Feature Article from The Whitewater Press - Summer/ Fall 2010 www.thewhitewaterpress.com
By Donna Wright ~ Whitewater Press Staff Writer
~ Whitewater Farmers Market ~
I love our farmers market. I know people can’t really love a farmers market, they can love going to one or shopping at one. But I swear, I love the one we have in Whitewater every Saturday morning.
For all 19 years of our market, Al Marshall, of Whitewater WI, has managed our Farmers Market in the parking lot of Walmart, 1362 West Main Street, every Saturday morning, 8 a.m. to noon/sold out, and he has it down to a fine art. There are no limits on vendor numbers—everyone is welcome. The only rule is that everything has to be made or grown by the vendor and they have to signed up with Marshall.
I love knowing my dollars are going into the hands of people I share my community with and who will likely re-spend my money in my community. I love knowing that my herbs, honey, produce, baked goods, plants, etc. are made or grown right here and haven’t bounced their way across America in the back of a truck. I love shopping in the open air of the market. I love the attitude of the other shoppers, relaxed while gathering their goodies. I love the vendors’ willingness to share their expertise with anyone who asks. And I love the flavors of sweet corn, peas and greens at their peak. Oh, and tomatoes that taste like tomato—not just the crunchy water we’ve eaten all winter. I really do love our farmers market!
“Our market has been growing every year from the beginning,” Marshall said. “We are at 43 vendors now. Some of them have produce that won’t be ready until a little later in the season, but in all there are 43.” That’s an impressive number.
“Joe Marx (manager of the Whitewater Wisconsin Walmart) has been great to work with,” he continued. “He will help us out any way he can. Location is such an important part and we really have that here, thanks to him.”
“We’ve had a lot of support from the community and we give back, too. Last year we gave $400 to the Whitewater Food Pantry. We were glad we could do that.”
Marshall has had people call from as far away as Chicago searching for information about our market.
The next closest farmers market is in Janesville, but they’re having some problems at the moment and people are dissatisfied. And there is Madison’s farmers market, which is great, but maybe a little too great for some shoppers. First, it’s an hour drive, the crowds of shoppers can be very large and there’s a lot of walking around the large capital square.
So along with many other things, Whitewater has the best farmers market in the area and we’re lucky and thankful to have it. Now, excuse me. I have fresh vegies to eat!
Whitewater Farmers Market