As regular readers of the blog know, I had visited Madison a total of one time before I moved there a week and a half ago. The visit was brief, but although I was very much occupied with finding an apartment, I did manage to catch a few snippets of what life might be like in the capital of Wisconsin. There appeared to be, as you might expect in a university town of this size, quite a local music scene. There was a co-op in the hippy part of town, lots of sailboats on the lake, and a farmers market. So this morning I eagerly walked over to the capitol building to check out the last of these amenities. I was envisioning a few stalls along one side of the square and hoping for some flowers mixed in with the produce. What I found was an absolute crush of people slowing walking around the entire square, perusing organic vegetables, award-winning cheese, honey being sold next to a bees in a glass hive, potted plants, gladiolas for 60 cents a stem, fresh trout etc., etc. It certainly put the Union Square Market in New York to shame . . .
The market took up all four sides of the square around the state capitol building. People took a time out from the hectic pace of the market to relax on the squares verdant lawns. At the corners of the square, non-profits and political groups set up stands and tables to take advantage of the passing crowds.
Active shoppers battled though touristy crowds to get to the goods. Some of the produce displays rivaled the aesthetics of my beloved New York delis.
Potted plants share stall space with arrangements of dried flowers. Fall is right around the corner.
One clever farmer had even turned dried sunflower heads into these hanging bird feeders, seeds for everyone. The fun continued down State Street, which leads from the capitol to the UW campus. State Street was also lined with stands for the annual "Taste of Madison" fair, which I'm hoping is why the farmers' market was so crowded. Because if it's like this every Saturday, well, I'll just have to go on Wednesdays instead.