Madison businessman Bill Lubing is ready to turnip the beet as the new manager of the Dane County Farmers’ Market, which will return to the square Saturday for the first time this year.
In a setting where genuine customer interaction is essential, Lubing’s goal as manager is to make the farmers’ market an exceptional experience where visitors can establish a bond with local farmers.
Lubing said farmers provide the market with their own personal touch by selling their goods first hand. The ability for customers to interact with vendors allows them to develop a mutual sense of participation and community, he said.
“If you have a question about how something is raised, you can just ask the person across the table questions such as, ‘What did you use to raise these tomatoes?’ or, ‘What do you think is the best way to prepare them?’” Lubing said.
Although Lubing was not originally planning on applying for the management position of the farmer’s market, the opportunity to work with local farmers and help support the Madison food economy was too enticing to pass up.
Since beginning the job on April 1, Lubing’s primary responsibilities as manager have included promoting the market and overseeing its finances.
“I am going to be working on the books, working on the website and then making sure all of the vendors are lined up on Saturday,” Lubing said. “There are a lot of different elements to the job, and that really intrigued me.”
While the market’s board of directors ultimately decides the location of booths and regulations of the market, Lubing said he facilitates these decisions. This includes providing the board with information on the market and ensuring decisions are made effectively.
Lubing has developed strong ties with the Dane County Farmers’ Market as the writer of its weekly newsletter for the past six years. The newsletter gives readers a summary of current events, future proposals and stories about some of the local farmers in the area.
Lubing said the management position is a great way to expand on his experiences with the newsletter. He said already knowing many of the local vendors has made the transition even easier.
“Both feet hit the ground and I have been running ever since,” Lubing said.