Spring is in the air, and although it may still feel like winter outside, one sure sign of spring is the return of Wisconsin farmers markets. Consumers in our state have endless opportunities to connect with their food, learn how it is grown and put a face to the farmers who work each day to grow it. While more grocery stores and markets are sharing this information in stores and roadside stands, there's nothing like making the food connection first hand by visiting producers at a Wisconsin farmers market. Wisconsin is home to more than 250 farmers markets in communities throughout the state. With the average American being five generations removed from production agriculture, these markets provide the perfect opportunity to create a better understanding about how food makes its way to the kitchen table.
Wisconsin farmers markets showcase the diversity of our $59 billion agriculture community by offering fresh, colorful produce from apples to zucchini, and value-added products such as honey, jams, maple syrup and more. Many markets even offer everything you need to make your meals complete, including meats, baked goods, which are available year-round, and beautiful fresh flowers to brighten your home.
The thing that makes farmers markets in Wisconsin so special is the chance consumers have to talk face-to-face with the farmer who took pride in growing and producing the product. It is a great way to have your questions answered and put your mind at ease about the way the foods were produced. Our state's farmers are committed to preserving the quality of our air, water and soil, as well as providing our animals with the best possible care. By participating in events such as local markets, farmers are showcasing this commitment. When farmers sell directly to their neighbors, they are able to communicate and share their stories.
There are hundreds of wonderful farmers markets sprinkled throughout the state, but Wisconsin is also home to the largest producer-only farmers market in the country - the Dane County Farmers Market, located on Capitol Square. This Madison tradition takes place every Saturday even in the winter when it moves indoors. It's also open Wednesdays during the summer. During your visit, you will find a bounty of agricultural products, all grown and produced in Wisconsin. Approximately 300 different vendors are featured at various times throughout the year with around 160 vendors on any given day. Be sure to get there early for the best selection. For more information about this one-of-a-kind Wisconsin gem, visit http://dcfm.org.
Not only do farmers markets provide an excellent opportunity for consumers to connect to local producers, they also benefit local businesses and the local community in other ways. Dollars spent close to home tend to stay close to home. Consumers buying locally from farmers markets are supporting a local, family farm in Wisconsin, which keeps dollars circulating in the community, stimulating the local economy.
With so many farmers markets spread throughout our state, you are sure to find one in your community or travels. To locate a farmers market in your area or travel destination, visit the Wisconsin Farmers Market Association website at: www.wifarmersmarkets.org/
Remember, Wisconsin agriculture is yours. Today, tomorrow and always.