This weekend, on a whim, or rather out of curiousness, I decided to venture to the capital of Wisconsin, Madison, to attend their farmer’s market.
All last week I kept hearing my coworkers talk about the Madison Farmer’s Market and how big and amazing it was, and that the most sought after item there is this spectacular cheesy bread. Upon farther inquiry, I was informed that this farmers market was so big, it went around the entire capitol square! And I had to get there early otherwise, navigating the market would take me at least two hours. And I should bring lots of money. And a giant tote bag.
I really didn’t believe them until I got there.
It took me an hour/hour and a half to get to the Capitol building from my apartment. I found a cheap parking garage close by and walked the rest of the way. The best way to navigate the Capitol area/UW-Madison campus area is on foot or by bike.
Armed with my giant canvas bag and $20 in my pocket and my camera, I entered the market at 10am and this is what I saw:
It was 10am and it was already packed! Maybe I should have gotten here earlier… Anyways, I decided I would do a full circle of the market and on my second loop, buy the things I wanted. Along the way of my first loop, I saw vendors off all kinds! There was the usual produce, but there were herbs, and flowers, the honey sellers, beef and venison sellers, fresh squeaky cheese curd stands (the squeakier the curd the better it is!) and pure maple syrup, and clothing vendors, ceramics and print stands, musicians, a car show. Everything under the sun!
Not long after my discovery of the Venus fly traps, I ended up on the side of the Capitol facing State Street, that was nothing but a sea of people. This is where most of the musicans and item vendors were, including a mini antique car show.
Can’t go wrong with a lil blue grass music.
I’m a sucker for amazing design and typography!
After venturing almost the full length of State Street, I found my way back to Capitol Square and continued my loop. Then I noticed they had cows on the plaza. Yes cows, real, mooing, cows. Apparently, each weekend, something different is featured. This weekend it happened to be cows. Welcome to Wisconsin, the dairy state.
The next street over from the cows, was another street dedicated to other vendors but this time, it was mostly diary related. They hate an awesome local country band playing, a grilled cheese booth, more cheese curds – fresh and deep fried (yum!), kids games and face painting (you could get painted with cow spots!) and lots of other diary booths. It was great!
I have never seen a grill cheese set up like this before! It rotated around so everything could be grilled evenly and quickly! I was completely committed to getting one of these heavenly sandwiches until I saw the line…
Ain’t nobody got time for that.
After getting my cheese curds (it is a mandatory thing) I finished my loop. On my second time through, I knew what I wanted and from which booth. I ended up walking away with fresh rhubarb, sweet onions, salad mixes, an asparagus, “matching” rings made from spoon ends for me and my mother.
The last booth I stopped by was the famous cheesy bread stand.
This is my loaf of spicy cheesy bread! It was huge! I sat on the lawn of the Capitol to rest and more importantly, sample a piece of it… And it was heavenly! Better! Beyond heavenly! It was warm (they just pulled my loaf out of their portable oven when I bought it!) and gooey – you pulled a piece off and cheese would pull away with it! And had a nice kick of spices. It was phenomenal!
All in all, it was a great little mini adventure! So if you are ever in Madison, WI, over a weekend, please, please, please, get up early Saturday morning and go to the Capitol and attend this market!!!!! It is wonderful – you get to buy organic and support local farmers and get a little Wisconsin culture under your belt! And get the cheese bread! You won’t regret it!
Location: Madison WI, Capitol Square
Money goal: $20
Money spent: $40 (the ring booth accepted debit cards)
Total time at market: 2 hours 30min