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We’re all abuzz about local honey!

Did you know that Madison is a hub for local honey? There’s even a Wisconsin Honey Producers Association, established way back in 1964 by Wisconsin beekeepers to protect the local honey market, educate consumers, and conduct research to protect the honey industry from environmental changes. The Dane County Beekeepers Association is another great source for information about local beekeeping and honey production.

Purchasing local honey supports local beekeepers and is of course a delicious way to incorporate local food into your diet. Honey has health benefits galore, and is a great alternative to refined sugars.  

Here are a few options for purchasing local honey in Madison:

  •  Iron Works Café offers honey in 8 oz. bottles from The Goodman Youth Farm.  Proceeds support the beekeeping program at the Youth Farm and the Seed To Table alternative high school program at the Goodman Community Center.
  • Bee Charmer, from the Brooklyn area, offers honey for sale at the Dane County summer farmers’ market and online.
  • Honey Kurt from the Blue Mounds/Mount Horeb area offers honey purchases by phone at 608-277-0251.
  • Willy Street Co-op offers white clover Gentle Breeze Honey from Mt. Horeb in the bulk (as well as in jars). You can also buy Gentle Breeze online here.
  • Turtle Hill Wilds produces wild food, including honey, and wild lumber products in Blanchardville. 608-523-4213,
  • Honey is available by the gallon from Brad Moore of B’s Honey in Mazomanie.  He sells at the WestSide Community Market at Hilldale (during the season).  608-669-2669.
  • Dancing Bee Honey Farm also sells honey in bulk or in smaller jars – contact information is available on their website.
  • MADbees/Dane County Beekeepers Association may be able to put you in touch with folks with surplus honey they’d be interested in selling. Check their website for contact information. \
  • Kicking Bear Apiaries sells honey in jars but also in beautiful, slender bottles – perfect for a gift! You can order through their website.

And this is just the beginning of a list – who are we missing? Let us know your favorite sources for local honey, and feel free to leave suggestion on your favorite way to use it!

First Annual Zymology Fest


“the area of applied science related to fermentation”


This 5 session “festival” is a series of workshops where you’ll learn the science behind fermentation as well as gain practical, hands on experience with making fermented foods.

The 5 fermentation workshops are:

  • Vegetable (curtido, sauerkraut, many more)
  • Dairy (yoghurt, kefir, cheese)
  • Grains (sourdough, injera)
  • Nonalcoholic Beverages (kombucha, kvass, more)
  • Meats, legumes, and more

Read More and Buy Tickets Here

The instructors are:

Branden Byers

Branden Byers is a fermentation generalist willing to try and taste anything and everything fermented (with a special place in his heart for heirloom yogurts). He is the host of a weekly program called FermUp – The Fermented Food Podcast. Any health benefits of fermented foods are a welcome side-effect, but it is the taste, experimentation, and DIY fun that inspires Branden’s enthusiasm for fermented foods. You can learn more about Branden and his fermented ideas at


Trevor Brown

Trevor will be leading the sourdough course. Trevor has been baking sourdough bread for many years and is passionate about experimenting and teaching others the joy of sourdoughs.  He is on the board of Slow Food Madison and has taught about both east (injera) and west sourdough bread making at Madison Food Camp.


Madee Hartjes
Madeline Hartjes is an avid herbal enthusiast who discovered kombucha five years ago and eagerly began making her own. She blends each batch with nutrient rich and gently medicinal herbs to maximize the health benefits of drinking kombucha. Madee drinks her own home-brew daily, and finds that it quenches her thirst, clears her head, and always satisfies any random cravings. When not brewing she can be found mixing drinks at the Heritage Tavern, or spending time with her fiancé and their 18 month old baby boy.

Last-Minute Homemade Holiday Gift Ideas

Looking to give some homemade gifts this year, but don’t know where to start so close to the holidays? Here are some unique favorites from the Slow Food Madison team:

  • Oven-dried apple chips – use a food dehydrator or a low oven, and try sprinkling cinnamon or finely-ground pistachios on top before drying
  • Crystallized ginger dipped in dark chocolate – try this Alton Brown recipe for the candied ginger
  • Sourdough dog treats – Trevor submitted these notes: A great way to use up extra starter! I use whole wheat, corn, and oat flours, a couple of eggs, grated carrot or squash, and a scoop of peanut butter if I’m feeling generous. Stir together with enough water to form a stiff dough and ferment overnight. When ready to bake, roll to about 3/4″ thickness and use a biscuit cutter to cut into shapes. Place biscuits onto sheet pans and bake at 350F for half an hour or so. Turn the oven off, leave the door slightly ajar, and let the biscuits dry out thoroughly in the warm oven.
  • Toasted nuts – try this recipe or this recipe
  • Bolognese sauce (gifted frozen in jars) – try this Bon Appetit recipe
  • Homemade granola – make it more festive and decadent with dark chocolate chunks, cacao nibs, coconut oil, or vanilla-infused honey
  • Homemade vanilla extract – simple to make and perfect for the bakers in your life; try this recipe from TheKitchn

Happy Holidays from Slow Food Madison!

