Bloom Day at Madison’s Farmers Market


Having just returned from a trip to Madison, Wisconsin, where my husband competed in his first Ironman triathlon, I want to treat you to pics from the delightful Dane County Farmers’ Market on the Capitol Square last Saturday.


Overcast skies and a little rain could not dampen shoppers’ spirits that morning, not with so many brightly colored, homegrown bouquets to tempt them.


The market’s website proclaims it to be the largest producer-only farmers’ market in the country. All the flowers, vegetables, and other wares must be produced locally “by the vendor behind the table.”


Gomphrena stood out among a sea of zinnias, Salvia, and sunflowers.


For $6, on average, you got a big handful of bright flowers for your table.


Is there anything sweeter than a homegrown bouquet?


Fresh posies were being assembled by family members as sales were brisk at the tables.


A bucket full of Salvia


Beautiful flowers, indeed


Black-eyed Susans brighten a table of squash and cabbages.


The vegetables were equally as tempting as the flowers.


Squash offers the first taste of fall.


Parsnips and carrots, bundled like haystacks


Eggplants and bell peppers


Bee Charmer honey, charmingly canned


Another honey vendor wore an amusing bee skep hat.


But for me, it all came back to the sunflowers.


Bold and bright, the color of sunny, golden autumn days


Irresistible, aren’t they?

To see what’s blooming in gardens around the world, visit May Dreams Gardens for more Bloom Day posts. Remember that tomorrow is Foliage Follow-Up, in which bloggers are invited to post about their favorite foliage, bark, seedpods, etc. for this month. Please leave a link to your post in my comments tomorrow so that I can find your foliage post.

All material © 2006-2010 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

23 Responses

  1. leavesnbloom says:

    Pam the colours are wonderful but the bouquets are just amazing. Those sunflowers are striking along with the way they have wrapped the vegetables like little haystacks.

    I’ll be participating in Foliage Followup tomorrow – the post is scheduled to get published later on tomorrow. :) Rosie

    I look forward to your foliage post, Rosie. —Pam

  2. Did you take these photos with your new camera? Stunning!

    Yes, thanks, Heather. This trip was a good excuse to play around with the settings and lenses. I still have much to learn. These photos benefited from judicious cropping to weed out extraneous detail, like cars in the background and the arms of people walking by. —Pam

  3. Anneliese says:

    Hi Pam,
    I hope you enjoyed your trip to Madison! It was a really nice weekend to visit. Isn’t the Dane County Farmers’ Market great? For a year in college I lived only three blocks from the Capitol square. Now I’m about 20 miles away, but it’s still worth the trip.

    Anneliese, I really fell in love with Madison. What a beautiful city and such friendly people. I forgot that you lived so close to Madison! Most of our visit was, naturally, taken up with Ironman prep, but I did manage to squeeze in a lunchtime visit to Mark and Linda’s garden (of Each Little World) and a long stroll through Olbrich Botanical Gardens. More on those soon. —Pam

  4. chuck b. says:

    Farmers markets are so photogenic. Madison has a great botanical garden too. Did you visit?

    I sure did! Linda of Each Little World (link in comment above) showed me around one day, and I went back the next day for a longer visit. It was stunning. I’ll have a post about it soon. Maybe a couple of posts. —Pam

  5. Lola says:

    What beautiful blooms. I must try to get out & see if there is anything around here that even looks half as good.
    Still hot here. But at least it’s being a little cooler this week.

    Here’s to cooler fall weather for both of us soon, Lola. —Pam

  6. Donna says:

    Loved the first image of the sunflowers. In fact all the images were so bright and happy. The farmer’s market is a great place to photograph flowers, fruit and veggies.Color and activity abound.

    You said it, Donna. It was a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach. —Pam

  7. Carol says:

    Gorgeous! Simply beautiful. Such vibrant colors. Sounds like a great place to visit and shop.

