Don’t you just love taking a stroll through Eau Claire’s farmer’s markets?
Do you ever wonder how all that fresh produce makes its way to the farmers markets before getting baked, fried, or grilled in your home?
My friends are always amazed at how everything is so beautifully arranged with the fruits and veggies all bursting with flavor. You really can get every color in the rainbow right at the farmers market!
Every vendor and family has their own way of harvesting fruits and veggies, but one thing is for sure… It takes many hands and a lot of hard work!
When I was in high school, my family had a booth at the farmers market where we sold fresh veggies and flowers that came right from my parents’ garden. This is how the typical planting and harvesting season was like for us and other families.
The season always began at the end of winter. Seeds gathered and dried from the previous harvest were grown in trays, and they sat by the windowsill basking in the glory of the sun. When it seemed like Old Man Winter had finally left us, the plants were moved to their new home in the garden where they soaked in all those good nutrients from Mother Nature. The rest of the veggies that weren’t grown indoors like potatoes and corn were also planted in the garden.
While we waited for everything to grow, we took care of the garden by weeding (a necessary evil!), staking peas, and exploring the tracks of various animals that also came to enjoy my parents’ garden.
Then we let Mother Nature rain on our parade! Like James and his giant peach, our veggies and flowers really start to grow (although, not as large as a house).
As things grew and ripened, we watched for those that were ready to be picked for the market.
My parents always said, “Only the best can be picked and sold!” For everything to stay fresh, fruits and veggies were picked the day before the market and no sooner.
Most of the morning and afternoon were spent gathering fruits and veggies from every corner in the garden.
When those were done, it was time to pick the flowers. This was definitely my favorite part of the trip. I really do think the brightest and loveliest flowers grow right here in the Valley!
In the later afternoon, we finally made the trip home, muddy feet and all, where we began the scrubbing, washing, and bundling process.
On the day of the market, we were up before the sun to finish bundling the last bouquets of flowers.
Then we made our trip to the market where we set up tables, put out signs, and displayed all the fruits, veggies, and flowers. The fun began when the market opened!
As a vendor, I always loved watching what others brought to the table to share with the community. It’s so great to see the farmers markets grow and expand over the years! Whenever I stop by, I’m always grateful for the hands that went into planting, caring, and harvesting the fresh produce.
The Eau Claire Downtown Farmers Market happens at Phoenix Park on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays until the end of October. Then there is the Eau Claire Farmers Market that happens at Gordy’s East Hamilton Avenue on Tuesdays and Saturdays and also at Gordy’s on Birch Street on Wednesdays. This market runs until the middle of October.
Be sure to check out what’s growing in Eau Claire by stopping at one or both of these markets! While you’re there, don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers. You’ll be so glad you did!