By Tina Turvey
Only one factor has been able in stopping the decades old tradition of the Madison Wisconsin–Capitol Square farmers market–the 2020 Covid-19 epidemic. Every April through October, the tradition has carried on throughout my lifetime; enveloping every season that I can remember (the 1980’s through the present).
But a good thing can’t be stamped out. As of June 2021 the farmer’s and vendor’s are back at it come rain and shine. The proof is the big bag of dill-flavored cheese curds in my refrigerator–a product not readily available in a commercial grocery.
My earliest memory of the unique products sold at the market were honey sticks-from Wisconsin beekeepers, along with unique gourds and apple cider sold at harvest time. When I was a kid I loved painting those gourds (and pumpkins) in anticipation for Halloween and Thanksgiving. The government also has recognized the value of the products by making food-stamp (i.e. foodshare) dollars viable payment options; propagandizing the belief that fresh produce should be available to all–regardless of economic status. The produce at the market is also priced very modestly, making a market outing a very affordable experience.
I had missed the Singing Grandma’s and street musicians that frequent the market as well–bells, flutes and yes violins. My first time back at the market I was a bit more tolerant of the special interest groups touting anything from politics, religion and veganism. There is definitely something for everyone at the farmer’s market!
This last month and a half of going to the market I realized I ought to be thankful for the market–I had not realized how special it was until it was gone for a season. It is a vital part of our mid-western heritage. Along with promoting small farms the market also promotes healthy living and healthy diets–something we all need. I think I will take the time to savor more of those Dill cheese curds.