As someone who is a bit of a foodie, I love going to farmers’ markets. There’s one here in NYC every Sunday I try to swing by and it’s great. There’s a few different produce vendors, some flowers, and even a vegan baked goods/savory items stand. When I lived in midtown, I headed to one every Wednesday to pick up some fresh produce and snacks. But no where I’ve been in the city – or anywhere else for that matter – can compare to the Madison farmers’ market.
Technically called the Dane County Farmers’ Market, the main Madison farmers’ market is held on Saturdays and takes place around the capitol square. Yes – four giant blocks filled with all sorts of delicious farmers’ flair. The market itself is actually the largest producer-only farmers’ market in the country. That producer-only bit? It means that every vendor is also the producer of the goods. You can talk to them about all sorts of things regarding the growing/cooking/baking process.
One of my favorite parts of the market visually is all of the amazing flower vendors. Here in the city there’s one flower vendor and one smallish arrangement will run you about 15-20 bucks. Here, you can get arrangements from 5-10. And they’re beyond gorgeous. All the colors are out of this world and the arrangements are HUGE.
Of course there’s gorgeous produce – that’s to be expected at a farmer’s market. But seeing as though this is Wisconsin, there’s cheese. And LOTS of it. While I didn’t partake, I couldn’t help but snap a few photos. Yes, those people down there are frying cheese. Welcome to the dairy state!
We also came across one stand I couldn’t help but take a couple shots of. I can’t remember the name of the bakery but what got me was all the workers with “scones for sconnies” t-shirts. And the selling of a sconut. Which is apparently a scone made out of a donut hole. Sounds totally dreamy right? It was. Even though there was no way it was in any way vegan, when my friends bought a bag of them, I snuck a bite. And yes, they were pretty darn dreamy. This guy was real weirded out I asked to take a picture of his shirt. But being a Wisconsinite and polite and nice by nature, he obliged.
One of my absolute favorite stops on our trip around the capitol building was when we made it back to the spring roll stand. Sadly, I had never discovered this spring roll stand before. That’s because it’s hidden in a very busy smoothie stand. The outside says smoothies, and then you get closer and notice there’s spring rolls on the menu. In true Wisconsin form, even the spring rolls are huge. Mine came with tofu and avocado and spicy sauce. And it seemed like it was the size of my head! It was delicious. And oh so spicy. Definitely needs a smoothie to help cool the mouth burning sensation. But being a fan of spicy foods, I was in heaven!
Beyond all the food and produce, there’s music and as Madison the dog can attest, delicious homemade doggy treats. It’s a really great way to spend a day – walking, eating, listening to music and chatting with friends. (and occasionally gawking at the protestors. This is Madison – during the Vietnam years it was a hot bed of anti-war protestors. That holds over today) But if you find yourself in Madison on a Saturday morning, you absolutely must go. It’s a must-see and a must-taste event.