This coming week, in events that get to your heart through your stomach.
Tuesday, April 13
Patrons of the , the seafood purveyor will be stopping by the west side this afternoon to open another season of parking lot commerce. Both domestic wild-caught shell-on headless shrimp by the count and fresh-shucked oysters by the pint and quart will be available, and there may also be fresh-cooked and picked blue crab meat by the pound in stock too. "Prices change according to the catches and all sizes are not available at all times," details the company. Its trucks return to each city it sells in every three to four weeks, on average, though the wait may be as long as six weeks depending on the route and weather conditions. Steve's Wine Market, 3618 University Ave., noon-6 p.m. Sign up for the Fabian Seafood mailing list for more info.
The Edible Book Festival as part of National Library Week activities on campus. This event will feature a display of book-shaped or book-themed creations made with edible materials, with prizes awarded to the best works in eight categories. Bon Appetit writer and Isthmus contributor Raphael Kadushin will be judging the Critic's Choice awards. A look at entries from previous is provided in UW Memorial Library, Rm. 460, 728 State St., 5-7 p.m., free. Call 262-9852 for more info.
Madison resident Eric Johnson is once again teaching his Introduction to Growing Blueberries in Dane County class, based on his experience culivating and harvesting the fruit at his east side home. The lesson will cover site location, planting methods, and threats, particularly the issues of lime content and pH with the city's calciferous soil and hard water. Willy Street Co-op, 1221 Williamson St., 6-8 p.m., $10 owners and $20 non-owners. Call 251-6776 for more info.
Wednesday, April 14
"Let's Retake Our Plates" fundraisers in April for local environmental groups. The program continues this evening with a screening of in support of local agriculture and environmental education. Whole Foods Market, 3313 University Ave., 6:30 p.m., $3. Call 233-9566 to reserve a seat.
Friday, April 16
The relationship between an endangered bird and its dwindling habitat is at the heart of the Central Wisconsin Prairie Chicken Festival, a sprawling weekend-long confab held in Wisconsin Rapids, Nekoosa, Bancroft, Friendship, and Milladore. Founded in 2006 and billed as "A Celebration of Grasslands", this substantial environmental expo features bird watching, guided birding tours, bird banding and radio telemetry demonstrations, a prairie chicken calling contest, performances by Academie de la Danse, the Wine & Roses Festival fundraiser opens this evening with the Winemakers Dinner. This five-course meal will be prepared by Chef Charles Lazzareschi of the Dayton Street Grille, with eight visiting winemakers be on hand to present and discusses the vintages paired with the meal. The benefit menu includes: first course selections of baked oysters with jalapeno and smoked bacon, ahi tuna with wasabi cream on sesame wonton, cumin-spiced shrimp with avocado and tortilla crisps, pomegranate-glazed duck breast with candied sweet potato, and truffled white bean crostini; second course selections of roasted yellow beets with Hook's blue cheese and baby arugula with toasted black walnuts and roasted shallot vinaigrette; a third course of house-cured gravlox with horseradish crème fraiche, toasted pumpernickel, fennel, and red onion; a fourth course of braised beef short rib with cabernet risotto and carmeleized baby carrots; and, a fifth course of chocolate and peanut butter roulade with espresso chocolate sauce. Proceeds will go to benefit the Concourse Hotel, 1 W. Dayton St., 6:30 p.m., $150. RSVPs must be made by April 14. Call 232-3409 for more info.
Saturday, April 17
The Dane County Farmers' Market returns to its classic outdoor setting at the Wisconsin Capitol this weekend, opening more than six months of bountiful Saturday shopping at Madison's definitive tourist attraction and gathering place. Typical seasonal products found at the market in April can include asparagus, baked goods, bedding plants, bunch onions, cheeses, cut flowers, dry beans, greenhouse cucumbers and tomatoes, hanging baskets, lettuce, maple syrup, meats, morels, perennial plants, rhubarb, and spinach. This is famously the nation's largest producer-only farmers' market, and its reputation continues to grow alongside the crowds thronging its stalls. Capitol Square, 6 a.m.-2 p.m. Call 455-1999 for more info.
Locals looking to avoid the downtown crush this morning can take their business to the season opener of the Westside Community Farmers' Market, located in the University Hill Farms neighborhood just west of Hilldale. This market is also impressive in size, with nearly 50 vendors participating last year over the course of three seasonal sessions, and attracts a devoted following of shoppers. Hill Farms State Transportation Building, 4802 Sheboygan Ave., 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Call 873-4096 for more info.
