Dane County Farmer's Market Returns to the Square!
by Laura Kocum
on Wednesday, April 11th, 2018 at 9:25pm.
The weather outside may seem more like winter, but for many, the return of the Dane County Farmer's Market signals a welcome change. The market continues year-round, but will return to the Capitol Square on Saturday. The forecast may call for cooler than average temperatures, but the opening of the market gives us hope that spring is really coming.
Perusing the market is a popular tradition around town, and there's much to appreciate about a market that is now more than 40 years old. The Dane County Farmer's Market is the nation's largest producers-only farmer's market. Sellers must apply to participate, and must demonstrate that their products are grown or created in Wisconsin. A wait list to get into this market is available (although it can take a long time). This year, 18 new vendors will join the market, some having waited seven years for the chance to set up on Madison's Capitol Square.
It is quite possible to do all, or almost all of your grocery shopping at the market. Vendors sell fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese (and cheese curds!), natural and organic meats, fresh baked goods, beautiful flowers, honey, salsa, maple syrup and more. There is no shortage of items or vendors to provide them. And shoppers can leave knowing they supported local growers, and can enjoy locally grown food.
For early spring, you can expect spinach to be one of the fresher produce options. Many other fresh foods are available, and the assortment changes with the season. The market's website features a different recipe each week, focusing on the produce that is in-season and easy to obtain. But no matter when you go, you can be certain to enjoy fresh food, reasonable prices, and an enjoyable outing along the beautifully maintained Capitol building's grounds.
The market creates a unique place for buyers to visit directly with producers, and learn more about the produce, how it's grown, and how to best prepare it. This is actually part of the market's stated vision. The event is designed to connect urban shoppers with the producers of their food, and to allow relationships to form between them. Many vendors will offer samples, and the friendly conversations add to the market's charm. It can take an hour or more to peruse all four sides of the square, but you're sure to leave with some delicious treats, and good memories.
You may have to bundle up for your first market visit, but spring (and summer) are coming, and a stop at the Dane County Farmer's Market is a must for anyone in the area.