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Market moves

Courthouse fire sends
Farmers Market packing to Broadway

Shady spot at the fountain
is a hit with customers, vendors

By Tara Gentile
Contributing Writer

(July 2009) – In the wake of the May 20 fire at the Jefferson County Courthouse, the Farmer’s Market has found a suitable and historically significant location at the Broadway Fountain on Broadway Street.

Farmers Market

Photo by Don Ward

The Farmers Market is a big social
scene on Saturday mornings.

The market left the courthouse lawn, which it has called home for the past two years. Interestingly, the new location at the fountain isn’t a first for the market. The fountain was the site of the market in 1840.
Dave Adams, the market’s longtime manager and also Madison’s clerk-treasurer, says there had been talk of moving the market before the fire. Adams said that, along with the fountain, a spot on the river had been considered but was dismissed in favor of a more centralized location. The market located at the riverfront at the foot of Jefferson Street and Vaughn Drive for the June 6 Madison Bicentennial kickoff Saturday. Many liked the shady trees and serene view of the river. But market vendors said there wasn’t enough foot traffic.
“People often forget about things on the riverfront. We wanted a place that sees lots of foot traffic,” said Adams.

Gary Duckworth

Photo by Don Ward

Gary Duckworth
fries omelettes
for Farmers Market customers, while
his wife, Suzan,
prepares to serve
the orders.

The fountain offers more than a few conveniences that the courthouse lawn did not. Both restrooms and electricity are now easily accessible to vendors and customers, not to mention a thick shade that couldn’t be found at the courthouse location.
Suzan Duckworth and her husband, Gary, own Paradise Cover Catering. Almost every Saturday morning for the past four years they have set up a temporary kitchen in which they use lots of local produce to make breakfast for the market’s crowd. The new location seems to work well for both vendors and customers, according to Duckworth.
“It’s a lot easier to accommodate everyone,” she said. “That’s one big plus of the move. And, of course, the shade makes a huge difference. Everyone is staying a lot cooler.”
The Madison Farmer’s Market has brought fresh produce and baked goods to the area since 1818. In the past few years, additions have been made to the market experience. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m., customers can find a fresh breakfast and live music. Broadway Street is closed to vehicles heading northbound from West Main Street to Third Street while the market is operating.
“Most people don’t know, but the majority of our produce in local stores comes from 1,500 miles away,” Adams said. “But the Farmer’s Market brings it you fresh from the garden. It’s one way society can get back to the farm.”

• For more information about the Madison Farmers Market, call Dave Adams at Madison City Hall at (812) 265-8300.

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