May means the blooming of farmers market season
By Correne Martin and Audrey Posten
The arrival of May means the opening of farmers markets. With weekly markets in Prairie du Chien, Gays Mills, Ferryville, Marquette, McGregor and Monona, area locals and visitors alike will have plenty of opportunities to purchase fresh, locally-grown and made products.
Prairie du Chien
Prairie du Chien offers three options: West Side Farmers Market, Prairie Street Farmers Market and Blackhawk Junction Farmers Market.
•The West Side Farmers Market is located to the east of the Main Street/U.S. Highway 18 and Wisconsin Street intersection, across from the Tourist Information Center. It is open every Saturday and Sunday, from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. from May through October. Jim and Barb Fox, of Monona, Iowa, are in their 10th season of providing fresh produce, flowers, plants, baked goods, small crafts and more to customers shopping their market. Their hanging baskets, sweet Missouri peaches and Gays Mills apples are among the most popular items at their market throughout the season, though their produce and other offerings are as vast and fresh as any other.
“We’ve had people from all over the world at our market,” Jim Fox said. “Places like Russia, Australia, Japan, South Africa, Sweden, Hawaii. It’s exciting to see where our customers come from and talk to them about why they’re here.”
•The Prairie Street Farmers Market is held each Saturday from 7:30 a.m. until 12 p.m. in the parking lot next to Sports World at the Blackhawk Avenue/Beaumont Road intersection. This is the market’s fifth season, which spans from May through October. Depending on the season, you’ll find different varieties of locally produced fruits, vegetables, meats, cheese, eggs, bakery products, cider, maple syrup, honey, flowers, herbs and prepared foods made with local ingredients. Live entertainment at the market is the third Saturday of every month, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. For more information, visit prairiestreetfarmersmarket.com or find the market on Facebook.
•The Blackhawk Junction Farmers Market is open on Blackhawk Avenue East every Saturday, from 6:30 to 11:30 a.m., from mid-May through mid-September. Barb Fox also runs this market, which carries many of the same items as the Westside market.
The Gays Mills Farmers Market, which launches May 14, will be held each Wednesday, from 2:30 to 6 p.m., in the Gays Mills Lions shelter on Main Street near the bridge.
Vendors will bring organic and sustainably grown vegetables and fruits, honey, cheese and goats milk products, jams, jellies, pickles and other preserved products.
They will also have vegetable and bedding plants. You can find snacks and supper items, as well as rolls and other baked goods.
Seasonal recipes are provided and special events are announced throughout the season.
Ferryville’s Market in the Park opens for the 13th season in Sugar Creek Park, Highway 35 on the south side of Ferryville. This year it will open on Friday, May 16, as part of Rummage along the River. Then it will be every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. through October, weather permitting.
The market is truly a farmer’s market with Amish produce, baked goods, quilts and baskets every week. Vendors will also have crafts and resale items. Crawford County food vouchers are redeemable at any of the vendors throughout the year.
Vendors are always welcome and local plants and produce are especially desirable as they become available.
Marquette’s farmers market, held at the Driftless Area Wetlands Centre, opens on Friday, May 23. The market will be held weekly, from 4 to 7 p.m. Each market will include live entertainment, as well as products like baked goods, fresh produce (fruits and vegetables), black walnuts, honey, eggs, frozen meat, jams and jellies, wine, plants and flowers, soaps and lotions, handmade greeting cards, jewelry, bird houses and wood crafts.
With room to grow, organizer Rinda Ferguson said the farmers market welcomes new vendors.
The McGregor farmers market will be held each Friday beginning May 30, from 3 to 6 p.m., at Triangle Park. Market-goers can peruse fresh produce, home baked goods, handmade soaps, gift baskets, bird houses and much more while enjoying the musical stylings of McGregor’s Richard Palucci.
More vendors are welcome. Interested parties should contact the Chamber office at (563) 873-2186.
Monona holds two farmers markets each week—Wednesdays beginning June 4, from 3 to 6 p.m., and Saturdays beginning June 7, from 8 to 11 a.m. Held in the city’s Gateway Park, people can check out fresh vegetables, a variety of baked goods and wood crafts.
Becky Fuelling, who has taken the reins for this year’s markets, said she is also open to new vendors, to add variety. Just make sure products are locally-grown or made. She can be contacted at (563) 539-2339.
Farmers market organizers stressed the importance of the markets to area communities.
“In grocery stores, produce is shipped,” Fuelling said, explaining that freshness can become an issue. “It’s good to support local markets because it’s a better product. There are fewer to no pesticides used.”
“A farmers market can be an important anchor for the community,” Ferguson added. “You can meet and support your local farmer, catch up with friends and neighbors, and it’s a great way to get kids involved.”