Grand Opening weekend for Riverfront Public Market Co-op - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Grand Opening weekend for Riverfront Public Market Co-op


The Waterloo Riverfront Public Market Co-op held its Grand Opening Friday and Saturday.

Cindy Hall was shopping for a few items for dinner this weekend and stopped by the new co-op for inspiration.

"I bought some free-range eggs and some Iowa grown green peppers," she said.

Hall could have easily picked these peppers out at a conventional grocery store. But she's among a growing number of people who prefer to shop local, whenever possible. Which is exactly what the RiverLoop Public Market Co-op is offering.

"People are realizing the value of local produce. The quality that you're getting," the owner of Timeless Prairie Orchard David Differding said.

The co-op is the latest piece of a much larger puzzle. Waterloo city leaders have been working for years to re-vamp the city's image -- both literally and figuratively.

"It's been going on for a long time. And it's so fun to see this coming to fruition -- the riverfront projects and the public market and the sportsplex, which is going to be coming soon," Mayor Buck Clark said.

This weekend's official grand opening marks an important step in Waterloo's future. It's also exciting for local growers, who often have a hard time finding a place to sell after the farmers markets close down.

"We're a late-season vendor, so we start labor day weekend," Differding said. "So it gives us an outlet for customers who have visited the farmers market and want to continue to buy our apples."

Since most of the produce is locally grown, what you'll find from day to day will vary -- especially in the winter months. But market operator Julie Kiefer is hoping that, come spring, growers can plan what they put in the ground based on what they can sell in the co-op.

"It's going to be exceptionally exciting in the spring when farmers are starting to plant, and they can plan to supply the co-op with all the fresh fruits and vegetables," Kiefer said.

Since it is a co-op, members get to help choose what products are sold, and when the market turns a profit, the co-op members benefit.

But you don't have to be a member to shop. Folks like Hall can stop by, see what's fresh, and go home knowing the purchase of a few peppers helped the local economy.

The RiverLoop Public Market is open Monday through Saturday. Discounted memberships are available now until Thursday either in the store or online.

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