Janesville36.8°

Milton gets new farmers market

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NEIL W. JOHNSON
May 26, 2012
— Rock County is fast becoming a haven for farmers markets, and you can add one more to the list.

This one’s a Sunday affair.


The Farmers and Art Market in Milton started just last week, and organizers say traffic there was jumping.


“It was really, really busy for a Sunday,” said Patty Bailey, one of the market’s organizers.


The market is located on a lot at the corner of Highway 26 and High Street.


Bailey said the market, which runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays throughout the summer, had about 15 vendors and a steady customer traffic during its first weekend.


“There are farmers markets all over the small-area towns, but Milton hasn’t had one in about 15 years,” she said.


Bailey, who owns Patty’s Plants, hosted an outdoor open market twice last summer.


“I had people ask me, ‘Why don’t you do this more often?’” she said.


Market organizers brought the idea of a Sunday market to city officials last year. They pitched it as a way to help draw consumers to Milton in the face of the pending Highway 26 bypass, Bailey said.


Organizers settled on a Sunday market because Saturdays are too busy at Bailey’s plant shop to run a market in tandem, she said. Bailey said city officials asked organizers not to run a weekday market because a childcare facility is located next to the market area.


Plans are to offer an even balance of organic, locally grown fruits and vegetables and plants, along with specialty items such as locally produced soaps, jewelry, artwork and even some woodwork, Bailey said.


Janesville Township resident Barb Guse, one of the market’s vendors, sells vegetables, jams and sells specialty items such as wheat grass and Kimchi, a Korean dish made of spiced, fermented cabbage.


Guse, who also sells on Saturdays at a farmers market in Fort Atkinson, said it’s nice to have a market close to home on Sundays. She said the major challenge will be growing enough produce to fuel two weekend markets.


Despite facing competition from another Sunday market, the Rock County Farmers Market in Janesville, Bailey said she believes Milton’s new market will stay busy.


During the market’s first weekend, some customers came from Illinois looking for specialty organic plants and other items, Bailey said. She said two of them told her last week that they planned to return, and that they’d already told 200 friends about the market on the social networking site Facebook.


“It’s encouraging to know that the word’s getting out there already,” she said.


IF YOU GO


What: Milton Farmers and Art Market. Outdoor market features organic, locally grown produce and plants along with specialty items, art, jewelry and woodworking by local artisans.


Where: 819 E. High St., Milton.


When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Sunday during the summer and fall growing season.



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