Most towns have their small farmers’ markets that are unheard of in other places of the world.  That is not the case when it comes to the Dane County Farmers’ Market.  People come from far and wide to walk around Capitol Square and see everything that people have to offer, especially certain specialties that have become extremely well-known.

Dane County Farmers’ Market

The Dane County Farmers' Market, located around Capitol Square is known as one of the nation’s largest farmers’ markets. With all the food, produce, and flowers, you need at least an hour to fully see all that this market has to offer. However, there are certain items that no one should miss when they are at the Dane County Farmers’ Market.

1. Stella’s Hot and Spicy Cheese Bread

Stella's has become one of the most famous items sold at the Dane County Farmers’ Market. It is a warm loaf of bread with melted cheese inside that warms your mouth with each bite, and scattered pepper flakes keep it interesting. You think that it is a large bread that you will have leftovers from, yet before you know it you’re eating the last piece wishing you had another.

2. Cheese Curds

bacon, chicken
Emily Taub

It is safe to say that you will be able to find cheese curds and samples at every other tent. They range from mild, medium and sharp cheddar, garlic dill, horseradish, and the list goes on.

Most tents allow people to take samples with toothpicks, whereas the Brunkow Cheese of Wisconsin tent has fried cheese curds that are hot, sizzling, and full of flavor even with its small size.

3. Sweet Breads

coffee, chocolate
Emily Taub

Similar to cheese curds, there are bakery tents that can be found every few steps as you’re making your way around the square. They are complete with creative cookies, flavorful fruit tarts, and ingenious breads.

There are loafs such as blueberry crumble, banana, lemon poppy seed, orange chocolate, zucchini, rhubarb, and many others.    

4. Pesto

Unique from other tents is the Renaissance Farm Spring tent. They have an assortment of pestos, olive oils, and vinaigrettes.  For samples, pasta with different pestos and bread to dip in the various oils are put out. Personally, pesto is my favorite food; it can be used as a condiment to compliment other things, as well as suffice as delicious on its own.  

5. Cinnamon Rolls

Emily Taub

The cinnamon rolls sold from the Renaissance Farm Spring tent are beyond compare to anything around. They are white on top and covered with sugar and sweetness.

They’re big enough to fill your stomach for the moment, yet once your sugar coma is over you’re left wanting more.  These cinnamon rolls can be the perfect breakfast, snack, dessert, or anything.   

6. Fresh vegetables

The Dane County Farmers’ Market is the nation’s biggest producers-only farmers’ market. Whether it be mushrooms for chicken marsala, onions and radishes for a stir fry, or rhubarb for a pie, this farmers’ market has it all.  Also featured are different types of lettuce, cucumber, green beans, potatoes, asparagus, and carrots.

7. Donuts

chocolate, cookie, cake, gingerbread
Emily Taub

Donuts from the Farm Pride Bakery brings a whole new look to the stereotypical donut. They come in the form of braided loaves topped with frosting, sprinkles, coconut, plain glazed, or nuts. They also have fritters the size of a human head, coated in glaze with different types of fruit.  These can be rationed, yet it’s a challenge because of how addictive each bite is.   

8. Flowers

The flowers that can be seen from everywhere on the square adds color and spirit to the farmers’ market. Pinks and oranges and yellows fill the air from the flowers that were carefully grown and picked to decorate tables and homes.  Various kinds can be found at different tents, but there is no shortage of beauty wherever you go.  

9. Popcorn

Emily Taub

Unbeknownst to me, popcorn is quite the phenomenon in Madison. The Tietz Family Farms popcorn stands out when it comes to this delicious food at the Dane County Farmers’ Market. It is homegrown in Wisconsin, and they sell a multitude of flavors, including their sampler that is comprised of yellow, ruby red, white, shaman blue, calico, and mushroom popcorn.

Everyone knows the Dane County Farmers’ Market is a must-see sight in Madison.  But it is about finding these special foods that really makes it so memorable.