Farmers market opens in new home Saturday

Franklin Park provides more space, flexibility
Jason Arndt,

After a year of restructuring, including a change of venue, the Shawano Farmers Market opens its season Saturday.
The market will move from the City Hall parking lot, where it was held for six years, to Franklin Park, at the corner of Division and Washington streets.
“We are excited to be able to make the transition to Franklin Park for this year’s market,” said Nathan Falk, market manager.
This also is the first year the market is being run by Shawano Farmers Market Inc., a nonprofit group organized last year when it became apparent that the Business Improvement District, which ran the market since it began in 2008, no longer wanted to manage it. The transfer of assets was completed in March.
Most of the members of the new board were among the original proponents of the market.
At a meeting with vendors earlier this year, market organizers said the new location gives them more space and more flexibility, with less traffic and congestion. They hope the city, as it develops the park, will include the market in its planning and potentially develop more permanent facilities there.
Vendor booths this year will be located along the eastern edge of the park, facing Washington Street, which will be blocked off to traffic at both ends.
As with the former location, there will be a music tent, information tent and a spot for nonprofit vendors.
While there is space for at least 50 vendors along Washington Street, Falk expects about 20 for the opening day.
“We anticipate that will grow throughout the season as more produce comes into season,” Falk said.
People will be able to shop for locally grown produce, fresh flowers, meats, cheese and some crafts. Various food offerings will be available, including the return of an egg roll vendor.
Co-owner Sara Rudesill said Bult’s Bakery, in downtown Shawano, started selling at the market two years ago.
“We have had a lot of people ask about our artisan bread, and looking around at other farmer’s markets, that was the one thing Shawano was missing,” she said. “We decided to participate to get our name out there, and be more a part of community events, and give our customers items we do not usually carry.”
Mary Ann Mast, owner of Mary Ann’s Baked Goods in Bonduel, has participated in the farmers market the last three years, offering bread and home made jam.
“We do it to get involved and get the word out about our business,” Mast said.
Falk said the market still needs volunteers and ideas.
“We’d like to get as much input from the public to find out their suggestions to make the market the best it can be,” he said, “and we always welcome volunteers to help during market days.”