Wisconsin summers are pretty glorious. From pontooning on the lakes to road-tripping to music festivals, the energy in this state is palpable during the warmer months. Another reason to love summer Farmers’ Markets. They’ve become a staple in communities across Wisconsin. Here’s just a small smattering of markets worth visiting this season:
- Dane County Farmers’ Market
Madison has a lot to be proud of: The city is home to a world–class university, a collection of beautiful lakes and one of the best farmers’ markets in America. Located on the Square, the Dane County Farmers’ Market is also one of the largest producer-only farmers’ market in the U.S. It takes place every Saturday April through November from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m. Have your rain boots on standby because this farmers’ market occurs rain or shine!
Vendors to look for: Look for Renaissance Farm out of Spring Green, which offers herb-based special food products. (They are especially well-known for their cinnamon rolls.) There’s also Mineral Point-based Hook’s Cheese, which has been blessing us with artisan cheddars, blue cheeses and other varieties of Wisconsin Cheese for over 45 years. Learn about the benefits of emu oil soaps when you visit the Valley View Emus booth at the Dane County Farmers' Market.
- Beloit Farmers’ Market
Located in the heart of historic Downtown Beloit, the Beloit Farmers’ Market has been a community tradition for 50 years and currently boasts over local 85 vendors weekly. The market takes place every Saturday May through October from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. You are sure to find something unique to Wisconsin here!
Vendors to look for: When visiting the Beloit Farmers’ Market, be sure to check out B & T Belts and Prairie Inn Gourmet Dips. B & T Belts is located in Janesville offering handcrafted leather items such as belts, water bottle holders, dog collars and harnesses, dream-catchers and more. Prairie Inn Gourmet Dips is out of Poynette and produces seafood and cheese dips from the finest Wisconsin cheeses. Stop by for a little sampling.
- Downtown Oshkosh Farmers’ Market
Hosting nearly 150 vendors, you are sure to find what you are looking for at this farmers’ market, which was ranked one of the Best Farmers’ Markets in America by The Daily Meal. Downtown Oshkosh Farmers’ Market runs every Saturday June through October from 8 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Expect plenty of Wisconsin homegrown farm products including produce, baked goods, meats, poultry, cheese, eggs, cider, plants and more.
Vendors to look for: When you visit Downtown Oshkosh Farmers’ Market this summer, be on the lookout for Always & Forever Designz, Whispering Pines Farm - Grandma Blake’s and Mr. Ed’s Garden. Always & Forever Designz is located in Fond du Lac and offers jellies and jams from fruits, vegetables, wine and beer. Based right in Oshkosh, Whispering Pines Farm - Grandma Blake’s makes delicious salsas and jams with ingredients that they grow. They have a wide selection for you to choose from and they’re all packaged in old-fashioned mason jars. Our last recommendation, Winneconne-based Mr. Ed’s Garden, makes salsa and dill pickles using fresh produce that is locally grown. These are some great additions to your summer cookout!
- Downtown Appleton Farmers’ Market
With more than 150 vendors, Downtown Appleton Farmers’ Market is a great place for you to find fresh produce, exotic meets and cheese, breads and baked goods, specialty food and hand crafted items. Our crew filmed at the market last summer and loved not only the amazing variety of products, but also the live music and entertainment at Houdini Plaza. Pick any Saturday morning from June through October for a trip to the Downtown Appleton Farmers’ Market.
Vendors to look for: First, look for the guys from Mad Dog & Merrill. These two craft delicious sauces and spices and are wildly entertaining too boot. Another #DWcrew favorite is Main Lea Cooking, where you can stock up on natural salts and oils for your cooking needs.
- Eau Claire Downtown Farmers’ Market
Let’s head to the western party of the state, shall we? The Eau Claire Downtown Farmers’ Market takes place every Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. from May through October. You can find locally grown produce, eggs, cheese, meats and more every weekend from various vendors.
Vendor to look for: Cook Creek Family Farm is one vendor that you won’t want to miss at the Eau Claire Downtown Farmers’ Market! They offer delicious organic chicken, turkey, eggs and vegetables raised on their small family farm located in Mondovi. They also offer soap made using fresh milk from their Alpine dairy goats.
- Cameron Park Farmers’ Market
Head south from Eau Claire and you’ll find yourself in the beautiful river city of La Crosse and it’s Cameron Park Farmers’ Market. This unique farmers’ market experience boasts goods sold from vendors within 100 miles of La Crosse, including produce, plants, meat, dairy, baked goods and more. Enjoy some live music while you browse through the famers’ market and stop by for some yoga and cooking demos. The market runs May through October every Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m.
Vendors to look for: When you stop at Cameron Park Farmers’ Market, some vendors you’ll want to look for are The Great American Pancake Company, Kickapoo Gold and Hickory Wind Farm Alpacas & Fiber. The Great American Pancake Company, located in Cashton, sells—you guessed it!—delicious pancake and waffle mixes ranging in flavor from cinnamon to peanut butter to chocolate fiesta. Located in Viroqua, Kickapoo Gold manufactures pure maple syrup that is organic certified and 100 percent pure maple syrup from the sap of wild maple trees. From Bangor, Wis., Hickory Wind Farm Alpacas & Fiber specialized in alpacas, quality fleece and unique hand-crafted items.
- River Falls Farmers’ Market
If you are looking for some locally grown produce or plants, look no further! River Falls Farmers’ Market requires their vendors to be within 35 miles of River Falls. You will find locally grown produce, apples, free-range chickens, honey, maple syrup, organic meats, bedding plants and fresh flowers. Stop by River Falls Farmers Market every Saturday during May through October from 8 a.m. to noon to see what the vendors have to offer!
Vendor to look for: Falcon Foods is one vendor at River Falls Farmers’ Market that you will want to be sure to check out. Located in River Falls, Falcon Foods produces cheese, meats and premium ice cream. UW-River Falls students actually work under the management of a full-time plant manager to produce these delicious foods.
Have a favorite farmers’ market in Wisconsin or a Special Something from Wisconsin™ vendor? Let us know in the comments below!
The Wisconsin Ag Tourism Association is a member of Something Special from Wisconsin™ is a trademarked program administered by the Division of Agricultural Development at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection since 1983. Every dollar spent on Something Special from Wisconsin™ products and services supports local farmers, food processors, entrepreneurs, our communities and livelihood, as well as the Wisconsin way of life. Something Special from Wisconsin™ products are unique and of the highest quality, making them perfect for gift-giving, special occasions and every day!