After all the challenges faced during the pandemic, the Dane County Farmers Market is definitely ready to celebrate it’s 50th anniversary.
Jamie Bugel, Market Manager for the Dane County Farmers Market, spoke with Pam Jahnke as the vendors get ready to return to the Capitol Square for their morning markets Saturday’s and their afternoon gatherings on Wednesday’s.
Bugel said the market came to a full stop in March of 2020 because of the pandemic, but quickly pivoted to a curbside, order only, option for market supporters that was based at the Alliant Energy Center. While it wasn’t the open air experience and exchange that many enjoy about the market, it was still an option for vendors and also a valuable resource for shoppers that were suddenly very aware of where their food came from.
Bugel says they actually saw an increase in volume of food moved through the curbside service because customers became acquainted with items and vendors they wanted – and ordered more. Still, the market has noticed some changes that may not return.
Bugel says she’s noticed the Wednesday markets are a little thinner than pre-pandemic. She credits the light crowd to the fact that many people have now decided to work from home and aren’t populating downtown office buildings that used to feed the market. There’s also been some change in vendors who may have retired or left the industry during the pandemic.
The Dane County Farmers Market returns to the Capitol Square Saturday, starting at 6:15 a.m. Bugel says vendors will be there until about 1:45 p.m., but if you’ve got something specific you’re shopping for – get there early, while supplies are available.
The Wednesday market happens from 8:30-1:45 on the 200 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.