Winona Farmers Market to host silent auction fundraiser

This+season%2C+the+Winona+Farmers+Market+is+going+to+bring+together+produce%2C+baked+goods%2C+art+and+more+twice+a+month+through+April.+The+next+market+will+be+on+Saturday%2C+Feb.+5+from+9+a.m.+to+12+p.m.+where+a+silent+auction+fundraiser+will+also+be+happening+at+the+same+time.

McKenna Scherer

This season, the Winona Farmers Market is going to bring together produce, baked goods, art and more twice a month through April. The next market will be on Saturday, Feb. 5 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. where a silent auction fundraiser will also be happening at the same time.

McKenna Scherer, editor-in-chief

The Winona Farmers Market is a year-round treat for both local community members and Winona State students. While the winter months move the market from filling Levee Park in the downtown area to indoors at the East End Recreation Center every other Saturday, the nonprofit organization’s fundraiser events do not come around as often.

This season, the Winona Farmers Market is going to bring together produce, baked goods, art and more twice a month through April. The next market will be on Saturday, Feb. 5 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. where a silent auction fundraiser will also be happening at the same time.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the market has been able to continue and even thrive, Katie Mueller-Freitag, vice president of the Winona Farmers Market’s board, said.

“[At the start of the pandemic] we actually saw an increase in our customer base because people felt safe about being outside and it was one of the few things that was still open,” Mueller-Freitag said.

However, the market was not able to put on any fundraisers during the first year of the pandemic.

“Our first year of COVID, we just didn’t do any fundraisers at all and we were navigating COVID safety regulations,” she said. “Most of our funding comes from fundraisers, grants and donations.”

While the market board is excited to be organizing another fundraising event, it was decided an old tradition would be skipped this year: the February soup cookout. Mueller-Freitag said the market used to put on a soup cookoff every February, but to be conscious of COVID guidelines, the cookout will not accompany the fundraiser event this time around.

Winona State students and staff may remember some Winona Farmers Market vendors filling the lower level of the Jack Kane Dining Hall over the years on occasion and may also find a familiar face among the market’s vendors: former arts professor at Winona State and owner of the ceramic studio and gallery space Island City Clayspace, Anne Scott Plummer.

Plummer is one of the near-twenty winter vendors the Winona Farmers Market offers.

Plummer said she enjoys bringing her ceramic work to both the summer and winter market, attending about one market a month in order to have new work to offer each time she has a booth.

Former arts professor at Winona State and own- er of the ceramic studio and gallery space Island City Clayspace, Anne Scott Plummer, is one of the near-twenty winter vendors the Winona Farmers Market offers.
Former arts professor at Winona State and owner of the ceramic studio and gallery space Island City Clayspace, Anne Scott Plummer, is one of the near-twenty winter vendors the Winona Farmers Market offers. (McKenna Scherer)

Other vendors include Rochester-based, Indian-inspired meal service Infuzn Foods, Out on a Limb Orchard, La Crosse-based Go Boy Dough Breads, Wood Duck Designs and more.

However, many individuals and businesses who are not part of the market’s usual lineup have donated to the upcoming Silent Auction event. Items to bid on range from a Valentine’s Day-themed gift basket, prints from local artists, a bundle from Anthem Skatepark and Board Shop featuring a new skateboard and more.

Bidding on items will begin at the start of the Feb. 5 farmers market at 9 a.m. and end at 11 a.m., an hour before the end of the market. Bidders will not need to be present at the drawing of winners.

Mueller-Freitag, alongside fellow board member Bob Schultz, ‘made it a point’ to give back to local businesses as well in their planning of the event.

“Everything we have for the silent auction is coming from local businesses, organizations and people,” Mueller-Freitag said. “We’ve made it a point to purchase from downtown local businesses and help keep it a vibrant economy.”

Mueller-Freitag highlighted one gift basket up for grabs at the Silent Auction event that is worth more than $80 and includes a gift card to Heirloom Seasonal Bistro, Island City Brewing Co. drink tokens, a beeswax candle and more.

Contributed photo from Katie Mueller-Freitag of one of the gift bas- kets up for grabs at Winona Farmers Market’s Feb. 5 silent auction. More sneak peeks at the auction’s items and further information can be found on Winona Farmers Market’s Facebook page or Instagram.
Contributed photo from Katie Mueller-Freitag of one of the gift baskets up for grabs at Winona Farmers Market’s Feb. 5 silent auction. More sneak peeks at the auction’s items and further information can be found on Winona Farmers Market’s Facebook page or Instagram.

More sneak peeks at the auction’s items and further information can be found on Winona Farmers Market’s Facebook page or Instagram. Donations are still being accepted as well and can be arranged by contacting the market through their Facebook or email: [email protected] gmail.com.