We’re changing things up a bit for the Madison Fling’s Saturday morning schedule, June 25. Instead of loading our buses first thing in the morning, we’ll have some “free” time to explore the Dane County Farmers’ Market, conveniently located a block from our hotel—along the tree-lined grounds surrounding the Wisconsin State Capitol building. This area is referred to “the Square” in Madison. The Market encircles the Square.
The grounds surrounding the State Capitol are an ideal site to host the market. The magnificent landscape and stunning architecture serve as an impressive backdrop. The Dane County Farmers’ Market is the largest producers-only farmers’ market in the U.S. It’s been going strong since 1972, when the mayor recognized a need to unite two strong cultures in the county—rural and urban—to allow city dwellers to reap some of the county’s agricultural benefits. All products are Wisconsin-grown. As a producers-only farmers’ market, vendors are limited by their production and harvest yields, so they sometimes sell out of items.
Get there early (the market opens at 6:15 a.m.) and you’ll get the best selection. Also, it gets very busy, so you’ll want to allow enough time to explore before our day’s other events begin. (We expect to load buses mid-morning: exact times to be published later.) What can you expect to find at the market? The season’s best bounty of vegetables, fruits, flowers, meats, cheeses, baked goods, and specialty products from approximately 200 vendors. Market producers regularly receive national and international recognition for the quality of their products.
When you visit the market, you can get to know the people who grow, raise, and produce the food and other products offered. The vendors behind the tables are the most knowledgeable resources for their specific areas, and they welcome questions. Bring your own bag, or you can buy a souvenir bag at the market. When you arrive at the market, you’ll see that the flow of foot traffic heads in one direction around the square. It’s recommended that you follow the crowd, and walk with the vendors on your right-hand side. Another tip: Be prepared for fun, and allow yourself a little time to just sit (there are plenty of spots around the perimeter and on the capitol grounds) and watch the people go by.