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Local Farmers Market prepares to move to a new indoor venue this season

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LA CROSSE, Wis. - (WXOW) - The Cameron Park Farmers Market runs during the warmer months while the weather still permits it, but in the winter it is moved indoors.

This year, the group has a new location.

The La Crosse Farmers Market Association provides the community with two different markets throughout the year. One of the markets runs outdoors during the warmer months from May through the end of October. The other is an indoor market that runs this year from November 7th to December 19th on Saturdays from 9-1.

In previous years, the indoor market was held at the Myrick Park Center, but this year, the Radisson Center Ballroom will be the new location.

"We realize that accessibility is very, very important and this new downtown location is really going to allow people to come by foot, by bike, by bus, by car. They can just show up, and we will be there for them," said Linda Vale, market manager.

This year, the farmers market was more important than ever because local, small businesses were hit the hardest during the pandemic.

"Through a farmers market, we are able to provide a platform for all of these small businesses to continue to stay in business and sell their goods. Without the Farmers Market, over 50 businesses could have gone out of business this year," said Vale.

Typically the market has over 70 vendors. This year, they have around 50. But the vendors that they do have are more than grateful to have a place to sell their goods as John Bailey explained, Bailey owns JB's Bees and is a vendor at the Cameron Park Market.

"I know several others that come in here and it's our life-blood. It helps pay our bills and it helps us stay in business," said Bailey.

Not only does the market provide an important business opportunity for the vendors, but the social aspect also benefits community members during these times. The market provides a safe and fun activity for families and people of all ages.

"This is a way that you can support small businesses which we know we need to do, but we can also come together and socialize a bit in a safe way," said Vale.

The market offers different goods. They have a wide variety of products including root vegetables, ginger, garlic, and many other options. They also offer artisan goods, handcrafted placemats, flowers, handmade soap, and much more.

Unlike shopping at a grocery store where only a small portion of the sale goes to farmers, almost all of the profit will go to the farmer which is why it is so important to these small businesses. Shopping at the market also provides customers with piece of mind about their products.

"They know what they are getting and they are getting 100% of what they are asking for. Say for honey, because honey a lot of it has been watered down or is not even real honey, and this, this is straight from the bees," said John Bailey.

The market is offering a pre-order system for the indoor market where customers can select any items they need on their website and then do curb-side pick up at the Radisson Center Ballroom.

"The positivity that has come from our customers and our vendors has kept the spirit of the Farmers Market alive," said Vale. "It's these relationships and these connections that we can offer to make this a unique experience with shopping."

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Rylie Kyhn

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