Food: it's something we all have in common, seeing as everyone needs to eat. Luckily, we have a plethora of Farmers Markets to get fresh, local food all over Ozaukee County; and, if you do it right, you can hit one almost every day of the week! Here are the details:
Port Washington Port's Farmers Market will be the first to open for the season on Saturday, June 3rd, during the annual Pirate Festival. Main Street is closed between Franklin and Wisconsin Streets from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. every Saturday from June 3rd through October 28th, with fresh produce, honey, soaps, bakery, live music, and more.
Saukville Located at Veterans Park in the center of downtown, Saukville's Farmers Market happens every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., beginning on June 25th and going through October (except September 3rd), with fresh produce, flowers, and arts and crafts.
Thiensville Thiensville's Village Market opens Tuesday, June 13th at Village Park, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and will continue every Tuesday, except for July 4th, through October 24th. Live music and The Best "Dam" Chef Competition are some of the highlights of this market, aside from fresh food, flowers, and more.
Cedarburg New this year, the Cedarburg Farmers Market will be located at Firemen's Park on Wednesday afternoons from 3-7 p.m. beginning June 21st and through October 25th. Find fresh produce, cheese curds, honey, breads, handmade soaps, meats, and more. Note that there will be no market July 5th or August 2nd.
There is also the Cedarburg Makers & Growers Market, which features a variety of artisans and locally grown produce, happening every Friday from June 16th through October 27th from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. in the Cedarburg Cultural Center parking lot.
Fredonia A relative newbie on the Farmers Market scene, the Fredonia Farmers Market takes place at the Fredonia Government Center from 2-6 p.m. every Wednesday from June 14th through November 8th.
Grafton Grafton is also trying out a new location for their market this year, which will open on Thursday, July 6th, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Park, along the river, and will continue through September.
If you just can't make it to the market, there are other ways to get your local food! Outpost in Mequon is committed to local and regional produce and products, with several of their items coming from producers within 100 miles of the co-op. There are also a number of farms in Oz that sell directly to consumers, including Witte's Vegetable Farm and Kay's Home Farm (which has pasture-raised beef) in Cedarburg, Rare Earth Farm in Belgium (which is a CSA, but also has an online store), Polzin Farms in Grafton (which has pick your own strawberries, and more!), The Victory Garden Farm (which is hoping to add CSA shares soon) and Willoway Farm CSA (which even has flower shares) in Fredonia, and Wellspring CSA in Newburg.
Pat and Amy Wilborn have a passion for local food -- so much so that they started their very own aquaponics business, PortFish, Ltd., out of their home back in 2009, growing greens in a closed loop system in which fish waste fertilizes the plants, which then clean the water for the fish. While the demand for local food was growing, the availability of it was limited to the Farmers Market season, from June through October. In 2010, Pat and Amy helped to extend the season by starting an indoor Winter Farmers Market.
Now in its 6th year, the Winter Farmers Market will return to the First Congregational Church on Webster Street in Port Washington each Saturday in November and December from 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. (except 11/26 and 12/24), with live music and a wide variety of locally grown food and locally produced goods.
Visitors can purchase meat and eggs from Burkel Family Farms in Fredonia, honey from Bethel's Seven Hills Honey or chicken, pork, lamb, turkey or eggs raised right in Port Washington from Lone Rooster Farm. There's delicious food and bakery from Chalkboard Kitchen in Mequon, produce from Wellspring in Newburg, and so much more!
Live music has been a part of the market from the beginning, and Amy Wilborn is often one of the people providing it. Her traditional Irish Band, Green Sails, will help kick off the first Farmers Market on Saturday, November 5th. Amy plays the fiddle and sings, along with band mates Bonnee Beth on percussion, tin whistle, story-telling & dancing, and Sandy Weisto on guitar & vocals.
The Winter Farmers Market is an excellent place to connect with the community, as well as to meet your local food producers. First Congregational Church is located at 131 N. Webster St. in Port Washington. For more information, visit the Winter Farmers Market Facebook Page, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (414) 202-7840.
Food is a common denominator. Whatever our differences may be, we all need to eat, and food has a way of bringing people together.
In the past several years, the push to buy local food has even surpassed the trend to buy organic food; this is because the money that we spend on locally grown food stays in our local economy, and also because the food doesn't travel as far to get to us, which means it's kinder to the environment. Additionally, in our age of electronic disconnect, people have a need to reconnect -- even as far as to connect with the people who are producing the food we eat. One of the best ways to do this is at a Farmers Market.
With the new addition of the Fredonia Farmers Market this year, Ozaukee County can now claim a total of six Farmers Markets to attend over the spring, summer, and fall. Even better, the markets are spread throughout the week, so you can buy local food throughout the season, throughout Oz! Here is the lineup:
What to do if you want to buy local, but can't get to a Farmers Market? Ozaukee is very lucky to have two grocery stores that really support local food: Outpost Natural Foods in Mequon, and Slow Pokes Local Food in Grafton, which also specializes in gluten-free food.
Every time you purchase something that is produced locally, you are casting a vote for that item; telling suppliers that this is the kind of item you prefer to purchase. The more local food we purchase, the more local food will be grown, and the better for our local economy and our health!