The Farmer’s Market may conjure images of fresh fruit and veggies sold in town during the summer. Fresh off the farm. That’s of course, not inaccurate, but there is so much more than just that. Bobbi Jo talked with Market Manager of the Dane County Farmer’s Market in Madison, Sarah Elliot. There are so many more ways producers can make an income, from value-added products to forages. Sarah has seen everything from corn cob jelly to cooked nettles!
The Dane County Farmer’s Market is a producer-only market. Everything is made by the person selling it. That includes jellies, hot sauces, pestos, and other condiments. People sell bouquets of flowers, wreaths, and dried flowers. If you can make it from something you’ve grown, you can sell it. Sarah said Dane County has a separate category just for forages. This includes morels, nettles, purslane, all kinds of greens growing in your yard or garden you might not know are delicious and nutritious. Cooked nettles, for example, can be used like kale.
Sarah said every farmer’s market is different, however, so check the requirements of yours to sell. The state of Wisconsin also requires licensing. Plenty of people qualify, though, so the market is a viable option for growers needing some extra income.