After nearly five years of waiting, new vendors like Patterson Sugar Bush and Ghost Valley Farms are excited to kick off the spring season at the Dane County Farmers’ Market.
Many new vendors arrived Saturday with their unique products and some nervousness about the season’s opening day.
In addition to the new vendors, DCFM Market Manager Sarah Elliot said patrons can expect changes to the market and its website this season.
Tim Patterson, a partner at Patterson Sugar Bush, said one of their goals in coming to the farmers’ market was to expand the amount of customers they directly sell their maple syrup and maple sugar to, as opposed to selling their products in bulk to a distributor.
Co-owner of Ghost Valley Farms Eric Slavens said he has been going to the Dane County Farmers’ Market with his family and friends since a young age. Seeing the different varieties of products available at the market attracted him to become a vendor.
“How much diversity there was down there,” Slavens said. “You could go from potatoes to flowers to stuff you’ve never heard of or seen.”
Slavens said he is excited to be able to reach 1,000 people in a day at the DCFM to sell their hot sauces to. Ghost Valley Farms has sold their products at smaller markets but the DCFM will help them get their name out there, he said.
Nami Moon Farms co-owner and farm manager Chris Holmen said coming to the farmers’ market is a pinnacle achievement, even though Nami Moon was not at the market on its opening day. He said they plan on selling poultry, pork and produce during the season.
DCFM gives them a chance to get away from their farm and talk with people, Holmen said. Being a DCFM vendor is something more exciting than usual, he added.
“The farmers’ market experience is something we look forward to,” Holmen said. “It’ll just be more exciting than usual, I suppose. Not knowing what quite to anticipate and then kind of just rolling with the season to see how the market goes.”
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Despite excitement from some of the new vendors, others said they were nervous about some things on opening day.
Mary White, head baker and owner of Honey Bee Bakery, said she was nervous about getting a spot on the square.
“I’m kind of a shy, quiet kind of gal,” White said. “So jockeying for a spot makes me nervous.”
But White said the DCFM manager assured her everything would work out.
Nadia Alber, co-owner of Ducks in a Row Family Farm, said she was nervous about the presentation of her booth since they are new to the market. People who have been at the market for many years know the tricks to making an attractive booth, she added.
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Elliot said the farmer’s market will be unveiling a new website near the end of April. They will also be partnering with Wisconsin Whisk to create seasonal recipes for products available at the DCFM that are in season, she added.
“We’re really excited for another fun year,” Elliot said. “It’s exciting to have almost 20 new members for a total membership this year is about 275 members.”