Farmers market returns Saturday

This season's early warm weather promises a very busy opening to Shawano Farmers Market on Saturday.

"I just got a call from a farmer who didn't expect to be ready to go, but he said 'I'm ready!'" market treasurer Charlene Helms said earlier this week. She anticipates a busy opening to the fifth year of the farmers market, which could benefit from unusually warm temperatures earlier this spring.

"We have more vendors this weekend than we did last year and the year before," Helms said. "Strawberries are ready to go, and that's a little early for them."

Alongside strawberries, market-goers can expect to see flowers and plants, fresh vegetables and fruit, meats, art and crafts, candy, prepared food like breads and salsas.

There will also be favorite items from past markets, including maple syrup suckers and local photography by Jim Leuenberger lining the Shawano City Hall parking lot.

The market's nonprofit booth, which sells coffee and foodstuffs to market-goers and acts as a fundraiser for local groups, will be manned by the Shawano Optimists.

There will also be live music at the market.

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By Amanda Mueller amueller@shawanoleader.com
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Early growing season may aid attendance
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<p>Like last year, shoppers interested in supporting local growers can look for the laminated Certified Locally Grown Product signs, which indicate the products have been grown within a 100-mile radius of Shawano.</p><p>Some new vendors are joining the market this year. "We will have a new smoked salmon and fish guy, as well as a new vendor, Cupcakes by Amy, who does all kinds of different cupcakes and a new organic chicken vendor," Helms said. "We have between 15 and 20 percent new vendors; the rest have been around for a while."</p><p>Amy Kroenke of Cupcakes by Amy is excited about her first Shawano Farmers Market. "I just started my own business this year," she said. "I am licensed to make cakes, cupcakes, candies, and desserts -- basically all of your confectioneries."</p><p>Kroenke will showcase her specialities Saturday. "For the opening of the farmer's market, I will have several different cupcake flavors, homemade caramel, and homemade cookies, including molasses cookies dipped in white chocolate."</p><p>"Between the Rhubarb Festival, the Jumpin' June Jamboree, and the market, I think there will be a lot going on," Kroenke said.</p><p>Out of the 37 vendor slots available at the market, only five remained open on Wednesday. "It should be a great opening weekend," Helms said.</p>
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