Welcome to the Northside Farmers Market, open every Sunday at Northside Town Center across from Warner Park.
This past weekend, I headed down to the Farmers' Market. Not the big Saturday market on the Square, but my super-local Sunday market, the Northside Farmers Market.
While the variety at the Saturday Dane County Farmers' Market is greater, I have to confess that facing the onslaught of people that the Saturday market attracts (especially if the weather is good) can be daunting. The stutter-step pacing from booth to booth is no fun. Not for me, anyway.
I like stopping by the Northside market on Sunday morning and picking up most everything I'd get downtown: fresh greens, pasture-raised beef, maybe some organic bratwurst, cheese, cookies, a big hanging basket for the front of the house. And this time of year, asparagus, rhubarb and plenty of morels.
The Northside market was started in 2005, partly in response to the loss of the area's major grocery store in the Sherman Plaza (now Northside Town Center) shopping center. The area has since gained a full-service grocery in Pierce's Market, but the Sunday farmers' market continues to grow.
While not every vendor shows up on any given week, I can usually count on Earthrise Farm, in Waunakee, for organic beef at most reasonable prices ($4/lb.), and one of a handful of vegetable sellers for spinach or lettuce mix.
Also on hand this past Sunday were Farmer John's cheese, Coyote Creek Angus Beef, J. & R. Farms, Tomato Mountain Farm (salsas and tomato sauces), Blue Moon Community Farm, and yummy baked goods from Capital City Cookies from Sun Prairie. A fresh breakfast of pancakes, omelets and bacon was on hand, with a Thai lunch in the offing, and coffee and smoothies, too.
In the past, Blue Marble Dairy, Hamann Charcuterie and Lee Davenport's Pamplemousse Preserves have been in attendance. And you might even see minor celeb and "White House Farmer" Claire Strader at the Troy Farm booth.
Lakeview Cooperative Preschool was having a benefit bake sale and raffle. The Northside market often has a community-based special event. June, for instance, is traditionally the time when one Sunday is reserved for the Dane County Timebank's Pet Parade, and October has a one-pot meal cookoff.
As we like to say in the Midwest: "Plenty of free parking."
And the number one reason the Northside market wins over the Dane County Farmers' Market on the Square: You can still take your dog with you. See for yourself, in the photo gallery to the right.