Farming is a way of life for those in Wisconsin and the state is most known for its fruitful production of anything as it relates to dairy. But America’s Dairyland boasts a great variety of fresh produce too, and the local farmers’ markets across the state showcase the its bountiful harvest all year long. While there are a handful of winter markets, the over 70 markets beginning late spring running through early fall are the most popular.
If you attend a market in the late spring such as I did during my visit to the Waukesha Farmers’ Market, you’ll find an array of bedding plants, herbs and seasonal vegetables such as asparagus, rhubarb and radishes. Year-long staples also include all-natural soaps, local honey, maple syrup, pickled veggies, dog treats and of course, cheese. The Waukesha market even had a healthy amount of tie-dyed garments and accessories to satisfy all of our inner hippies.
However, rhubarb, tie-dyed tees and maple syrup were not on my grocery list and so therefore I opted to eat my way through the market instead of shop my way through it. Check out some of my fresh finds from the food vendors below (which also happened to equate to eating all of my daily calories in less than an hour).
The RHUBBQ Dog from Twisted Bistro
A bacon-wrapped hot dog topped with a BBQ rhubarb chutney and root beer caramelized onions. Don’t knock it ’til you try it.
Peanut Butter & Strawberry Mini Donuts from Dan-O’s Donuts
The standard PB&J just got taken up a notch.
Pulled Italian Beef Taco from Wisconsin Meat Company
A different take on the Italian Beef you normally see in a sandwich. The fresh, home-made pico de gallo was the cherry on top giving the taco a necessary crunch and some acidity.
Strawberry Boba Tea from Thao’s Sister
A little too much on the smoothie and sweet side for me, but I appreciated the fact that this grab-and-go vendor specialized in Asian cuisine.
Liege Belgian Street Waffle from Wafel Straat
A classic Belgian waffle that was dense and not-too-sweet. This subtle sweetness comes from the batter being infused with pearl sugars that caramelize once pressed. Viola, the perfect waffle!
If you opt to attend a farmer’s market in the heart of summer you’ll likely find a larger selection of produces such as berries, corn and squashes. Fresh cut flowers are often quite popular in the summertime as well. The Dane County Farmers’ Market around the downtown square in Madison receives high praise each year, but below are some good local markets that can be found in the Milwaukee area if you prefer to stay close to home.
- Fondy Farmers’ Market
2200 W. Fond du Lac Ave
Milwaukee, WI 5320
- West Allis Farmers’ Market
6501 W. National Ave
West Allis, WI 53214
- Tosa Farmers’ Market
7720 Harwood Ave
Wauwatosa, WI 53213
- Waukesha Farmers’ Market
125 W. St. Paul Ave
Waukesha, WI 53188
An incredibly longer list encompassing more Wisconsin farmers’ markets can be found here. Happy feasting and produce hunting this summer!