MADISON, Wis. — The largest producers-only farmers’ market in the country is celebrating 50 years.
The Dane County Farmers’ Market kicked off its 50th season on the Capitol Square Saturday.
It was a cold start, about 30 degrees at 8 a.m. There wasn’t a full turnout from farmers or customers, but that’ll likely change as the weather gets warmer.
Still, there were die-hards out there who wouldn’t dream of missing the first market of the season. They were bundled up and kept moving to stay warm.
David Nedveck owns The Flower Factory in Stoughton, Wisconsin.
“This market actually, it was one of the first things I did [when I started the business],” he said. “My wife and I, that was back in ’78-'80. Those two years, I actually was selling cut flowers.”
He’s been at the Farmers’ Market ever since.
“We’ve been doing it here at the market for almost 41, 42 years. So I’m a young man, I’ve been doing this since I was a toddler,” he laughed.
Some things looked very different from how they did back in the 1970s and 80s. For one, his son Derek is now at the stand with him. Plus, they don’t have to fight for that spot in the first place.
“It was less organized in the early days. More of a rodeo,” Nedveck said. “You get up here really early in the morning, or you stay overnight. And it was catch as catch can, what spot do you get.”
Now, everything is pre-set.
“We have a system now where you can actually secure a spot, we have a seasoned stall here that we've had now for the last 20 years,” he said. “You know exactly where you're going to be, and your customers know where to find you.”
One thing that’s stayed the same: the people.
“What I'm doing here today is meeting up with people I haven't seen since last summer,” Nedveck said. “Over the years, these people who were customers are still customers, but more importantly they’re friends.”
Dane County Farmers' Market will be open every Saturday from now through Nov. 12, 2022. The market is open from 6:15 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. For more information, click here.