Roger and Maryellen Frey have set up camp at the Frey Family offers cut flowers, native plants, perennials, bedding plants, fruits and vegetables, and more.
The Frey's seasonal rotation entices the senses and sparks nostalgia for many passersby. Maybe it's the cheery flowers that keep them so happy. On second thought, maybe it's doing exactly what they love for 37 years.
The Daily Page: How did you become a farmers' market vendor?
Roger Frey: After our honeymoon in Europe, we returned to Madison in mid-August of 1973. We toured many farmers' markets in Europe and enjoyed them all. We were encouraged to start here because we had an abundance of eggs on the farm.
After a few seasons we were really committed to becoming a vendor of vegetables, farm fresh chickens and ducks, nutmeats and firewood.
What else do you offer through the season?
We start with fresh flowers like daffodils and tulips and also dried bouquets. The season then takes us to native plants like Trilliums, Jack in the Pulpits, Solomon Seal, Wild Geranium, Shooting Stars, Dutchman's Britches and others. Our perennials are the more common varieties, including Patriot Hosta.
Our fresh cut bouquets continue the season, including flowers like Irises and Calla Lilies. We also sell squash and pumpkins, gourds, swags and wreaths.
What is your most popular product? What is your most remarked upon offering?
Trillium or Hosta is most popular. As for most remarked upon, we are one of the few that offer "Ground Cherries." Some people relate their childhood to ground cherries: "Grandma always had these in her jams, pies and sauce." By far, most questions are about ground cherries.
What is your favorite product elsewhere at the market?
We have five children, a daughter-in-law and a son-in-law, and they could all tell you that it is (Lunar Circle) Trish's lettuce and spinach, bison jerky, "Mammoth" cauliflower, cheese curds, cheddar cheese popcorn, apple cider, hydro-grown tomatoes, melons, and all fresh veggies we do not grow.
What is your prepackaged, supermarket-shelved guilty pleasure?
Bacon (but don't tell anyone).
If you were to make a dish incorporating your products, what would you make?
Our pride and joy is Pumpkin Bars.
The recipe is: 1 c. oil 2 c. sugar 4 eggs 2 c. squash 2 c. flour 2 tsp. cinnamon 2 tsp. baking powder 1/2 tsp. salt 1 tsp. baking soda 1 c. chopped nuts (optional)
Frosting 8 oz. cream cheese 2 tsp. vanilla 1 lb. powdered sugar 1/2 c. melted butter
Use squash, just call it pumpkin. The girls swim teams loved it for 12 years and we never let on that it was squash.