Opening day of the southern Wisconsin farmers' market season also marks the release of the Southern Wisconsin Farm Fresh Atlas, an annual guide to local eats produced by the published by the group cover most of the rest of Wisconsin.
The Isthmus Green Day environmental expo returns in its third year with a food-focused lineup of speakers and sessions, adding to the culinary carnival atmosphere in downtown Madison today. The keynote speaker is Chef Rick Bayless, a Chicago restauranteur and maestro of Mexican cuisine who hosts a PBS cooking program and won the first season of Top Chef: Masters. The schedule also features a talk about "Organic Eating on a Dime" by Rural Renaissance co-author Lisa Kivirist and cooking demonstrations by the , along with more speakers, exhibits, demonstrations, vendors, info booths, and a "sustainable" wedding ceremony. Monona Terrace, 1 John Nolen Dr., 9 a.m.-6 p.m., $5 or free for kids under 12 and those holding Wisconsin Film Festival tickets or arriving by bus or bike. Call 251-5627 for more info.
Circle Sanctuary Nature Preserve in Barneveld hosts is annual Earth Day Festival today, commemorating the 40th anniversary of the environmental observance founded by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson. Events include talks on tamarack trees, bluebird preservation, and the preserve and its cemetery project, as well as nature walks, a prairie burn, and a pair of potluck meals. Circle Sanctuary, 5354 Meadowvale Rd., Barneveld, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., free with donations welcome. Call 608-924-2216 for more info.
An Evening of Good Taste is a scholarship fundraiser dinner prepared and hosted by the Culinary Arts and Baking/Pastry Arts programs at Madison College: Truax Campus, 3550 Anderson St., 6 p.m., $100. Call 246-6003 for more info.
Sunday, April 18
The pancake breakfast fundraiser this morning for the Amaranth Diabetes Foundation. This benefit will also feature clowns, vendors, and three screenings of Never Weaken, a classic short silence film starring Harold Lloyd. Masonic Center, 301 Wisconsin Ave., 8 a.m., $6 for breakfast and $3 for the film. Call 213-9058 for more info.
Most gatherings organized by the this afternoon. Members of the group are planning on meeting on the shores of Lake Monona for some food and camaraderie before heading across the street to Olbrich Park, 3527 Atwood Ave., 12 p.m. Join the group for more info.
A Shot for Breast Cancer, a benefit toast at all of its 15 locations across the Midwest. The restaurant is collaborating with Jameson to raise some $25,000 for locally-focused breast cancer foundations and support groups, and for a greater measure of slàinte, is simultaneously attempting to set the Guinness World Record for the "largest shot slam." Participants will receive a single shot of Jameson for the donation, with the first 150 also getting a commemorative shot glass and an official place in the record attempt. Claddagh Irish Pub, 1611 Aspen Commons, Middleton, 3:30 p.m., $7 donation. Call 833-5070 for more info.
Free food, that consummate lure for turning out college students, is the main item on the menu at the second annual Lakefront on Langdon. Summer starts early at this feast, with servings of free brats, hot dogs, corn on the cob, pizza and ice cream. This fest also features the Iron Recipe Challenge and cook-off, in which student chefs will prepare and serve dishes, with the assistance of "celebrity helpers," that were previous submitted to the contest. Students will get to vote for a favorite in each category -- thick-crust or flatbread pizza and a sandwich or wrap -- with the winners getting a kettle gas grill and a spot on the Terrace restaurant's menu. Trivia and pie-eating contests round out the schedule. Attendees will need to present a valid UW student ID in order to gain entrance. Some tickets will be held for the day of the event, which has a capacity of 350 people, so arrive early and eat fast. UW Memorial Union Lakefront on Langdon, 800 Langdon St., 6-8 p.m., free. Call 265-3000 for more info.
Monday, April 19
this evening for another Indian cooking lesson. The menu for the class includes tangy tandoori chicken, Indian veggie burgers, and srikhand, a homemade yogurt cheese flavored with saffron, nutmeg, almonds, and pistachios. Whole Foods Market, 3313 University Ave., 6-8:30 p.m., $25. Call 233-9566 for more info.