Fresh Cheese Curds at Dane County Farmers Market in Madison, Wisconsin.

Dane County Farmers Market: Squeaky Cheese & Local Produce

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One element of travel that I believe is underrated is eating locally. Often we might think of eating local types of food, but we may not put much consideration into eating food that is locally sourced. One great way to source local food is through farmers markets. In places like Thailand, farmer’s markets are a such a large part of the culture that most tourists get their produce at the market. In places like the United States, we may have more convenient options for food on our travels. Restaurants and grocery stores are open everyday and might be less crowded. This brings me to Dane County Farmers Market.

The Buzz on Dane County Farmers Market

Considered the largest farmers market in Wisconsin, Dane County Farmers Market is worth a visit for all travelers. In this case, the farmers market is part of the culture. Sure, it may be only open on one day of the week and there is sure to be crowds, but attending the market is a great experience for all travelers passing through Madison.

Capitol Building In Madison Wisconsin during the Dane County Farmers Market

Situated near the capitol building in Madison, Dane County Farmers Market is one of the best ways to experience the city. You will get a sense of the city’s history and culture, while experiencing the most famous squeaky cheese!

Saturday on the Square

The specific event we attended was the Saturday on the Square market. Hosted from mid-April through mid-November, this farmers market has everything you could want throughout the season! From fresh produce and cultivated mushrooms to squeaky cheese curds and various homemade gifts, there is certainly something for everyone here.

Fresh produce at Dane County Farmers Market

As we ventured around the Square, we were met with bright colors, exquisite smells, and crowds of people who, like us, were enjoying the warm Summer morning and some snacks for the walk.

We were on a cross-country roadtrip from Indiana to Colorado when we stopped through Dane County for the Farmers Market. Therefore, we took the opportunity to stock up on some snacks for the road that included fresh berries, veggies, and, of course, cheese curds.

Vegetables at the Farmers Market

Wisconsin’s Famous Squeaky Cheese

In addition to the benefits of supporting local farms and eating sustainably, exploring locally sourced cuisine can be educational!

Have you ever wondered what makes Wisconsin’s famous cheese curds squeaky? Well, we certainly have, and being right in the heartland of these delicious novelties created a great place to find the answer to that question.

It turns out that the squeak we sometimes—but not always—hear when munching on the tiny bites of dairy-filled-deliciousness comes from the tightly woven protein network in the cheese. When we bite down, those protein networks “rebound” from our teeth, creating a squeak. Importantly, however, the squeak only occurs for a short period of time after the curds have been produced. That’s why you only get the squeak from fresh cheese curds.

Final Thoughts on Dane County Farmers Market

Dane County Farmers Marker is worth the trip even just for those sure-to-squeak fresh cheese curds. But, that’s not all this wonderful place has to offer. Unless you, yourself, are an avid farmer, you are likely to encounter some new produce, including multiple species of mushrooms we saw throughout the market and the bright pink French radishes pictured above.

If you find yourself in Madison, Wisconsin during the April-November season, we highly recommend a Saturday morning outing to the farmers market to enjoy some fresh cheese curds, local produce, and a welcoming ambience!

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Frequently Asked Questions about Dane County Farmers Market

What is the Dane County Farmers Market?

The Dane County Farmers Market is a renowned farmers market located in Madison, Wisconsin, USA. It is one of the largest producers-only farmers markets in the country, featuring local farmers, producers, and artisans.

When and where is the Dane County Farmers Market held?

The market is held on Saturdays throughout the year, with the outdoor season running from mid-April to mid-November on Capitol Square in downtown Madison. In the winter, it moves indoors to the Monona Terrace Convention Center.

What can visitors find at the Dane County Farmers Market?

Visitors can find a wide variety of fresh, locally produced goods, including fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, flowers, baked goods, and artisanal products. The market showcases the diverse offerings of Wisconsin’s agricultural and craft communities.

Is the Dane Farmers Market a producers-only market?

Yes, the Dane County Farmers Market is a producers-only market, meaning that all products sold are produced by the vendors themselves. This ensures a direct connection between consumers and local farmers and artisans.

How does the Dane Farmers Market support local agriculture?

The market supports local agriculture by providing a platform for farmers to sell their products directly to consumers, promoting sustainable and locally sourced food. This, in turn, strengthens the local economy and fosters community connections.

Are there special events or activities at the Dane County Farmers Market?

The market occasionally hosts special events and activities, such as chef demonstrations, live music, and themed celebrations. These events enhance the overall market experience for visitors.

Can visitors find organic and sustainable products at the Dane County Farmers Market?

Yes, many vendors at the Dane County Farmers Market offer organic and sustainably produced goods. The market encourages environmentally friendly practices, and shoppers can find a range of eco-conscious products.

How does the Dane County Farmers Market contribute to the community?

The market contributes to the community by fostering a sense of community engagement, supporting local businesses, promoting healthy eating through access to fresh produce, and creating a vibrant public space for residents and visitors alike.

Stephanie Wilson

Stephanie was born and raised in Colorado where she developed her great appreciation for exploring big open spaces outdoors. She is a Sociology PhD and advocates for the discipline of applied sociology in her role as a founder of Applied Worldwide, a digital content production and consulting company. Dr. Wilson is an adjunct professor of sociology at the University of Northern Colorado and a researcher of health inequalities. She is also a dancer at heart, serves on the Board of Directors for the Colorado Dance Collective, and is always looking for her next opportunity to perform, teach, or choreograph.