Appleton farmers market looks to expand

APPLETON – The Appleton farmers market may be expanding. The popular Saturday market now has its eye on Wednesdays as well.

Appleton Downtown, Inc. wrapped up its indoor farmers market over the weekend. And now, it is looking ahead to its popular Saturday outdoor market.

But some shoppers say one day a week is not enough.

“We’re always looking to buy fresh, organic food and things that are healthy for us,” said Ashley Mansfield of Appleton.

Farmers market organizers are looking at ways to expand the offerings.

“We’re definitely looking to increase opportunities to provide access to fresh, local food and to drive traffic to downtown,” said Jennifer Stephany, executive director of Appleton Downtown, Inc.

The Saturday outdoor market has 180 vendors with 100 more on a waiting list because it doesn’t have room to expand. So following other successful models around the state, the market could also grow to Wednesdays.

The Saturday farmers market takes up several blocks of downtown College Avenue and Houdini Plaza. But it isn’t where the Wednesday night farmers market will be. Instead it will be in Washington Square, a new green space behind the City Center downtown that city officials say has plenty of potential to host outdoor events. And it’s a place Stephany says is the perfect location for the Wednesday night farmers market to get its start.

“If you look back in the day even our Saturday market started in a parking lot,” she said.

Rick Slager, the owner of Produce With Purpose Farm, is hopeful he’ll be selected as one of the 50 vendors if the new market starts. And he says he sees the need for expansion.

“This presents an opportunity for people to access it because not everybody can make Saturday mornings. So Wednesday can be a very convenient time for people to pick up fresh produce,” said Slager.

And Mansfield agrees.

“I’m definitely interested in the Wednesday one, I always like that they include new vendors, new ideas and things like that,” she said.

Appleton’s safety and licensing committee will review the application at its meeting Wednesday.

If the permit is approved, the market would run from 3:30-7:30 each Wednesday night from June to September.

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