Menomonee Falls - It's that time of year again for farmers, gardeners, craftsmen and connoisseurs to gather for the Menomonee Falls Farmers Market.
The farmers market kicks off from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday and runs every Wednesday until Nov. 21. The Sunday market begins July 1 and runs through Oct. 28 one block west of the corner of Appleton Avenue and Main Street, in the parking lot of the North Junior High School campus. With 44 spaces available for vendors, Business Improvement District Manager Barb Watters said the market will be full throughout the summer, especially as new produce is ripe for the picking.
The market only allows for Wisconsin-made and -grown products. The list of products market-goers can anticipate to see includes jewelry, cheese, cheese cake, chocolate, corn, apples, eggs, honey, flowers, poultry, herbs and a plethora of seasonal produce. Braz's Beef Factory will be on site offering hot sandwiches for lunch.
A favorite returns
Jean and Rolly Schmechel, are returning to the market this year after taking a brief hiatus. The Schmechels make small pies and decorated cookies.
"He's a favorite with the kids," Watters said.
The farmers market has been taking place since 1993. This year, Watters said they are implementing ways to show their appreciation to customers. Those who attend the Wednesday markets will receive customer appreciation coupons that can be used at more than 25 downtown stores and businesses. The coupons can be used through the entire market season.
"We want people to come to the market and stay downtown for all their wants and needs," Watters said.
The BID is also hosting customer appreciation days throughout the market season on July 11, Aug. 1, Sept. 5 and Oct. 3. The plan is to have music, as well as special offers at the vendor booths.
Hot peppers ahead
It wouldn't be the Falls market without peppers, but what about the world's hottest pepper?
Barbara Gillich from Dane County, who has attended the farmers market for more than 13 years, is introducing the Trinidad scorpion pepper to the market. This pepper has 1,467,000 scoville heat units. The ghost pepper, also known for its intense heat, seems cool comparatively with a 100,000 scovilles. These peppers are known as a hazardous food and Gillich said she will not sell them to anyone under the age of 18, unless a parent or guardian is present.
"This pepper will not go out without warning," Gillich said. "You have to be responsible to eat them because you can burn your esophagus if you eat them raw."
These peppers should start growing fruit around early August, so market-goers will have to wait a bit to test their cooking skills with the extra spice. Each year, Gillich said she tries to grow something new. She is currently growing a new sweet pepper call the Granada, that will be ideal for stuffing or throwing on the grill.
Though there is a waiting period for the peppers, Gillich will also sell 20 different vegetables, jewelry, flowering baskets, bedding flowers, perennials, wired art, herbed plants and pickled cucumbers,
"I'm so looking forward to it, I miss the people," she said. "It's great having a Wisconsin-grown only market."
AT A GLANCE
WHAT: Menomonee Falls Farmers Market
WHEN: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays through Nov. 21; 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays July 1 through Oct. 28 WHERE: one block west of the corner of Appleton Avenue and Main Street, in the parking lot of the North Junior High School campus, W16750 Garfield Drive
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