Jeanine Baker of Madam J’s Sticky Fingers Jams and Jellies is no stranger to the world of farmers markets. She has been selling her all natural jams and jellies at the Milwaukee County Winter Farmers’ Market for the past three years and has participated in another market for 16 years.
“What I like most about these markets is talking and meeting with people because they tell you stories,” Baker said. “If someone tastes a sample of jam and it reminds them of their mom or grandma, that’s the best part … it brings back memories.”
The farmers’ market, in its sixth year, drew more than 2,000 attendees at the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory last weekend. It offered a variety of farm-raised products to help attendees to “Eat Local Longer.”
“Eating local longer refers to our vendors who have developed methods to prolong their season during the winter in Wisconsin,” said Chris Glowacki, market manager. This is the second year the market has been at the Mitchell Park Domes.
Visitors entering the Domes were met with the fragrance of pumpkin. The room was full of families and friends interacting with vendors and eagerly moving from table to table experiencing a variety of foods.
Forty-three vendors sold cheese, beef, lamb, vegetables apples, honey, fish, chocolate and more. The vendors included Wisconsin Soup Company, Decatur Dairy, Viola’s Honey and Ela Orchard. Fresh food vendors were required to accept the Wisconsin Quest Card from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to be a part of the market
Karen Herrera, a vendor from Sugar and Flower Bakery in Greendale, said she appreciates that the market exposes her products to more people. “We get to interact with a diverse crowd of people,” Herrera said, adding that there is a nice camaraderie among vendors as well.
One couple, Stephanie Ford and Derek Broyhill, from the Bay View neighborhood, heard about the market on a whim and decided to go. “We love going to the farmers’ market in Bay View in the summer so we thought we’d come here and check it out,” Ford said.
Ford and Broyhill said they most enjoyed the variety of the market and exploring the tropical and desert domes. “We’ve been taking photos for fun.”
Glowacki noted that “the mission of the market is to support local farmers and their products.” She mentioned a past vendor, Becky’s Blissful Bakery, which was just starting in business when the market began and now has products in the Williams-Sonoma catalog.
“I think what people appreciate most about this market is that they are able to talk face to face with the farmer who makes and grows that product,” Glowacki said.
This was Katie Mihm’s second time attending the farmers’ market. “I like coming here because it’s a nice tropical oasis during the winter,” Mihm said. “I get to walk around and try new products and buy local.”