Rain or shine, 47th annual Dane County Farmers' Market begins Saturday on the Square

Rain or shine, 47th annual Dane County Farmers' Market begins Saturday on the Square

MADISON, Wis. - Rain or shine, the Dane County Farmers' Market is a Saturday tradition in Madison. After a five-month break, the outdoor market starts up again Saturday on the Square.

As usual, Wisconsinites will find the season's best bounty of vegetables, flowers, meats, cheese, and specialty products-- like the highly-coveted spicy cheese bread-- from approximately 275 vendors.

This time of year, broccoli, radishes, lettuce, and spinach are in season. Fresh-cut flowers, chicken eggs, and maple syrup will also be sold this Saturday.

This is the market's 47th season.

Meghan Blake-Horst, the City of Madison's vending coordinator, said she doesn't expect Saturday's rainy, cold forecast to keep away local producers. "The Dane County Farmers' Market and the vendors that vend adjacent to the market vend rain or shine," said Blake-Horst. "They're used to being out and about. They're street vendors and farmers, so they're used to the weather in all its glory."

All items for sale are grown, raised, and produced in Wisconsin by the person behind the stand.

Eighteen new vendors join this year's lineup. Customers can look forward to seeing a new farmer who grows and gathers a variety of native foods, a lavender farmer, a paleo bakery, and an organic farmer who specializes in spiralized vegetables.

Joining the Dane County Farmers' Market requires a lot of patience. Prospective members must join a waitlist. This year's newest members were on that list from anywhere between two and seven years.

"All of our vendors, whether they're city-licensed vendors or the Dane County-licensed vendors, are businesses," said Blake-Horst. "They're micro-businesses. They add so much to our economy. They're one of the biggest economic drivers in this country. So when you put them all together, that has a huge economic impact."

In addition to driving the area economy, Blake-Horst said local farmers bring culture and character to the Madison community.

Besides new vendors, this year's market will introduce new resources to improve the weekly shopping experience for customers. The market's website includes recipe suggestions for meals you can make with the products sold. It also has a list of what produce is in season this time of year.

The 47th annual Dane County Farmers' Market runs from 6:15 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. Saturday mornings, April 14- Nov. 10.

The Monroe Street Farmers' Market will soon start again despite the major construction project underway. It will be open Sundays beginning in May.

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