Spring Fresh

Photo by Rachel Lukas.

Several local farmers markets will start up again this month

A sure sign of spring is the return of local farmers markets, but what you’ll find available at spring markets, compared to farmers markets later in the season, is very different. 

Around the Door, a variety of farmers markets are opening up, offering locally grown produce, farm-fresh meats, canned goods, raw honey and much more. Here’s a sampling of some of the seasonal bounty you may find at your local farmers market this spring.

Cool-weather Produce

If you’re a fan of fresh salads and adding nutritious greens to your smoothies, spring markets are generally loaded with cool-season favorites such as spinach, chard, baby kale and a variety of lettuces. Spring is also the season of tasty shoots and microgreens. Not only do they make pretty garnishes, but they’re packed with health benefits, too.

Niche Produce

Morels, ramps, fiddleheads – these are just a few of the wild delights that may make an appearance at your local farmers market during the early part of the season. Though farmed, additional “limited time only” treats may include garlic scapes, spring onions, broccoli rabe and asparagus.

Garden Plants

If you’re planting your own garden this year but want a jump start on your seedlings or a few potted herbs, many local farmers markets sell plants during the spring. Although some herbs may be available throughout the summer, spring is the time to take home any heirloom tomato or pepper plants that you want to add to your garden. The same goes for any flowers that you want to spruce up your garden beds and landscaping. Another perk of buying plants from a local farmers market is it can introduce you to new varieties. 

Local Makers and Artists
Although not all farmers markets allow handmade arts and crafts, many do. This can be a great way to learn about new and emerging small businesses and makers in your community and give a boost to the people behind them.

Ready to fill your basket with local produce and goodies? Here’s a roundup of the farmers markets opening for the season in May.

May 15

Baileys Harbor
Sundays through Oct. 16 (no weekly market July 3), 9 am – 1 pm, town hall lawn, 2392 Cty F

The largest farmers market in Northern Door, the Sunday market features a wide selection of produce, canned goods, art, jewelry, skin-care products and more. 

May 17

Tuesdays through October, 9 am – 1 pm, Lakeside Park, 6282 Hwy 57
Featuring vendors that are all Door County residents, the market showcases a balance of 30% handcrafted items and 70% farm produce and products. Vendors offer a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables; locally made breads, cookies and other baked goods; and a variety of jams, jellies, meat, fish and cheese. Live music each week entertains shoppers during their visit.

May 27

Egg Harbor

Fridays through Sept. 30 (weather permitting), 9 am – 1 pm, Harbor View Park, 7809 Hwy 42

The Egg Harbor farmers market is back for a sixth season, featuring an array of fresh vegetables, fruits, flowers, cheese, meat, honey, syrup, jellies and canned foods.

May 28

Fish Creek

Wednesdays through October, 9:30 am – 1:30 pm, Settlement Shops, 9106 Hwy 42The farmers market at the Settlement Shops will kick off its season with the annual plant sale, featuring annuals, perennials, herbs, hanging baskets and more, as well as organically grown early-season vegetables, jams and canned goods. The regular weekly market, weather permitting, will begin Wednesday, June 1.

SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT: Get to know your local growers

Farmers markets are a great way to increase access to local, fresh food, and to support your local growers and businesses. To help you become better acquainted with your food and the people behind it, here are a few questions to start the conversation during your next market visit.

Where is your farm located?

One benefit of the local farmers market is helping to reduce our “food print”: a term for the carbon footprint involved in getting our food from farm to plate. “Local,” in farmers market terms, is generally considered anywhere within 100 to 150 miles of the market. 

Did you grow or raise this?

It isn’t uncommon for some market vendors to purchase produce, flowers and other items at wholesale and then resell them as their own. That may not seem like a big deal, but it can lead to some vendors undercutting local farmers or makers who put hours of hard work and dedication into getting their goods to market. 

What are your growing practices?

If how your produce is grown is just as important to you as where it is grown, this question can provide some insight. Some vendors may be certified organic, and others may adhere to sustainable practices. Most producers love to talk about their farm and the things they grow, so this is a great ice-breaker question to learn more about the food you’re buying and the grower behind it. 

What is this item?

One of the best things about local farmers markets is the opportunity they provide to try new things. If you see an unfamiliar item, ask about it! Ask what it is, how it tastes and how to prepare it. You just might find a new favorite. 

What is in season next?

Get a preview of what will be at the market next. It’s also a great way to learn more about your local farms and all the various items they produce. 

Source: Farmers Almanac