Whitewater City Market Cozies Up for Winter

December 12, 2019

With winter quickly approaching and hygge setting in, there’s nothing greater than cozying up amongst fellow market goers at the Indoor Whitewater City Market with a cup of coffee, a morning pastry, and a reusable tote ready to be filled with local goodies. Held every Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon inside the Irvin L Young Memorial Library, you can expect to peruse locally produced goods from 19 different vendors on a packed day. You can also expect to make connections.

“[The market offers] an opportunity to form relationships with the person whom you purchase an item from, which offers confidence in how an item is made or grown as well as a unique opportunity to learn about an item more than you ever could in a traditional 2019 retail setting.”

Lisa Dawsey Smith- Co-Manager of Whitewater City Market
Market-goers sampling cheese at Decatur Dairy‘s stand at the Indoor Market, Whitewater, WI
Whitewater City Market

For market co-managers, Dawsey-Smith and Kristine Zaballos, the market is about community and the variety that occurs as a result of that community. “The market is a place of community by the community for the community in addition to providing a forum for local farmers, producers, and artisans to offer their products for sale,” says Dawsey-Smith. Zaballos agrees and adds, “Also, the power of iteration and the inherently changing qualities of the market — vendors come and go for all sorts of reasons, the vendor mix is constantly refreshing itself, which keeps people engaged. And many of the vendors themselves are consistently trying new things — like Kettle Moraine Honey testing their kombucha and eventually launching Komboocho Brewing, or Wood Street Bakery bringing new bread options — which keeps it fresh.”

Wood Street Bakery bread at the Indoor Market, Whitewater, WI
Wood Street Bakery

Fresh is exactly how the market feels week in and week out. The second you step foot through the doors of the library, you’re hit with a buzzing, positive energy you don’t feel anywhere else. You’re also hit with the smells of fresh-baked goodies and just brewed coffee.

“We want to provide as many ‘grocery’ items that people might shop for on a weekly basis as possible so we always favor the vendors who are bringing greens, vegetables, herbs, bread, cheese, coffee, honey, kombucha, eggs, chicken, beef, granola, salsas, popcorn, and other food items. For nonfood items our houseplant, jewelry, soap and hand-made card vendors are very popular too. We have monthly visits from people who make pottery, crocheted shawls, aprons and tote bags, books and other items too.”

Kristine Zaballos- Co-Manager of Whitewater City Market
Fremont Sweets’ spread at the Indoor Market, Whitewater, WI
Whitewater City Market

The Whitewater City Market runs outdoors at the depot location May through October, and after their first year, market goers wanted to continue to support local farmers and makers. After various trial runs at different indoor locations, the library seemed to enjoy having the market operate inside their doors, and market-goers did too. “The library has been an amazing and supportive partner, and we like to think our market-goers use the library more than they otherwise might have, including buying books at the book sale or contributing to the library’s Little Free Pantry,” shares Zaballos.

Community, connections, being informative, and even helping out are all values of the Whitewater City Market that are clear in one lap around the cozy room of the library. And for Dawsey-Smith and Zaballos, the market offers an opportunity to witness on a small scale what’s possible on a large scale.

“If you picture the market as a radius of community spirit overlaid on a map, how do we expand those boundaries, and stretch that to encompass more?”

Lisa Dawsey Smith- Co-Manager of Whitewater City Market
All smiles at the Hoots Fruits & Vegetables stand: Indoor Market, Whitewater, WI
Whitewater City Market

At the end of the day, it’s all about forging that connection between market-goers, local farmers and makers that makes the market heart tick.

“This kind of work has countless amazing rewards, mostly in little meaningful moments that add up to what, to me, community is all about. I’ll share an example: I asked Chris Kienbaum at Happy Mail, our local card maker, to make a special golden birthday card for my 11-year-old niece. Boy, was it special: gold trim, a shaker panel full of shiny confetti that revealed her name, the whole nine yards. She showed me that card — the first of its kind she had made — and I showed some market-goers, one of whom immediately commissioned a card for a special 85th birthday. Making those kinds of connections, to me, is what community is all about, and the market is just an excellent venue to do it, week in and week out.”

Kristine Zaballos- Co-Manager of Whitewater City Market

We couldn’t agree more. Not only is it the perfect place to grab what you need in your kitchen, but the abundance of gift items for oneself or loved ones is enough to make you linger longer on a blustery Saturday morning and leave uplifted.

UW-W students checking out Helena’s houseplants of Grandma’s Plant Closet: Indoor Market, Whitewater WI
Whitewater City Market

You can visit Whitewater City Market on Facebook for more information.