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Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013

Show Me the Greens: Milwaukee’s Winter Farmers Markets

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As local home gardeners and full-time farmers can attest, the growing season ends after the first frost. Not much left but some barren patches of dirt and a straggly bit of brown vegetation that hasn’t been pulled up yet. Yet folks that try to eat local should take heart. There are still opportunities to buy local foods all winter long.

The Milwaukee County Winter Farmers’ Market (MCWFM) has been a solid choice for local goods for the past four years at State Fair Park. This year, MCWFM is relocating to the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory Domes (524 S. Layton Blvd). Lots of the same vendors from past years will be there, along with some new faces. On any given Saturday at MCWFM you will find everything from fresh veggies and bakery to elk steaks and dairy products. Extend the summery feeling of farmers market shopping and enjoy the live plant life in the Domes. Open on Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Nov. 2-April 19 (except Nov. 30).

Growing Power is also getting in on the winter farmers market action this year. The urban farm has invited some farm vendors to join them in selling their fresh produce and products at Growing Power’s warehouse (13111 W. Silver Spring Drive, Butler). Grown all winter long in the 100-plus hoop houses that Growing Power operates, the chemical-free micro greens and vegetables are certain to be among the freshest you’ll find in these cold months ahead. Open on Saturdays, 8 a.m. to noon, Oct. 26-April 19 (except Nov. 30, Dec. 28, Jan. 18, Feb. 15 and March 22).

Bay View and Cudahy residents won’t have to travel too far to the winter farmers market at the St. Ann Center (2801 E. Morgan Ave.) Fresh produce, handmade products, bread and crafts are available. Visit Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Nov. 2-April 26.

For locavores who aren’t averse to a little drive, make a trip out to the Oconomowoc Winter Farmers Market (N68 W37850 County Trunk K). The wide selection includes prepared foods, grass-fed beef, pastries, seasonally fresh vegetables and more. Open the second and fourth Sunday of each month, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Nov. 10-April 13.

Products change at all farmers markets as availability waxes and wanes. What may be there one week may not be available the next. So shop often, snap up the goodies you see and you’ll be eating well all winter long.