Apparently I'm the last to know. Based on the crowd Saturday morning at the Milwaukee County Winter's Farmers' Market at the Mitchell Park Domes, I may be the only person left who hasn't already fallen in love with this free, weekly family-friendly event. But just in case you haven't experienced it yet, either, you can read on for all the highlights and check it out for yourself next week.
First, plan to go hungry so that you can take advantage of all the delectable local products for sale. I enjoyed a cherry chocolate scone from Amaranth Bakery and a perfect cup of coffee fromValentine Coffee Roasters.I found both in the Show Dome, but in order to reach them, you'll have to walk past dozens of other local vendors and family farms in the main atrium selling fresh produce, herbal soaps, jams and jellies, and all-natural, grass-fed meat.
Once you're in the Show Dome, your kids will love the Gas Lamp Express Garden Train Show, running daily through Sunday, March 30. It features Thomas the Train and other choo-choo trains weaving their way along 600 feet of tracks through beautifully landscaped Victorian Gardens. Kids of all ages were lined up around the perimeter watching the show in a trance. Younger kids will also love the story times offered at 9:30 and 11:00.
Since admission is free, this is a good time to take a stroll through the other two domes, which both offer a welcome reprieve from this frigid winter. The Tropical Dome in particular feels like a mini-vacation, where you can spend some time on the foot bridge overlooking the koi pond and waterfall. For a bit of a scavenger hunt, see if you can find the plant growing out of a boot in the Desert Dome.
The Market is held every Saturday until April 19 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Mitchell Park Domes. Parking and admission are completely free. Expect crowds and be prepared to bundle up and walk a little bit. Find out more here.