Canoes, kayaks, goose eggs, strawberries and fried cheese inaugurate the summer routine | Local News
The day started hours earlier as thousands of shoppers, most of them without masks, began strolling through the Farmers’ Market, which since April 2020 had operated at the Alliant Energy Center, first in Willow Island, then in the car parks of the exhibition center. But Saturday’s scene in the shadow of the State Capitol looked like the good old days with familiar faces in more than 100 booths.
Farmer John was there from Dodgeville with his cheese, Bill Warner brought carrots, beets and green beans from his Snug Haven farm near Paoli, and Ned Palm had tables filled with white mushrooms, shiitake and baby portabella that he farmed in rural Jefferson County. Stella’s Bakery sold their wide selection of breads, there was Gentle Breeze Honey near Mount Horeb, and Xiong’s Tasty Produce had snow peas, arugula and green onions.
Mark Olson had freshly baked cinnamon buns at his Renaissance Farm in Spring Green. He and his family have had a stall in the square since 1980, and while he has enjoyed alternative venues to sell his wares for the past 15 months, Olson said the atmosphere in Capitol Square is hard to beat.
“I’ve been coming here since high school. So this is my home, ”Olson said. “This is my family. This is my community.
A square tradition
The market was founded in 1972 and operated in heavy rain, freezing temperatures, sweltering heat, and even snow, but has always been a Saturday morning staple from April through early November. The pandemic has changed the course of the market and its history. In 2019, the market could attract up to 20,000 people. And that’s about the number of people who showed up for Saturday’s downtown return, said Jamie Bugel, co-manager of the market. Some sellers said they sold out their products earlier than usual, even though they brought more items.