’s most well-known farms where you can regularly stop by and purchase produce. They offer a CSA.
- Whispering Roots and The Big Garden bring farm stands to WIC centers and senior centers in July and August. The great thing about these farm stands is that the nonprofits match every WIC and Senior Voucher used, doubling the value. This year’s dates have not been announced yet.
Tips For Successful Farmers Market Shopping
If you’re new to farmers market shopping, here are a few tips to ensure you have the best experience:
- Arrive early for the best selection (and the best parking).
- Bring your own reusable bag.
- Pay in cash. Credit card fees drastically cut into profits for small businesses.
- It’s OK to sample food, but be reasonable with how much you take. This tip is mainly for my daughter.
- Ask questions, especially if you don’t know how to prepare something. I learned about kohlrabi this way.
- Look up what’s in season before you go so you can have reasonable expectations on what will be available.
- Dogs need to be leashed and well-behaved. I love dogs and my family loves dogs, and they’re the best part of farmers markets (if you ask my daughter). However, we’ll never bring our Aussie, Stan, because he is not so great around crowds. Know your dog.
Shopping farmers markets has its rewards, from supporting small businesses to finding the freshest produce available. They’re an essential part of a community, as well.