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Farmers market takes root in Greenfield's Konkel Park

Officials anticipate strong support for city's new attraction

A Greenfield Department of Public Works crew lays the asphalt pad for the Greenfield Farmers Market last week . The market on the east side of Konkel Park opens Sunday.

A Greenfield Department of Public Works crew lays the asphalt pad for the Greenfield Farmers Market last week . The market on the east side of Konkel Park opens Sunday. Photo By C.T. Kruger

June 18, 2013

Greenfield — What only two weeks earlier looked like a construction zone will instead look like a cornucopia with flowers, vegetables and more at one corner of Konkel Park on Sunday.

It marks the grand opening of Greenfield's first farmers market, starting with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9:30 a.m. followed by the first of seasonal weekly sales from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the park, 5151 W. Layton Ave.

For Greenfield Mayor Michael Neitzke, it means that the strong drive to make the market a reality has finally borne fruit.

"There has been overwhelming support," Neitzke said, specifically noting the $30,000 donation by Dan Jansen Family Fest Inc. that made it possible to pave a path to the market site and lay down an asphalt pad.

And he believes the strong local interest — he is aware of how excited people are about the market's opening day — will only help the market flourish.

"In a year or two, this will be one of the most successful farmers markets in Milwaukee County," Neitzke said.

What's in store

Shoppers at the market will find a mix of produce and Wisconsin products.

Three sellers will have early summer produce and much more as the summer goes on, said Darren Rausch, Greenfield Health Department director, who is overseeing creation of the market. One of the sellers, Hack Farms, also offers hard-to-find vegetables such as okra and unique varieties such as Japanese eggplant, Italian beans, purple potatoes and several kinds of heirloom tomatoes.

Bright annuals and perennials will be for sale along with edible mushrooms, habanero tomatillo salsa and hot sauces apple cider, pies, pastries, doughnuts, rolls, breads, jams, jellies, pot pies, soups, natural honey, maple syrup, herbs, spices, cupcakes, coffee and even popcorn.

Shoppers will be able to take a short break at a chair massage and take home natural soaps, balms and oils.

Rausch said he hopes families will come out and enjoy the park and the market, for which there was strong support based on survey and other information gathered by the city.

"Kids can play (in the park) while mom and dad shop," Rausch said.

Or families can buy lunch from food trucks and various sellers at the farmers market and have a picnic in the park, he noted.

Marketing the effort

"We want to be a destination," said Rausch, who believes the wide variety will help, as will the fact that none of the other area farmers markets operate on Sundays.

No tax dollars are involved, Neitzke noted. Rather, the city is using money from the hotel/motel taxes the city collects and projects to promote tourism are acceptable uses for that money.

He paid tribute to the Department of Public Works crews that because of bad weather were under the gun to get the site ready for Sunday's opening. Anybody who is critical of DPW workers should see the kinds of things they did at the farmers market site, Neitzke said.

Also he said, there were many nay-sayers early on who said the market couldn't be ready in time for this season. But they were wrong.

"I'm proud of everyone — the parks department, health department and DPW. They pulled together," he said.

The site is now so improved that it could be used for other things such as art shows or car shows, he added.

AT A GLANCE

WHAT: Greenfield Farmers Market

WHEN: 9:30 a.m. June 23 ribbon cutting; market hours 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays June 23 through Oct. 27

WHERE: Konkel Park, 5151 W. Layton Ave.

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