by Lisa Lozano
Every Friday, we’re letting you know what is fresh and in season in a different part of the U.S. by spotlighting a unique regional farmers market.
This week, we’re talking to Djuanna Hugdahl who runs the Downtown Appleton Farm Market, a very unique market in chilly Wisconsin that is held inside during the winter months! Read on for our Q&A.
Lisa Lozano: What sets your farmers market apart?
Djuanna Hudgahl: Our market goes year round. We have a midweek market, a Saturday market, and right now we have our indoor market. That market starts the first Saturday in November and goes all the way through the end of May, and then we move outside.
LL: What do you typically sell at the winter market?
DH: In the inside market, a lot of our vendors typically have some produce leftover in November, until the first big frost, you’ll find a lot of potatoes, a lot of the root vegetables, squash, onions and other items like that. Then you’re also going to find a lot of canned goods where the vendors have taken their produce… and made jams, salsas, or pickled items like pickled asparagus, pickled mushrooms and of course pickled cucumbers. Then we also have vendors that have the meat and cheese and eggs. That’s actually why we extended our market, this is the first year that we’ve gone into May, because we have vendors that have those products, and they were looking for a venue to sell them in the months that we didn’t hold our [outdoor] market.
LL: What do you have in season right now?
DH: Right now you’re going to find asparagus, you’re going to find your spring mixes of lettuce, microgreens, canned goods, and you’re also going to find a lot of [vegetable and decorative] plants.
LL: What special activities do you have at the market?
DH: For our winter market [last Saturday] we had the kids market. So you would find kid vendors, selling their own crafts and products at the market. We offer them a free space to learn how to be their own boss and run their own business, little entrepreneurs at the market. We have some kids that handmade jewelry, birdhouses, paper crafts, paracord keychains, and we have a really cute family that does repurposed gift bags, [fabric bags that can be used again and again].
LL: What would you say is the main benefit of shopping a farmers market versus shopping at a typical grocery store?
DH: When you shop at the farm market, you get to talk to the farmer, you know exactly where your food is coming from. … I think that personal one on one connection of knowing where your food is coming from is important to people. People want to know how the animal is raised, how the apples are grown.
LL: What tips do you have for customers for choosing produce?
DH: I would talk to the farmer, that person right there. There’s many times when I ask the farmer, ‘What is that?’ Because I haven’t seen it before. I would definitely ask the farmer.
LL: What advice would you give to a customer shopping at a farmers market for the first time?
DH: I would walk through the market and look at everything, get a feel for what you’re interested in, take it all in. … You’re sure to miss something if you just quickly go on by.