The Dane County Farmers Market is Back!

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.