WAUKESHA – Despite chilly weather, vendor issues and road construction hiccups, the Waukesha Farmers Market will begin on Saturday, at the Waukesha State Bank employee parking lot at 125 W. St. Paul Ave.
“We are going to be a full market, there is no doubt about that,” said Norm Bruce, Farmers Market organizer.
Bruce teased some new food vendors. The full list will be unveiled later in the week, to The Freeman.
“We are going to have Thai, Venezuelan and Spanish food items. We also have a food vendor who will be doing lamb kabobs, ”Bruce said.
Catrina Cafe will offer Mexican bakery and other items.
Returning are favorites such as Pedro’s Mexican Food and Scrima’s Wood Fired Pizza.
“We are going to have a smorgasbord as far as that is concerned,” Bruce said.
The market features Wisconsin grown products and businesses.
“Unfortunately our produce vendors are a little behind because of the weather. There hasn’t been much sun or warmth, ”he said.
On the positive side, there are vendors who have greenhouses, which means some produce options for the market.
Hot items when the market kicks off are green lettuce, rhubarb and spring flowers, which are normally top sellers, according to Bruce.
“I’ve been meeting with vendors to make sure things can go smoothly,” Bruce said.
The Waukesha Downtown Business Association has coordinated with city officials, developers and partners at Waukesha State Bank to ensure that the planned construction will still allow access to the market and enough space for vendors.
One construction project that will be seen around the Waukesha Farmers Market this year is work planned along St. Paul Avenue and North Street to convert the roadways into two-ways. The project also includes reconstruction of the Madison Street bridge – the street which borders the Farmers Market lot to the east. The bridge is expected to close mid-June through mid-August before it reopens. The Wisconsin Avenue / W. St. Paul Avenue and North Street intersection will be open at this time until mid-August to mid-October, when the next phase of the project begins.
“We are making sure vendors know about the construction ahead of time and are giving them a path on how to get to the market. We are also making sure customers understand the best way to come in is over on the river walk across the bridge, ”Bruce said.
Bruce is not too worried about the weather for Saturday.
“It is looking to be a bright and sunny day. Everyone will be itching to get out, ”he said.
The Waukesha Art Crawl # 120 will be held from 2 pm-8 pm on Saturday in downtown Waukesha.
The “Mother of all Crawls” Art Crawl 120 will have 175 artists, live music, galleries, studios, food / drinks, gifts, live music and more. Special events for this art crawl include Stars of Hope at ACAP / Artlinks 333 and Burlap & Lace Marketplace.
Tap Yard Waukesha’s Farmers Market
Nick Marking, owner of the Tap Yard, announced the opening day of the Tap Yard Farmers Market will be on Sunday from 11 am-3 pm at the Tap Yard Waukesha, 1150 W. Sunset Drive. The market will take place on Sundays until Oct. 30.
“Obviously The Shoppes at Fox River is a busy section of town and we see it is a great shopping market and it could go hand-in-hand where we are situated with at The Shoppes,” Marking said.
Marking added the Tap Yard’s market will have 40 vendors that “run the full gamut.”
There will be everything from baked goods, produce, crafts, clothing and food trucks.
“There will be enough to make sure everyone is satisfied coming to the market.” he said.
Their market will also offer a beer garden.
“We will also have beer, wine and hard seltzer for people to enjoy while they are perusing our market,” Marking said.
Marking described the downtown market as very successful.
“We thought it would be a nice compliment to have ours on Sundays and later to catch the people who didn’t get to the Saturday morning one,” he said.
The most challenging aspect of launching an inaugural farmers market, he said, has been finding vendors.
“Finding the vendors to take a chance on us and convince them this is a relevant space was a challenge, but once the word got out it started to pick up a bit,” Marking said.
Marking said social media was a big help in spreading the word and finding vendors.
“Forty vendors is a really nice amount. We will have a nice mix of everything going forward, ”he said.
Vendors struggle with staff shortages
WAUKESHA – The Waukesha Farmers Market said some of their vendors are finding it challenging to hire summer employees. One vendor is Simon’s Garden, a long-time vendor at the market, which has decided not to sell items there this year.
“We don’t have the staff ability to do farmers markets. My son is taking a year off after a few tough farming years with the drought last year and COVID-19. We are just going to concentrate on sales at our retail store, ”said Chris Simon, owner of Simon’s Gardens.
The plant and produce store, 14780 W. Greenfield Ave, is celebrating its 170th year in business.
Simon said he is not the only vendor with staffing issues.
“Everyone has trouble. It’s 40 hours of labor to get a four-hour market, ”he said.
If someone is interested in working on Saturday mornings from Saturday to Oct. 29, come and chat with the management at the Waukesha Farmers Market information booth at the market.