For eight years, Chris Fenendael and Mark Kupper have grown a broad array of organic plants, fruit, and vegetables at Creekside Farm in Crawford County. Their stand on South Carroll Street at the Dane County Farmers' Market overflows with various offerings, starting with herbs and bedding plants in the spring before blossoming into a wealth of cut flowers, salad greens, arugula, heirloom tomatoes, strawberries, summer squash, squash blossoms, okra, cucumbers, and much more over the season.
Creekside crops are grown in a greenhouse and in fields on a 40 acres in Prairie du Chien. The market on Capitol Square is the only place you can catch Chris and Mark in Madison, though their greens are served in season at L'Etoile.
The Daily Page: How did you become a farmers' market vendor?
Someone told us this was a sure-fire way to a life of riches and ease. Boy, if we ever get our hands on that guy....
What else do you offer through the summer season?
Right now, we're excited about our succulent dish gardens. They're like miniature landscapes you can set on your table and gaze down into. Later in the growing season, we offer salad mix, arugula, tomatoes, squash (and squash blossoms), cucumbers, okra, etc. We're dabbling in Indian vegetables for one of our friends who misses the food from his home.
What's your most popular product? What's your most remarked upon offering?
Because our farm is in a low-lying coulee, we're able to offer our baby arugula all season long --people get pretty excited about that.
What's your favorite product elsewhere at the market?
We can't seem to leave the farmers' market without a visit to Sally and Tom Murphy's bakery. We wish we had one of her little breads in front of us right now.
What's your pre-packaged, supermarket-shelved guilty pleasure?
If you were to make a dish incorporating your products, what would you make?
The recipe is:
3-4 large ripe tomatoes (recommended: Persimmon, Orange Strawberry or Sungold tomatoes)
Handful of halved black olives
½ tsp. chopped garlic
9 leaves fresh basil, chopped
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. balsamic or red wine vinegar
Coarsely ground black pepper
Toss tomato mixture in dressing, let stand at room temperature for at least an hour. Toss over hot or cold pasta.