Look for the longest line at the Freight House Farmers Market, and it will likely lead somewhere sweet.

It will lead to sprinkled doughnuts, chocolate-drizzled cookies or loaves of baked bread. And just like tales of growing corn and raising chickens, it will lead you to a few conversations worth pausing for. 

It will lead you to farmers who sell organic beef, but don't leave the farm without a batch of fruit pies. It will lead to makers and bakers who have been doing this for two or three or four decades. 

Ask around the sweet-treat community, and you'll get about a dozen different recipes for the best chocolate chip cookie. 

Take a moment to wait for a Vietnamese iced coffee at Deb's Daily Grind, so you can spot the husband-and-wife barista team. They'll be busy, but you'll want to compliment their matching T-shirts that read "But first, coffee."

Keep walking, and you'll overhear at least three warring opinions about who would win a round of "Cupcake Wars" at the market. And you won't know who to side with until a few more trips to the farmers market. 

By the end, it would've been a sweet road indeed. Read on for five sweet treats to sample at Davenport's Freight House Farmers Market on Saturday mornings. 

My Girl's Cake Shop 

Katie Gessey has one word to describe her mobile cake shop: Vintage. 

The logo of My Girl's Cake Shop nods to Rosie the Riveter, and the light blue camper where she sells cupcakes is straight out of the 1960s — well, it's actually a 1968-edition. 

And the cupcakes, some placed in polka-dotted holders, certainly share Gessey's sense of style. 

"I have more options than I can even list on the website," she said. "It goes on and on." 

Gessey went to pastry school in Chicago and has been baking out of her home for the past five years. The mom of three didn't want to open a brick-and-mortar store, but was worried about keeping her cupcakes from melting outside at markets and festivals. 

Cue the camper. 

It required about three months of labor to flip and renovate the camper. Gessey sewed new curtains and applied fresh coats of paint. And, it definitely draws attention.

"It's a conversation starter," she said. "I hear people walking by talking about how unique it is, and they stop by for a photo and I hope they stay to try something." 

Roasted almonds

Watch a batch of roasted almonds swirl around and Mike Hemmer probably has you hooked. That is, if the smell didn't catch you already. 

The Bettendorf resident has been selling his cinnamon and sugar covered almonds, pecans and cashews since 1998. He's at the farmers market on the weekends and sets up at area malls during the week. 

"This kind of things takes people back to their childhood," he said. "Even the smell brings back nice memories." 

And, as far as treats go at the market, Hemmer says his almonds are on the healthy side and made with all-natural ingredients. 

"A lot of people get the sweet tooth at the farmers market," he said. "And this is one of the better things you could have." 

Cookie monster cupcakes

There's one cupcake type that Jami Eis can't show up to the farmers market without. 

She makes a variety of cupcakes with simple frosting and sprinkles and changes combinations each week depending on what's seasonal. 

"But I always, always have the cookie monster one," she said. "People have come to expect it." 

At Eising on the Cake Bakery, the blue-frosting-covered treats get plenty of pointing and stares. 

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Eis took orders out of her home for about 15 years before venturing to the farmers market.  Along with cupcakes, she makes desserts for weddings and birthday parties, and she owes much of her business to the market. Profits grew by 70 percent. 

"It's gotten our name out there," she said. "When people see who's making the thing, word spreads like wildfire." 


Katie Brammeier's family farm has been around for more than 100 years in Wilton, Iowa. They grow vegetables and sell organic beef. 

But at the farmers market, plenty of people stop by for her pies with a selection that includes, among others, rhubarb crumb, cherry, pecan and strawberry.

"Pie is a happy food," she said. "And we like to make people happy." 

Brammeier has been serving up homemade pies for 25 years at the market, and she knows pies serve a role in the same way fresh produce does.

"Not everyone wants to or has time to make their own pie," she said. "They see this and their eyes light up." 

Nancy's Corn

His wife was out of town, so Marvin Remrey and his grandson, Caden, were left in charge of the Nancy's Corn stand on Saturday morning.

Sitting in his lawn chair watching over dozens of popcorn bags in the back of his truck, Remrey almost felt at home.  

"We've been doing it so long that the market used to have only six stands," he said. "Now look at what it's become — it's a lot bigger." 

Caramel corn is their best-seller, but Caden said his favorite is a colorful, fruity blend called Frosted Rainbow. 

"It's a crowd favorite," his grandfather said. "Especially for the kids." 


Amanda Hancock is a reporter covering food, arts and entertainment in the Quad-Cities (and beyond).