Eastside Farmers’ Market Wrap-Up
by Liz Hawley, Cooperative Services Assistant
The sixth season of the Eastside Farmers’ Market has flown by and has now come to a close for the winter. Although it is still early in the fall, the weather is telling us it’s time to head inside, bundle up, and drink some apple cider. Many are to be thanked and congratulated for their hard work, weekly abundance, and loyal attendance.
The weather was at extremes throughout the season, first putting us all through a sweltering heat wave and drought, followed by torrential rains mid-August and an early frost mid-September. Although many crops were lost to the ever-changing and challenging weather, our farmers were able to endure the dynamic climate to bring the freshest produce to the eastside of Madison on Tuesday afternoons. All the vendors appreciate the support they receive from the loyal eastside customers through times of ample harvest and periods of scarcity. According to Farmer John, “The people on the eastside are very progressive. They are enthusiastic about their food.” This enthusiasm is greatly valued, and all of our customers deserve a big “thank you.”
Although the weather throughout the season was dynamic, almost every Tuesday afternoon was beautiful and sunny, perfect for market shoppers. The customers were happy to welcome back many vendors from seasons past: Grace Cheesecakes, Farmer John Cheese, Nature’s Bakery Cooperative, Red Hawk Nursery, Blue Skies Berry Farm, Marsden’s Pure Honey, Morren Fruits and Vegetables, Family Farm Defenders, Columbus Discovery Orchard, Potter’s Crackers, Rainbow Fleece Farm, Ruegsegger Farms, Vang Phia Yang, Sprouting Acres, Cabin Creek Herbs, Harvest Moon Herb Farm, Young Earth Farm, Tart’s, De Soto Orchard, and Emerald Meadows Family Farm (formerly Zander Family Farm).
Additions to the market this season also received rave reviews from market shoppers: Prairie Hill Farm, Kindly Kraut, Westridge Produce, Roots Down, and Underground Catering.
In addition to the wonderful produce, baked goods, meats, cheeses, and honey, the market featured events from raffle drawings to cheese curd giveaways to samples of heirloom cherry tomatoes. The winners of the hanging flower basket and the basket full of fresh market produce were delighted with the gifts from the market. Shoppers also enjoyed live music and art during the season. Farmer John commented on the atmosphere of the market, “I like the time of day; the sun is setting and the wind is dying down, and sometimes there is impromptu music.” The casual ambiance of the market allowed for shoppers to catch up with their favorite vendors while stocking up on goodies of the season.
The Jamerica food cart, owned by long-time EFM supporter Martin Deacon, supplied hungry market shoppers with hot meals for a majority of the summer, and customers appreciated their great food and dedication to Madison’s eastside. Additionally, market shoppers enjoyed Loose Juice and Hot Sammies for a portion of the summer.
A large void would be left without thanking Sich who has supported the farmers and general operation of the market this season through his tireless volunteerism. I would also like to thank Becca and Lynn for filling in when they were needed. Thanks to Lynn for passing on all of her knowledge and market expertise.
The Eastside Farmers’ Market will resume on the second Tuesday of May 2008 at 201 S. Ingersoll. We would like to thank all of the wonderful shoppers who help keep our market in business. The vendors appreciate your support and taste for fresh local products. The Eastside Farmers’ Market is looking forward to carrying on the tradition of providing organic and minimal input farm goods to the eastside of Madison. For information about how to become a vendor at the EFM, please contact me at (608) 251-0884.