Dubuque Farmers Market kicks off with new online tools - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque Farmers Market kicks off with new online tools

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

Saturday marked the 169th opening day of the Dubuque Farmers Market. The event draws thousands to the area.

"We are starting this year with as many vendors as we ended with last year. During the first couple of months we always pick up another 10 vendors. So we are at the biggest point that I can remember in recent years," said farmers market manager, Laura Bertjens.

This year Dubuque Main Street and the Farmers Market planning committee have created an interactive map of the market and a searchable database of products available at the market. The interactive map will indicate the presence of vendors by date at the market. It will also give shoppers a better idea if a certain vendor will be at the market on any Saturday during the 2014 season. The interactive map also allows shoppers to learn more about where their food is coming from through online profiles.

It's an idea Dubuque Main Street and the Farmers Market Planning Committee adopted after watching other area farmers markets, such as Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, use the website successfully. Mark Bodensteiner has been a vendor at the Dubuque Farmers Market for 6 summers. His booth, which is called Coates Street Homestead, sells foods for people to eat while walking around the market. Bodensteiner said he purchases all his foods at the market to make his dishes.

"We are going to buy our eggs from other vendors, our meat from other vendors, our veggies from other vendors, and then we cook a breakfast locally to feed the farmers market." Bodensteiner said.

He said this year he was able to scout out which vendors would be near him at the market through the interactive map.

"I saw who was supposed to be next to me and over there and over there," Bodensteiner said pointing to other vendors, "That way I was able to know that 'Hey I got a new egg supplier right over there that I can use."

Check out the Dubuque Farmers Market interactive map HERE.

Check out the Dubuque Farmers Market product search HERE.

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