I’m always giddy with excitement when Saturday comes around, and it’s not just because it is finally the weekend (though that does help) — but because Saturday is farmers’ market day! I’m very fortunate to only live three blocks away from the state capitol, which makes getting to the farmers’ market a breeze. What’s so great about the market is that because it’s such an engaging activity, you don’t necessarily need to bring a companion along. There’s so much to look at and contemplate buying, so there isn’t too much time for idle chatter with a pal. Having a second body barrel through the market’s tough waves of eager and hungry people can almost hinder your shopping experience; it’s much harder to stay together due to the constant forward push. Regardless, I have a handful of favorite purchases I always seem to come back to (in no particular order):
1. Spinach cheese empanada from Stella’s Bakery
I can’t eat the spicy cheese bread all by myself, but I sure can eat a whole spinach cheese empanada without a lick of assistance. I’m always taken over by this feeling and surge of comfort, biting into my empanada. There’s something about its baked quality that gives it a truly delectable homemade taste.
[$6 (card minimum is $10)]
2. Strawberry smoothie from the Smoothie food cart
There’s a black food cart right outside of the Wisconsin State Historical Museum that sells smoothies and freshly squeezed lemonade. My absolute favorite is the strawberry smoothie because it almost has the texture of a slushy and tastes very fresh.
[$4, cash only]
3. Chocolate chip banana bread from Sugar River Country Bakery
For some reason, I have an obsession with banana bread. Honestly, couldn’t say why; it’s simply delicious. Now, if you make a stop at the Sugar River Country Bakery, they sell banana bread with chocolate chips in them (which…like…I mean…I’m NOT complaining…because I love chocolate)! What is nice is that the loaf isn’t gigantic, so you can buy one and not feel guilty for eating it…all of it.
[$3.50 per loaf, can use card]
4. Pumpkin cream cheese muffin from Chris and Lori’s Bake House
I made my way over to Chris and Lori’s for the first time in all of my farmers’ market visits. I know they’re famous for their scones, but I purchased a pumpkin cream cheese muffin as I showed up to their stand when they were trying to get rid of product at the last minute, and they didn’t really have any scone flavors left that appealed to me. It was amazing! It’s definitely bigger than your average-sized muffin — very moist and perfect for fall.
You will most likely smell Ernie’s before you see it. Their kettle corn is to die for simply on smell alone. You can’t go wrong with classic kettle corn, but if you’re feeling adventurous, the butter pecan kettle corn is a must. Ernie’s is usually on the outskirts of the main market, near a bunch of food carts. Keep your eye out for it as you make your way around.
Let me just say, it’s definitely worth waking up earlier in the morning on a Saturday to go to the farmers’ market. The experience alone is truly unique, regardless if you make any purchases or not. Sometimes I go to the farmers’ market just to get some fresh air. Any Saturday is a good Saturday to make your way over to the market. Remember: don’t forget to take cash!