Keeping it ‘Fresh’ at the Eau Claire Farmers Market

Transitioning from winter to summer means making the transition to the summer farmers market

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Hannah Angell

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Keeping it ‘Fresh’ at the Eau Claire Farmers Market

Freshly picked flowers for purchase at the summer 2018 Farmers Market.

Freshly picked flowers for purchase at the summer 2018 Farmers Market.

Freshly picked flowers for purchase at the summer 2018 Farmers Market.

Freshly picked flowers for purchase at the summer 2018 Farmers Market.

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As the snow melts and flowers begin to bloom, the Winter Farmers Market has come to an end — a fresh food market that was hosted indoors every other Saturday from Nov. 10 to April 13 at the L.E. Phillips Senior Center downtown — and Eau Claire looks to the beginning of the summer farmers market.

While the Winter Farmers Market offered 15 vendors featuring meats, honey, syrup, eggs, bakery goods, coffee, dressings, popcorn, hummus/chips and vegetables, the summer market will quadruple the number of vendors with about 60 vendors offering fresh products, a food truck and potted or fresh-cut flowers, Deidra Barrickman, the farmers market manager, said.

Summer 2019 at the Farmers Market will have more produce compared to previous years, Barrickman said.

Attendees can expect vendors bringing certified organic chicken, pork and some vegetables, a vendor bringing specifically cheese and a couple bringing some more unusual vegetables, she said.  

Paul and Bridget McIlquham, the owners and operators of  McIlquham Orchard with their three sons, sell their own pre-picked strawberries and Honeycrisp apples, said owner and operator of McIlquham Orchard, Bridget McIlquham.

They have three generations of family members selling on Saturdays at various times, McIlquham said.

“The business does well and the market is very accommodating,” McIlquham said. “It’s such a fun atmosphere to sell in. People are so appreciative of the produce.”

The owner of Sam’s Produce, Dan Sam, touched on the importance of fresh produce.

“I want the consumers to know about the freshness of our produce,” Sam said, “measured in hours from harvest to market compared to days or weeks at a grocery store.”

The Downtown Farmers Market operates in a covered pavilion in Phoenix Park located on the corner of Riverfront Terrace and Madison Street.

Other than produce, attendees this summer can expect various locally owned pop-up shops by local artists with tents, tables of crafts, trinkets and other homemade goods. Live music will also be a feature of the event, Sam said.

For those looking to buy summer produce, listen to live music or purchase locally made goods, the market will be hosted every Saturday beginning May 4 to Oct. 26, according to their official website.

Angell can be reached at [email protected]

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