Ideas for locally-produced food gifts

What to get for the person who has everything? Something edible, of course. Here in Madison we enjoy some of the best ingredients and artisan products in the world, and they conveniently make perfect gifts for friends near and far. To get those gears rolling, here’s a list of just some of our favorite local food artisans (sadly we can’t list them all!). Happy Holidays, and happy gifting!

Hawkwind Mustards and Relish

Quince & Apple Small Batch Preserves

Gentle Breeze Honey

Kicking Bear Honey

Mad Urban Bees Honey

Old Sugar Distillery

RP’s Pasta

Underground Meats

Potter’s Crackers

Just Coffee

New Glarus Bakery – Holiday Stollen

Yum Butter

Gail Ambrosius Chocolates

DB Chocolates

James J. Chocolates

Christine’s Toffee

(p.s. Another good gift idea: channel your inner food artisan and give the gift of something homemade!)

Madison’s first food swap

Slow Food Madison recently collaborated with local food preservers Laura Purdy and John Binkley to host Madison’s first food swap – an event where people trade and barter their homemade/handmade/homegrown products. These events have taken off in popularity in many other parts of the country, and we’re excited to see it starting in Madison! 


We talked to Laura about food swaps, her thoughts on the first one, which happened Monday, November 11 at Goodman Community Center. 

What is a food swap?
Food Swap is an event where members of the community come together to trade homemade, homegrown, and foraged food with one another. Attendees directly trade the items that they bring as a way to diversify the foods in their pantries and make connections with other members of the local food community.  Attendees are welcome to bring as many or as few items as they would like, although the more you bring the more opportunity you have to bring home something new.

What inspired you to start a food swap, where did you hear about it?
I am relatively new to the world of food preserving.  In fact, this summer was only my second year of putting up the harvest but when I try something new I tend to go all in. My partner is an organic vegetable farmer and owner of Equinox Community Farm, so I had a cornucopia of produce to work with.  Long story short, in the fall I ended up with about 2 bookshelves full of canned items and I tried about 50-60 recipes from 6 different canning books.  I ended up staring at my collection and wishing there was a way I could end up with less of this stuff (who needs 15 pints of curried cauliflower pickles?) and more of the food that I wasn’t skilled at making.  Thank goodness for the internet.  I follow quite a few canning related blogs and food swap information was popping up here and there.  I did a lot of reading and decided that it would be a perfect fit for my needs and I was sure there were others out there in the same predicament as myself.

Why are people interested in food swaps?  What benefit do they have?
I think that food swaps appeal to people in a variety of ways, which explains why our first event was so popular.  People who experiment with food tend to love talking about food and sharing their food.  A food swap is a perfect forum for doing both of those things.  For example, I had the opportunity to taste and take home some fermented ginger ale.  I have little experience with fermented food and this was a great introduction.  There were also flavor combinations and ingredients that I had never heard of before, so I not only came away with new items I came away with a whole bunch of new ideas and a wealth of food preservation experts to consult with in the future.

What are the difficulties in starting a food swap?  Are there any tricky legalities you need to be aware of?
I did a lot of reading online when I was setting up the food swap.  Food Swap Network is a great resource with information on hosting food swaps, downloadable templates, and links to other swap websites. I also looked up a few Wisconsin Statutes regarding certain food products. Food swaps must be private events, which is why people must sign up and sign in to the events.  Private events are exempt from the food and health safety codes that public events must adhere to.  (It’s like a potluck among acquaintances vs a public event that serves food.) We also had people sign a disclaimer that stated they used proper food handling methods and that they do not hold the hosts, the venue, or other  participants liable.  It may seem like overkill, but we want to make sure that we do our best to make everyone safe and allow for many more food swaps to occur in the future.

What is your vision/plan for food swaps in Madison?
I definitely believe that there is room to grow for the food swap here in Madison and space for more people to get involved. However I do want to be careful that we continue to foster the personal relationships and trust that makes food swaps so successful and so valuable.  I’m not sure what that sweet spot will end up being, but I’m ready to tweak both the event size and frequency in order to find something that works well for everyone involved.  And ultimately, if the response and enthusiasm is huge, I am definitely willing to help new food swaps get started.  There is such an abundance of food creativity in this area that I see the potential for a multitude of local food swaps centered around different communities.