    It was, Carol. How far is Madison from Indianapolis? Road trip! —Pam

  8. Jenny says:

    A feast for the eyes and the table too. Your husband survived? More to follow? You may be making a trip to Hawaii soon!

    He not only survived but finished in a respectable 13 1/2 hours or so. Check out my Facebook page for more info about his race, if you’re interested. He would have loved to qualify for Hawaii in his age group, but it didn’t happen. —Pam

  9. Pam, I agree, nothing says autumn like sunflowers but I am quite taken by those Gomphrena. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen those before they are so sweet!

    You haven’t seen bachelor’s buttons before? They’re a summer staple in gardens in central Texas. —Pam

  10. meemsnyc says:

    That looks like a completely awesome farmer’s market. I wish ours was like that! Your photos are gorgeous! What kind of camera do you use? $6 for a bunch of flowers! What an amazing bargain for such pretty locally grown flowers!

    I’m glad you like the photos. I’m using a new camera, a Nikon D5000. —Pam

  11. Cat says:

    Ooohhh, I’ve got a camera crush!! Your photos are absolutely luscious! So happy that you had time to get out and about to see some of the sights – again, simply beautiful! Congrats to your hubby on his success :-)

    Thanks, Cat! The sights were lovely. More to come. —Pam

  12. $6?! Wow. I would have left with a few…how about you? And those carrots…oh my!

    I had to restrain myself from buying flowers as I was not going back to the hotel for several hours. We did buy a few edibles though and enjoyed them as we walked around. —Pam

  13. Les says:

    I like your twist on Bloom Day, very nice. The prices look very reasonable, and I like the bound root veggies.

    I’m glad you enjoyed the traveling Bloom Day post, Les. I’ll have a traveling Foliage Follow-Up tomorrow. —Pam

  14. Gail says:

    Photogenic markets filed with flowers and food~fabulous! The honey salesman is too funny! gail

    Wasn’t that hat a hoot? Great idea for a Halloween costume, don’t you think? —Pam

  15. Pam — I have to get myself back downtown as I realize I am paying more for smaller bouquets here at the westside market. Judging from these pix, you seem to be figuring out how to use the new camera quite nicely!

    Linda, I had such a wonderful time at the market, and indeed, everywhere I went in Madison, especially during my visits with you and Mark. You live in a lovely place, and I only wish I’d had more time to explore. Look for more Madison posts in days to come. —Pam

  16. Megan says:

    Love all the Madison Farmer’s Market pictures!!!! The dude with the crazy bee hat in my second or third cousin :) I’m a Madison native, and at one point dreamed of being a cut flower grower/seller at the market. Moved to California instead. Thanks so much for bringing a beautiful slice of Madison to bloom day :) Can’t wait for more Wisconsin posts!

  17. andrea says:

    i’ve been to the dane county farmer’s market and fell in love with it too! what a perfect place for bloom day, vegetables and all!

  18. Sue says:

    Oh, you made me MISS MADISON!!!!!!!!!
    I used to live in NW Illinois. Hubby and I LOVED to go to Madison. Lucky you. And your pictures—gorgeous!!
    Thank you for a great memory.

  19. Diana says:

    Love those fresh flowers — there’s nothing like seeing them in the market like that. One of my favorite things about markets in Europe or Mexico – flowers are everywhere. In Mexico City you can find flower stands on just about every corner.

  20. Carol says:

    Great market photos! I love all those summer annuals! Beautiful! ;>)

  21. Mamaholt says:

    Such wonderful photos! The thing I miss MOST of all about living in CA is the Santa Monica Farmers Market. I was barely surviving as a waitress/actress, and yet, I would hit the market every Wednesday to buy ARM loads of flowers for around $10 (back then that was TWO arms full!). Wish I could grow them at the wabi-sabi house…sigh.

  22. [...] Honorable Mention goes to Pam Penick at Digging for the double portrait of the  sunflowers and man at the Dane County Farmer’s Market. This [...]

  23. ESP says:

    Well Done on the Honorable Mention Pam!
    YeeeHaa!