LaBelle cheeses will be featured at the summer farmer's
market, which starts two weeks
earlier this year on May 3.
OCONOMOWOC - The
Oconomowoc Farmers Market will kick off two weeks earlier this
year, starting on May 3, and will open at 7 a.m. each Saturday
in the south municipal lot behind the Avenue Square Mall,
175 E. Wisconsin Avenue.
expanding the summer (market) to 26 weeks and with the winter
market we get closer to having year-round fresh food in our
community,” said Oconomowoc Area Chamber of Commerce Executive
Director Katie Miller. “It’s the goal we keep striving for.”
will now run 26 weeks from May 3 through Oct. 25, which is an
emerging industry standard, Miller said. It will feature 37
vendors and (to date) two concessionaires.
In response to
vendor and customer feedback the market will also open 30
minutes earlier at 7 a.m.
“We did a
survey of customers and vendors last year and they
overwhelmingly said they wanted a longer market,” Miller said.
Market Planning Committee Chair Lisa Geason-Bauer asked that
patrons respect the 7 a.m. opening so that staff can create a
safe and attractive event each week.
The summer farmers market isn't
just about ready-to-eat produce, it offers shoppers the
opportunity to become their own local food producers by
selling seedlings and plants.
“We’ll be really
working hard and fast to get everybody set and get the
barricades up, so we’re really encouraging people to hold off
until 7 a.m. to do their shopping,” Miller said.
will also feature Electronic Benefit Transfer/Supplemental
Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, which were piloted during
the winter market. The program is known as the QUEST card in
strongly in making fresh, local food available to all of our
neighbors,” Miller said. “Folks can visit the market to redeem
their EBT benefits for market tokens which will be accepted by a
number of vendors.”
Bauer said she
expects to see a boost in usage of the system now that it’s
being featured at the more traditional summer market.
quite a need in our area for people to have access to fresh,
healthy local food,” Geason-Bauer said.
will return on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month. It
features local artisans selling everything from jewelry to home
Coordinator JoEllen Stearns said that the artisan vendors have a
fairly strict set of requirements including products being made
locally, sourced locally and made of 25 percent reused
The summer farmers market helps
brighten home gardens.
popularity is a positive for the market, but all three
organizers said the focus is on the traditional vendors.
markets are run by a committee of farmers and vendors, while the
city’s market is run by the chamber.
“It is unusual
for a chamber to be the lead agency in a farmers market but it
gives us an opportunity to create outreach opportunities for our
members and vice versa,” Miller said. “One of the ways we have
leveraged the farmers market to benefit the business community
is through our day sponsor program.”
allows chamber businesses to set up an an information booth at
the market for the day. Miller said it was very successful in
its launch last year.
The move to
the south municipal parking lot has fostered growth in the
attendance has been steadily rising and based on vendor demand
and desire to come to our market, I have to believe they are
seeing some success,” Miller said.
estimates the market saw 35,000 visitors this year and expects
that to grow.
information, contact the chamber at 567-2666, email JoEllen
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit