Home Cities Foraging at America’s Farmers’ Markets: Our Top 5

Foraging at America’s Farmers’ Markets: Our Top 5

Foraging at America’s Farmers’ Markets: Our Top 5

4. Dane County Farmers’ Market, Madison, WI

Dane County Farmers Market is a Saturday and Wednesday tradition in downtown Madison.

Over 300 vendors throughout the year provide the best vegetables, flowers, meat, cheeses, and specialty products. All produce is provided by local individuals who you will find behind the tables selling their produce and products.

The local producers have received national and international recognition for the quality of their products. One of the best advertisements for this quality is a large number of local chefs who come to purchase their produce at the Farmers’ Market.

Dane County Farmers Market photo
Photo by gas_station_sushi

There is a lot going on in Capitol Square on a Saturday. There are four separate events happening at the same time, but the centerpiece of these events is the Farmers’ Market.

The Farmers’ Market is joined by Street Musicians who add to the fun in the Square, Arts and Crafts Vendors and Non-Profit, Political and Public Information on the State Capitol Grounds.

One suggestion, if you plan to go to the Farmers’ Market bring your own cooler to leave in the back of your car. There is much to do in Madison, and after you shop at the market, you can keep your purchases on ice in the cooler and then you can go out to dinner, do some shopping, visit a pub, or just sit and do some people watching as the activities progress in  Capital Square.

The Farmers Market was founded in 1972 by former Mayor of Madison Bill Dyke. He wanted to bridge the state’s urban and rural cultures. The Farmers’ Market in Mayor Duke’s mind represents the open markets that he experienced while traveling in Europe.

When the Farmers Market began there were only five booths, today you will find over 180 vendors and around 15,000 people shop there every Saturday.

John Lutz is one of the vendors at the Market. He sells vegetables. He believes that shopping at the Farmers’ Market is a great place to meet people and to educate them on where their food is from and how it is grown. John Lutz says this about shopping at the Farmer’s’ Market,  “There’s a connection between people that you just don’t get when you buy your food from a grocery store, and it gives people a higher appreciation of what they are eating”.

Open: Every Saturday and Wednesday from 6:00 AM – 2:00 PM

3.  Burlington Farmers’ Market, Burlington, VT

Burlington Farmers’ Market photo
Photo by churchstreetmarketplace

The city of Burlington, Vermont rests on the beautiful shores of Lake Champlain.  It also hosts one of the most popular and highly acclaimed year-round farmers’ markets in the country.

The market specializes in produce, meats, baked goods and handmade crafts, but it also serves up delicious sandwiches, soups, pastries, and desserts so you can shop and at at the same time. Nirvana.

Hale Market Homestead photo
Photo by churchstreetmarketplace

The Summer Outdoor  Farmers’ Market is held in Burlington’s City Hall Park from May through early autumn.  You can visit over 90 booths which are filled with fresh local, seasonal fruits and vegetables, meats, dairy, plants, and flowers.  Oh, and you can even get herbal bug spray, Vermana’s Hippie Bug Spray, to be specific.  Don’t overlook the wines, maple syrup, hummus, herbal medicines, yarn, handmade clothing, metalwork, and jewelry.  By the way, this is a partial list; there is so much more.

Open: Every Saturday from 8:30 AM -2:00 PM

It’s snowing a little and below zero outside. Some homemade soup would sure taste good, but you don’t have the time to make it.  I guess you’ll just have to have another frozen dinner.

But wait, there is also a winter market in Burlington, which occurs in Memorial Auditorium.  Although smaller than the summer market, the Winter Indoor Farmers’ Market retains the same energy.  It’s also a place to gather during that wonderful winter weather to catch up on community news and visit with friends.

The Winter Indoor Farmers’ Market has 50 vendors with about 1500 people attending on a regular basis.  Here you will find winter vegetables and produce, hand crafts and a whole host of prepared foods, such as cookies, natural sodas, coffee, gourmet donuts from Donut Dilemma, and soups.  Yes, soups, walk over to the Market and get some soup. It will warm the cockles of your heart.

Open Every other Saturday from November to April from 8:30 AM -2:00 PM


Jamie Stewart America Unraveled's resident expert on all things higher ed!


  1. We live in Santa Fe and love the Farmers Market. It’s also open on Tuesdays- thought it’s a smaller market. Another farmers market we used to love- haven’t been in years is the one in Boulder CO.

  2. Your reporter has apparently never been to the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market in California. Almost 40 years old, and taking up six blocks and hundreds of vendors, the Wednesday morning market features year-round access to some of the finest produce, fruits, small-batch goods and food products in the country, with up to 9,000 buyers every week.


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