Highlights from the First Downtown Appleton Farm Market 2013

Appleton Farm Market College Ave

Grab your satchel, comfortable walking shoes, and love for all things local. It’s time for the Downtown Appleton Farm Market!

Though the market’s first day opened under high humidity and no sun, that didn’t stop people from flocking to the stalls.

Armed with pen and paper (and not much cash, curses!) I hit the streets and browsed the shops to see what was new or notable in 2013. My beautiful, wonderful mother Diane Savides agreed to take pictures for me. (Thanks mom!)

Here are some of the highlights from Day one and what you should be sure to catch the next time around.

Arts & Crafts

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Cosmo-Joe showing off his style. (Image Credit: Diane Savides)

Chotchkies and extremely wear-able t-shirts lined the streets of College Ave.

One of my first stops was the Blue Moon Emporium–a trendy, new shop that started as an Etsy account and a dream and now sells stuff from local artists.

I definitely wanted one of their “Moosetache” t-shirts, one of many times I regretted not bringing more money.

Other neat crafts included the wind chimes and planters made from old bottles at AJR’s Glass Bottle Menagerie and environmentally-friendly water bottles and collapsible Tupperware from Just Act Natural.

Spectacle also drew the big crowds as Andy “Cosmo-Joe” Watkins—self-proclaimed “Spray-Paint Artist”—created his galactic masterpieces before a life audience.

Less than a block away, the belly dancers from Navah Mirage also brought crowds with their undulations and colorful costumes.

Tasty Treats

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Vietnam and WWII vets munch on corn. (Image credit: Diane Savides)

You definitively won’t go hungry while you’re downtown. The farmers market hosted a range of food from healthy to decidely not.

On the lean end the unmistakable Kangaroostaurant made an appearance selling white bean burgers, sweet potato fries, and “big kid” grilled cheese (that’s white cheddar on sour dough). Not too far away the always yummy Great Harvest Bread Co. sold an assortment of savory delights.

Tasty crab Rangoons and egg rolls abounded, but weren’t the only ethnic cuisine on the ave. Jambalayas Authentic Cajun Catering featured Cajun food from its Louisiana-native owner. They sold “gator brats” that are not for the faint of heart. Yes, it’s made from what you think.

Lastly, there is what I would lovingly call “fat-tastic fair food.” This includes sweet roasted corn, Funnel cakes, donuts, and stuffed chicken wings. Not good for you, yet SO GOOD.

Fruits, Veggies & Other Fresh Food

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Grabbing some greens from Park Ridge Organics. (Image credit: Diane Savides)

Local, sustainable farms brought their best leafy greens out to share such as Park Ridge Organics and Red Belly Farms. Many places sold strawberries, onions, and spinach. Mmm-mm.

I have to give a shout out to Chong’s Produce. A lovely woman I didn’t catch the name of thrust some loose leaf lettuce into my hands when she saw me looking at their pak choy and fresh radishes. Thanks for that!

Meat lovers had plenty to be happy about with Hample Haven Farm selling grass-fed lamb. I didn’t get a chance to linger there long, but I was definitely intrigued.

One of the most striking visuals of the day was the downward turned lips and big eyes of live trout pressed up against the glass from  Wilderness Springs Trout Farm. I’ve never been much of a trout person, but how can you resist their little fishy faces?

Other Special Features

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A creature from “Where the Wild Things Are” says hello in front of the The Building for Kids Children’s Museum. (Image Credit: Diane Savides)

A few other interesting facts about the Downtown Appleton Farm Market.

1. Many booths bore the logo of “Something Special from Wisconsin”, a program from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture aimed at supporting local farms and entrepreneurs  At least  50% of a product’s ingredients, production, or processing activities must be from Wisconsin.

2. In addition to cash, some booths advertised that they accepted EBT Tokens (from a food share program).

3. The Downtown Appleton Farm Market is going to be hosting special events every third Saturday of the month. (Jun 15, Jul 20, Aug 17 and Sept 21)

If you love fresh produce, arts and crafts, or just being out in the glorious summer sunshine, be sure to hit downtown the next Saturday you get a chance.

But be sure to bring cash. I don’t know what I was thinking.

Let’s Hear From You!

What farmers market activity are you looking forward to this year? Leave a comment below!

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