Heigh Ho the Derry-O the Farmer in the Terrace

Though we relied upon the kindness of strangers to locate it, Molly and I both thoroughly enjoyed our Saturday at the Dane County Winter Farmer’s Market.

Nothing but empty grounds and our very own shadows greeted us when we arrived at the State Capitol, eager to shop at the outdoor market we’d heard so much about.

Turns out, the market had closed for the summer. Calendar challenged but ever observant, we spotted small clues that told us our morning walk might not have been in vain. Here was a man with a broccoli head poking out of his back pack, there a biker juggling juice.

Intrigued, we turned right and headed toward the lake where, eventually, in the basement of Monona Terrace, we found a bustling market full of charm and fresh food.

We took a lap to absorb all of that Midwestern goodness and selectively made our purchases: arugula from the old farmer with the creative sign, pear cider from the distracted chatter, garlic from the friendly Hmong stand, spicy cheese bread from the impressively portable bakery, fresh cranberries from the organic farmers, and cabbage roses because they’re Molly’s new favorite flower.

Limited by time and our two sets of arms — it is amazing how heavy a gallon of pear cider can get — we reluctantly left.

If you’re in the Madison area this winter, treat yourself to a Winter Farmer’s Market visit. It runs through December 22 and then moves to the Madison Senior Center, where it will be open every Saturday morning through April 13.

A bountiful harvest awaits, even at the winter market
We were very impressed by this portable bakery and the really delicious spicy cheese bread.
A bustling market.
Loved this wise farmer’s sign “Frost Sweetened Spinach.” He offered free samples.
Buttercup squash and a bowler hat
There is no garlic like a fresh grown garlic.
Molly took a break on our walk back and I noticed her pants matched the trees.
I believe our state capital is one of the nation’s loveliest.


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