Friendly Faces in Familiar Places

Returning home helps Bjørn Holtan discover that Midwestern values have grown to include our family values at one of Madison’s most endeared traditions.

Returning home helps Bjørn Holtan discover that Midwestern values have grown to include our family values at one of Madison’s most endeared traditions.

After an eight year hiatus in San Francisco, I moved back to Madison six months ago. As a young gay man, San Francisco represented a sense of freedom; A place where I could be comfortable in my own skin and I could embrace my sexuality. The bay area was great to me and I loved my life in ‘The City.’ I appreciated what California had to offer, but there was always something missing and it took moving there to realize what it was: my family.

Two years ago, my family and my own desire to start a family became more of a priority for me. I wanted to live closer to my three sisters and to develop a stronger relationship with my nieces and nephews. I decided now was as good a time as any to make the move back to Madison.

Last Saturday, I took my Mom, my sister and my niece to The Farmers’ Market. I sipped lavender Fuji green tea while walking from vendor to vendor—easily entertained as I snacked and people watched. I admired the views of the capital and I really noticed how much I valued how warm each of the vendors were. It was effortless to make healthy choices as I bought my produce and I was anxious to get home to make my arugula salad with fresh nuts, fruits, vegetables and honey.

When I moved to San Francisco I never thought I would move back to Wisconsin. When I would come home to visit, I always felt as if I was walking around with a big spotlight on me and it was such a “big deal” to be gay. After many years, I have grown and so has Madison. The community here is becoming even more accepting of different sexual orientations and that’s uplifting to me. Places like the Farmers’ Market have helped make my transition easier and shown me that our community can be accepted. It warms my heart as I walk around the Saturday morning tradition and notice same-sex couples shopping together, pushing their kids in strollers, holding hands and even couples on double dates over an apple cart!

The Farmers’ Market on the Square is a great place to shop for your groceries for the week, meet up with friends, enjoy the beautiful scenery, hang with your partner (and kids) or even go on a date. I look forward to spending many Saturday mornings up on the Square as I reacquaint myself with Madison.

The Farmers’ Market on the Square opens up at 6:00 a.m. and stays open to 2:00 p.m.

If you want further information you can go to: www.madfarmmkt.org.