The Madison Farmer’s Market

I hope you all had very restful, relaxing and rejuvenating Fourth of July weekends! Mine was spent in Madison, Wisconsin where I went to college and it was utterly perfect. One of my favorite parts about Madison is that it’s not just a college town. After spending four years at the university and countless other visits, I still discover new things with ever visit. Last summer, I dubbed my visit to Madison as our “Unofficial Taste of Madison” because when R and I thought of what to do in our favorite Wisconsin city, it mostly revolved around food. This trip was no different.

We had so many amazing meals and I can’t wait to share them all with you! But first, I thought it’d be nice to kick off the week with some beautiful pictures of beautiful food straight from the Madison Farmer’s Market. If you’re not familiar with the layout of the city, the grand capitol building sits at the top of a small hill surrounded by greenery and flowers, which is surrounded by a one-way street that wraps itself around the building in square. And it is in this square that the glorious farmer’s market resides. Here’s just one side:

Farmers, artists, lobbyists and regular town crazies border the capitol square every Saturday morning from April to November, blooming with fresh produce, meats, flowers and even some ostrich jerky. Now, you may be thinking to yourself, “Madison doesn’t sound so great. This is like every farmer’s market I’ve ever been to… except for the ostrich jerky…” But wait. There’s more. CHEESE! Where else but Wisconsin can you get the freshest “squeaky” cheese curds, the tastiest cheese spreads and the most amazing samples of all types of cheese?! There’s no question, the cheese stands set this farmer’s market apart from all others.

Three flavors of “squeaky” cheese curds.

In fact, when R and I first moved to Chicago, we went to a farmer’s market near my apartment. Having only experienced the Madison market, R wandered from stand to stand in complete confusion wondering where all the cheese was!

Hot, fried cheese samples (left) and different types of cheese spreads (right).

But in all fairness, I understand that it’s not all about the cheese. Here are some pictures of the other beautiful foods we saw as R and I shuffled past the stands with the rest of the crowd. Unfortunately, we had no way to store perishable items, so I was forced to “ooo” and “ahh” without purchasing much of anything (except for some Rhubarb Jam and Black Popcorn).

Also, a note: I’m still learning the art of food photography and these pictures turned out beautifully. I see this as a testament to the food since my photography skills leave much to be desired. Pure loveliness at its simplest.

Find a farmer’s market near you!

And last, but not least… some recipes….

Farmer’s Market Restaurant Carrot Souffle

Farmer’s Market Vegetable Chowder

Farmer’s Market Veggie Wrapwich

UPDATE: I just found this unique roundup for farmer’s markets called To Market, to market at A scientist in the kitchen. Read about my Madison farmer’s market experience and other bloggers’ from around the country!

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  • noble pig

    What an amazing foodie weekend! Happy belated 4th to you.

  • Liz

    Those pictures make me SO jealous and hungry. I wish there was a good farmer’s market around here that I could get to, but they’re always on inconvenient days. Someday I swear I’m going to hit one of them and go nuts.

  • cheesehead

    You mentioned cheese curds! The best come from the proclaimed “Cheese Curd Capital of Wisconsin” in Ellsworth, Wisconsin. The Governor of Wisconsin gave them that title! They are so squeaky good! Their cheese is ALL NATURAL and is made from rBST free milk. They are so yummy!
    They do have a web site and sell fresh and lightly, hand-breaded cheese curds. They sold 104,000 lbs to the Minnesota State Fair last year and they are in A&W Restaurants. If you go to a Milwaukee Brewers home game you can buy the breaded cheese curds there. These cheese morsels remain the color of milk: White!
    (Have you ever drank a glass of orange milk?)

    You can even purchase breaded cheese curds – and deep fry at home. Or if you purchase one of their fresh cheese curds packages (Deli section of Cub Foods for example) there is a very simple Four Ingredient Recipe on the back of the package – it is easy to make your own batter. Recipes are on their web site. Found in many grocery stores – But they may be in the Deli or Meat sections…Just ask for Ellsworth Cheese Curds! YUMMY!

  • SweetBird

    Oooh….here I am bragging about the farmer’s markets in my area, but we don’t get cheese curds. I’m jealous! Those look delicious… I guess that’s the difference between Wisconsin and California, eh?

  • Maya

    I love Saturday mornings around here – that is when I go to the local farmers market.I just adore cheese curds.

  • Michal the weight loss help guru

    Wow, It looks like a great market to buy fresh vegetable. I would love to go there someday.

  • kat

    Since we use a CSA & have a garden we don’t make it out to the Framer’s Market here that much. I miss going every week like we did in San Francisco. BTW our CSA, Harmony Valley Farm selling at your farmer’s market I think.

  • Gay

    Lovely pictures. And even lovelier fresh produce. I’ve just been to a farmers’ market last week and its really refreshing to go through all those vegetables.

    PS- Thanks for joining To market, to market…

  • Aiping Wang Fulepp

    great thoughts on a overlooked yet vital aspect of our lives. Quiet time me to really be in my body and in the space…

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