Sophie Bolich

Winter Farmers Market Ditching Deer District for Capitol Drive

Farmers market will relocate to church at 53rd and Capitol for upcoming season.

By - Oct 11th, 2022 02:01 pm
Fresh food. Pixabay License. Free for commercial use. No attribution required

Fresh food. Pixabay License.

The Milwaukee Winter Farmers Market will relocate to the former Capitol Drive Lutheran Church, 5305 W. Capitol Dr., for its 2022-2023 season. The first market is scheduled for Nov. 12.

The market has been on the move for the past several years, having been held in Deer District, the Mitchell Park Domes and Wisconsin State Fair Park.

The upcoming season was initially planned for the former Legacy Bank building, 2102 W. Fond du Lac Ave., on the same block as Fondy Farmers Market. Self-Help Federal Credit Union currently owns the two-story, 23,130-square-foot building.

“It was our hopes that we would be in the historic Legacy Bank Building this season,” said Venice Williams, interim executive director of Fondy. “But it’s an old building and needs a little bit of work.”

The farmers market, which is in its 14th season, has been organized by Fondy (formerly the Fondy Food Center) since 2015.

After this season, said Williams, the market will move to Fond du Lac Avenue, where it would stay for the foreseeable future. “Without a doubt, that is our hope,” she said.

This season, which will run from Nov. 12 through April 29, the market will be held at The Table. Williams, who is also a Lutheran minister, was recently gifted the building to use as a ministry space after the church closed.

“Because we haven’t started to fully occupy it, the timing was perfect,” she said. “Had this been a year from now, we wouldn’t have been able to do this, because we would have filled in all of the gaps, so to speak. So we’ve made the decision to not do any weddings or rentals or things like that on Saturdays, and to host the winter farmers market.”

The market will occupy two levels at The Table, which runs the entire block between 53rd and 54th Street. Williams said an additional room will be used as a gathering space, where patrons can enjoy their purchases while engaging with fellow community members.

“When we were in the Deer District last year, we didn’t have that gathering space, we didn’t have that space for people to sit and enjoy the food that they purchased,” Williams said. “And that’s really important for this market, especially because it is one of the only weekly winter markets… a lot of people come to be present, to get out of the house and to have something to do. And so having that space to have a meal or your cup of coffee or your cup of tea, was really important to us as well.”

Aside from the community connection, Williams said, the winter market provides a boost to Wisconsin farmers, business owners and customers alike throughout the colder months.

“It’s just another way to enhance the dreams of entrepreneurs as you’re caring for your body inside and out,” Williams said.

The market has so far accepted 40 businesses that will rotate throughout the season. A partial list of vendors is available on the Milwaukee Winter Farmers Market Facebook page.

Williams said there is free street parking on Capitol Drive and the side streets near The Table.

Starting Nov. 12, the farmers market will occur Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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