Saturday, June 17th, was the first installment of Appleton’s outdoor Farmer’s Market.
Over 150 musicians, sponsors and vendors selling fresh produce, meat, cheese, baked goods, clothing, arts and crafts, and more.
This is the market’s 25th year on College Avenue, extending four blocks, and including half a side street and Houdini Plaza.
From the Farmer’s Market Coalition:
“Over the years, the market has evolved from a parking lot space of 30+ vendors to moving onto our newly renovated College Avenue in 2002 with an expansion of 50+ vendors, to now….150+ booths.
Due to the proximity of Appleton museums, we are thrilled to be able to offer programming in Houdini Plaza, with fun and creative art and music projects; from music instruments turned into art mosaic pieces to juggling, square dancing or even Irish dancing demonstrations.
The market hosts 5-6 musical acts each week, separating them throughout the event, so all do well. Henna art and face painting are available on site. Our indoor (winter) market hosts “Kids Market” on the 3rd Saturday, January through May, inside City Center Plaza. There, we offer the kids a chance to sell their handcrafted items, giving them a free space, with table and chair, to give them a sense of running their own business and being young entrepreneurs. The idea was suggested by another local artist/mom who had seen it in another state, and five years later, we continue to promote this program, as well as offer other fun kid friendly activities on that day.”
I don’t believe I’ve seen anything but smiles or expressions of contentment from the people that wander the outdoor farmer’s market. After what seems like six months of winter around here, Appletonians (and Wisconsinites in general) are ready to be outside in the sun and warmth. We had both on Saturday, along with a bout of late spring humidity, but no one seemed to care. I saw many with a slushee in hand to beat the heat.
When I go to the farmer’s market, I have specific vendors that I will visit. They either sell organic produce and/or meat, or they have a gluten-free, dairy-free treat. I promise the latter is good. How could it not be when the business name is Happy Bellies? Their almond cranberry scones are delicious, even to someone like myself who is not a scone fan.
Park Ridge Organics provides my summer salad garden, from red leaf lettuce to fresh pea shoots to yellow beets to cilantro to tomatoes to many other wonderful summer vegetables. Nami Moon is my stop for organic chicken and ground pork, and occasionally duck eggs as a treat. (If you’ve never had duck eggs before, I encourage you to try them. Yes, they are more expensive than store-bought eggs, but they are so rich and delicious. It’s worth the extra cost.)
The Appleton market is one of the biggest in the area, sizing up to markets in Green Bay, Oshkosh and Madison. The Farmer’s Market Coalition does what it can to keep vendors returning year after year, such as not having an over abundance of one type of vendor. They want the vendors to do well and to keep shoppers coming back every week for more of the good stuff.
On Saturday, I had to check out the entire vendor line-up because it was the first market of the year. Many of the vendors are familiar to me. The people that sell hot, buttered roasted corn can always boast a line of hungry shoppers a mile long. The restaurant that brews its own beer is present, selling soda instead of suds. Two area farmers act as the bookends to the market. One can stumble across the goat cheese stand, the dog/cat treats stand, the frozen fish and seafood truck, and the warm chocolate chip stand. Much to see, buy and eat.
I have a few photos for the gallery, but it was difficult to take many given the number of people and the arms and legs that got in the way. Click on each photo to read the descriptions.
I would be open to taking orders for the next farmer’s market, but remember that this is a place that requires your attendance. So, if you are in Wisconsin this summer, take a drive to Appleton one Saturday and enjoy the food, produce, ambiance and smiles.