Dane County, Wisconsin Market Report
It’s that magical time of year, mid-summer in Madison, that sweet corn and sweet peas are available at the exact same time as tart rhubarb and tart blueberries. Want cherries instead? Several farmers are offering tart, sweet and rainier cherries by the pint or quart. The summer has been cool enough that several farmers are still coaxing along a bit of spinach, and yet it’s been warm enough that the first wee bulbs of fennel are making an appearance. The Saturday Dane County Market is once again overflowing with abundance.
Today I went early, in an effort to beat the heat and humidity promised for later today. I was rewarded by a quart of incredibly sweet strawberries from Door County; their northern location means that strawberry plants are still producing while ours in Illinois have given in for the summer. Right now I’m eating my fill of cherries and blueberries, but I’m hoping in another couple of weeks that one of these orchards will have fresh peaches again.
Prices have come down dramatically in just the last few weeks on things like freshly-dug potatoes and cucumbers – these items are plentiful now. And the tomatoes… the heirlooms are ripening along with the early bird varieties. But the best pick today was the sweet corn. There are several things I rarely eat off season, asparagus and berries among them, but for me sweet corn also falls into this category. That first taste of sweet corn, lightly charred on the grill, made for a fantastic after-market lunch.
One more plug: last fall, I made the rather unfortunate discovery that I am gluten-intolerant, making the many bakeries in the Market off limits for me – including that famous Hot Spicy Cheese Bread. But wait! One bakery, Silly Yak Bakery, has come to the rescue with loads of gluten-free products, ranging from breads and muffins to cookies and pies. I swear by their buns, especially the garlic & cheddar – it’s so good to eat a substantial sandwich or hamburger again. And I need to hide the GF snickerdoodles from the rest of my gluten-eating family, because no one can tell the difference. Each week, Silly Yak has coolers full of their gluten-free products at the market.