MADISON, Wisconsin— A beloved Wisconsin tradition is back in its rightful place.
The Dane County Farmers Market is the largest farmers’ market in the country for producers only. Saturday mornings are often picturesque on the Place du Capitole.
But not for a year and a half. The market is headquartered at the Alliant Energy Center due to the pandemic. So far.
Saturday June 19 was the first day to return to the square. There was a feeling of joy in the air to find the weekly event in its place. It was clearly a failure; the place was packed.
Eugene Woller has been a beekeeper for 50 years.
“I went down to college and was taking classes… They had this beekeeping class. And a friend of mine and I took the course, because we were like, “How hard can this be? “
He fall in love.
“The second week of class I turned around and told her I wanted to do this for the rest of my life. When asked what he liked about his job, without wasting time, he replied, “Everything. “
He has been selling his Gentle Breeze Honey at the market since 1973.
“The market started in 1972, I believe. We were there for the first couple [markets], “he said.” But you could take a bowling ball and throw it in the street here and never hit anybody. ”
This Saturday morning, it promises to be very different from these inaugural markets.
“Look at the crowd now,” he said.
It was packed. There were so many people on the sidewalk that the only way to shop was to walk in a large, slow mass.
“We’ve been looking forward to this for some time,” said Jamie Bugel, co-manager of the Dane County Farmers’ Market. “It’s really encouraging. It’s great to see everyone again and excited to be back.
Woller’s grandchildren run the stand, while he hangs out in a camping chair. He much prefers to talk to children who check his bees rather than adults who buy his honey.
They ask him questions, like, “How do bees make honey?” and “Are they mean?”
Child after child comes in and watches the bees in their observation hive.
“Wow, I’ve never been so close to bees and don’t be afraid!” said a girl.
“For some of them it’s the closest they’ve ever been to bees,” he said.
He felt dizzy, as if he was a small child himself.
“The most fun is watching the reaction between parents and children in bees. If parents flee, children flee. If their parents say ‘Hey, come see this,’ the kids are in it, ”he explained.
All morning people were talking about how being back in the square made life a little more normal.
Dane County Farmers Marketshe big show every week is on Saturday, in the square until November. They also have markets on Wednesdays.