Organizers of Late Winter Market share tips, changes to improve market experience

After last week's crowds, organizers hope to improve future markets.
view of the crowd walking through the vendors' booths

After more than 4,000 people attended the first Late Winter Market at Garver Feed Mill, organizers are making some updates and suggestions based on feedback from attendees.

In an email newsletter, Dane County Farmers’ Market organizers says many individuals had a negative experience at the market, citing traffic concerns and difficulties navigating the crowds as some of the issues.

“We’re here to let you know that we hear you,” the newsletter says. “Based on lessons learned from the first market and the feedback we’ve heard, we have some updates and clarified info on visiting market so that it is a joyful and delicious part of your winter Saturday mornings.”

To give more room, there will be larger customer aisles and a different layout to make navigating the market easier. The info booth is also moving to the western most bank of vendors.

In regards to the parking issue, which is the biggest concern, organizers suggest avoiding the Garver Feed Mill parking lot. The parking fills up quickly and they’re hoping to prioritize this parking area for patrons with limited mobility. Organizers suggest using other free, public parking options nearby. For a view of free parking options, they created a map with estimated walking times.

Additionally, organizers are increasing signage to help with parking and volunteers will be helping direct people to parking lots—they’ll be giving out flyers at the door.

Organizers also suggest bringing cash since Garver doesn’t have an ATM and tote bags to carry all goodies. Dogs are also not allowed whether on leashes or in bags.

To give time for farmers to set up, market organizers ask people to not arrive early. It opens strictly at 8 a.m. and people can show up anytime it’s open until 12 p.m.

Despite some of the issues of the first market, organizers say they were “overwhelmed with the support for our farmers, bakers, and cheesemakers.”

“This past Saturday, we had some good farmer news: our farmers had a day that would make any local food lover and food system advocate jump for joy—a day where they thrived,” the newsletter says.

There are more than 40 vendors who will be at the market this Saturday at Garver Feed Mill.