If you are fortunate enough to visit the great State of Wisconsin during the summer or fall, you owe it to yourself to find out when the local farmers market is held. Throughout the state, just about every county and many cities/towns bring people together who are producing food to put on family tables. It is a tribute to our agricultural history in the United States but more importantly, it is a wonderful way to support small family businesses.
Many if not all farmers markets hold at least a Saturday market. They often also offer another midweek opportunity for people to buy fresh produce, including vegetables & fruit. Here in Wisconsin, our markets will generally be open through around the end of October.
Just last weekend, I made a trip to the West Allis farmers market. It is one of the nicest with the greatest selection of produce. I went specifically to purchase some "peaches & cream" corn and peaches. The corn was outstanding, however, the peaches were a 50/50 hit & miss. Before making my purchase, I did ask the seller where his peaches came from. I should have been skeptical when he said Michigan. My guess is that they were not as "farm fresh" as locally grown items like the corn I bought.
While I only came for a couple of items, I should note that there were several vendors selling the most beautiful tomatoes I've ever seen. If were weren't grown our own on the back patio, I would have certainly have bought several. Other vegetables offered included peppers of all colors and variations, stalks of Brussels spouts, broccoli, cucumbers, squash, potatoes, onions, carrots and who knows what else that I didn't see.
One thing I noted as I walked about the market was that there were very few tables featuring products made from farm fresh products. I did see one vendor with maple syrup and one of the apple merchants had apple cider, but that was about it. I had hoped to find vendors selling jams and cheeses, but did not. I understand that larger markets such as the one in Madison has many vendors selling farm fresh dairy products.including not only cheeses but also other products such as butter, milk and soaps.
With fall comes the harvest of fruits including not only peaches, but also apples, blueberries, blackberries, cantaloupe and watermelons. I also saw the gourds of falls as well as pumpkins ready for carving next month. One greenhouse brought a full truckload of fall mums that were lush and colorful. People were buying them four and six at a time!
Regardless of where your travels take you here in Wisconsin, it is my sincere hope that you will stop into a local farmers market to buy some fresh produce or goods made by farmers and other entrepreneurial businesses.