Sunday, April 27, 2008

Farmer's Market

Ever since we came to Wisconsin, I've heard about the Dane County Farmers Market. It's held on the grounds surrounding the Capitol in downtown Madison, and is famous as a great Farmer's Market.

We both had a rare Saturday off, so we decided to check it out. The mild weather turned cold again, and the high on Saturday morning was about 43! The Farmer's Market starts at 6am (Burrrrr!) but we waited until about 9 to get there. We were dressed in multiple layers so we could be comfortable if it suddenly warmed up (wistful thinking!).

We parked many blocks away, and began walking toward the Capitol. Wow, there seemed to be a lot of people, many in running gear, heading in the same direction. When I saw numbers on them, I remembered that today was the Crazylegs Classic race. Guess the race was starting in the same vicinity as the Farmer's Market.

When we got to the top of the hill there were people everywhere!

The runners were milling around in the street, and the Vendors were lined up on the sidewalk on all four sides of the Capitol. We pushed our way through the crowd and started trecking around to see what was for sale.

The season has just started, and I didn't think there would be much for sale, since we're barely getting leaves on the trees. I didn't expect produce for at least a month. I was surprised! Several people had spinach for sale (cold weather crop) and one woman had a full table of lovely red tomatoes! Of course they were raised in a greenhouse, but I was impressed just the same.

Mostly people were selling things other than produce: Baked goods, honey, cheese, salsa, jerky, fish, bison, more cheese (this is Wisconsin don't ya know!), plants and flower starts for the garden, fresh flowers, popcorn and many more things I can't remember. The rule is that to be on the Square, you have to produce the goods yourself. Across the street are the people selling things made by others.

We had seen three sides of the Market and found ourselves near starting line for the race. Just as the sun peeked out for the first time, the first wave of runners started. Every minute they started the next wave of runners. They announced that 17,000 people were running! No wonder it seemed crowed!Once all the runners were gone, the Farmer's Market seemed quiet. We finished our walk around the Capitol and went home. It was a great introduction to the Farmer's Market, and I'm looking forward to watching it grow, as crops become ready for market.

Just now I need a nap to recover from all the excitement!

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