How do you feel about the food swap that just happened?  Any fun stories?
I was truly blown away by what was brought to our first food swap.  Canned zucchini that tasted like pineapple.  Kefir.  Home-cured bacon.  Caramel sauce.  Fruit butters.  Dried herbs.  Homemade soap.  Elderberry syrup.  Jelly melon.  So many different types of pickles.  I could go on and on.  And the best part of it was how much everyone valued what other people had made.  People who didn’t can things were delighted to receive someone’s tomato sauce.  We ended up trading a whole bunch of sweet potatoes for a whole bunch of goat milk soap.  Everyone went home feeling richer than when they came, where else can you experience that?  The biggest complaint I heard was that attendees wished they had brought more things for trading.  If that isn’t a huge success, I don’t know what is.

What advice do you have for a wanna-be food swapper?
First, keep your eyes and ears open for future events.  I anticipate that they will continue to fill up quickly so you want to be tapped in to your local food organizations like Slow Food Madison. Play to your strengths, but also don’t be afraid to experiment with different flavor combinations.  If you make great pies, try a twist on a classic (maple pecan pie, instead of just pecan pie for example).  Some of the most popular items at the food swap were the unexpected ones.  Use items that are in season, and local if appropriate.  It will connect you even more to the food community and most likely save you money.  And of course, make sure that you adhere to the appropriate food handling techniques especially with things like canning.  I’m more than happy to answer any questions and direct people to resources if they want aren’t sure where to start.

Thanks, Laura, and thanks to everyone who participated! Stay tuned for information about future swaps.

Madison Area Fresh Produce Donation Locations

Do you have a garden bounty you can’t keep up with? Unable to use your CSA box some weeks? Know a farmer with surplus harvest? Whether you have extra produce or want to purchase some specifically to donate, this map details locations in the Madison area that would love to receive a gift of fresh vegetables. Many secondary or emergency food sources have trouble providing clients with fresh produce, and your donation can help provide healthy, fresh foods for people in need.

Click on the map below to see an interactive display of locations in Madison that will happily accept fresh produce. The pin for each site details donation instructions, preferred and unaccepted items (if any), and contact information.

Brainstorming Session

The revolution is in our kitchens!

We have a famously great restaurant and farmland/markets culture in Madison, and Slow Food celebrates it! But we also want to help home cooks bring it up a notch (and down to earth a notch) in a series of peer-to-peer, DIY-celebrating classes that shares, inspires, and connects-the-dots in a way that only Slow Food can.

It’s all about tradition, celebration, simplicity, and how the simple awareness and responsibility of our food practices brings even more joy and pleasure to our tables. Can you cook? Teach? Organize? Blog? Take Pictures/Videos? Or want to cultivate these talents in yourself and others?

The best ideas come when we all put our ideas on the table, so… please join us for an informal brainstorming session on Tuesday, September 10th @ 6:30pm at Barriques, 961 S. Park Street. RSVP to (If you are interested in getting involved, but can’t attend this meeting, send a note and we will include you in future communiques.)

Social Media Intern Position

Slow Food Madison, a local chapter of the international Slow Food organization, is seeking a social media specialist. This is a volunteer position.

What You’ll Do

Publicity Support

  • Ensure local events are posted to the Slow Food Madison (SFM) calendar, FB, & Twitter
  • Support event producers with tech support on above channels, Eventbrite, etc.
  • Work with other SFM volunteers & board members to make sure SFM & SFUW events are well publicized on Twitter, FB, email newsletter, and the SFM website.
  • Work with Philip on the weekly and monthly email newsletters
  • Be able to provide SFM Board with monthly numbers on things such as likes, shares, followers, retweets, friends

Community Engagement Online

  • The ideal candidate will learn the culture, values, and priorities of Slow Food Madison and will eventually be able to engage the community (along with the leadership and volunteers) on behalf of the organization:
  • Engage (RT, replies, etc) with local artisanal food producers on both FB and Twitter
  • Cultivate good follow-lists and network connections with same
  • Engage with followers of FB and Twitter (replies)
  • Consult the board on ways to further utilize social media to engage with the greater Madison community and broadcast the SFM message
  • Interact with members and community for sharing of event photographs, event idea capture, etc.

How Great It Will Be

The social media intern position will offer the ideal candidate real-world experience in the nuts-n-bolts administration of social media presence and strategy for a small-scale not-for-profit organization with global brand appeal, and local credibility.

Several members of the current leadership team have extensive experience with social media strategy and web/internet culture, and the candidate would be able to learn/work-with them.

Interns will participate in leadership team meetings as desired, can attend Slow Food Madison events, and will have ample opportunity to meet food-related luminaries like farmers, chefs, artisans in and around Madison.

Contact if you are interested.