Dane County Farmers’ Market cancels Saturday market on the Square for rest of season

Local Food Pick Ups to continue for remainder of 2020 outdoor season
radishes piled high
Photo courtesy of Dane County Farmers' Market

MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin Capitol Police revoked the Dane County Farmers’ Market’s permit for the Capitol Square for the rest of the outdoor season, meaning the market will not be on the Capitol this year.

While it will not occur on the Square, the Dane County Farmers’ Market plans to continue hosting local food pick ups at Willow Island at the Alliant Energy Center on Wednesdays and Saturdays, according to a newsletter. The last day in the outdoor season is Nov. 7.

“We understand that the Local Food Pick Ups do not replace the beloved Saturday Market around the Capitol Square. We too understand that our community is yearning for normalcy and being able to visit the Saturday Market on the Square would perfectly encapsulate ‘things being back to normal’. But we are not there yet,” according to the release.

This is the first time the Saturday market will not be around Capitol Square since it started in 1972.

They plan to continue offering pre-order, drive-thru local food pick ups. As they are not going to return to Capitol Square, organizers say they can focus on adding a traditional farmers’ market element to the Saturday Local Food Pick Up. Customers will pre-order and pre-pay through WhatsGood, but there will be an option to shop in-person on Saturdays.

“The decision to cancel the Saturday Market around the Capitol Square was not made lightly,” organizers said. “The Saturday Farmers’ Market around the Capitol Square has been a Madison tradition since 1972.”

Organizers in consultation with Public Health Madison & Dane County, the Wisconsin Capitol Police and other stakeholders, they determined there was no way to safely host the market on the Capitol Square. Also they determined that a modified version of the market would not “adequately serve our farmers.”

If you’re interested in shopping directly from farmers and small food businesses, click here. Learn more about food pickups here. You can also donate to the Emergency Farmer Fund here.

“One thing that we have learned from the pandemic is not to take things for granted,” organizers said. “We are eternally thankful to our many customers who continue to buy fresh, local foods directly from the people who grow, raise, and make them.”