Smile Politely

Market Watch: June 1, 2013

The routine of the Saturday morning market is really starting to take hold in Urbana as we approach a full month of markets. Seeing all the bikers on the way there, the bags of produce heading home, and stopping for a nice cup of coffee early in the morning have become a great part of my Saturday morning. I usually try to buy most of the produce I can at the Market, including things that I haven’t eaten or cooked before. This last week, I bought some rhubarb and ended up making a pretty good pie. So, if you see stuff at the Market that you don’t usually eat, give it a try! You might end up with something delicious.

This week is shaping up to be another great market. Sprouts at the Market will be taking place from 9–11:30 a.m. Sprouts at the Market is a kid-friendly program designed to teach kids about farming and where food comes from. This week the program will have a special emphasis on nutrition. So, if you have kids who are interested in the Market, farming, or eating, you might want to check this out. More information can be found here.

Due to popular demand, Bike to the Market Month has been extended! The Bike project and Champaign County Bikes are extending the program for one more week, so there will be more bike parking and tune-ups this week. The program also offers the opportunity to valet park your bike along Walnut Street. How cool is that? 

There will be even more glorious produce available this weekend. Look for salad mix, hydroponic tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions, and more. There will also be a variety of potted vegetable and herb plants to choose from. I’m going to try to snag a pepper plant or two.

To go with your veggie haul, there will also be lots of farm fresh meats, dairy items, and even some gelato! I highly recommend the hazelnut chocolate gelato sometime this season if you see it for sale. There are usually quite a few flavors to choose from — maybe you’ll want to try them all. Also, lots of artisan cheeses this week to choose from. The fresh chevre is one of the favorites at my house. There will be lots of food trucks as usual, and I heard a rumor that there will be some great pulled pork sandwiches to eat at the Market. So, lots of variety this week!

Flowers will blooming this week as well, with lots of bouquets and potted items to choose from. Peonies are in season now, and I bought a really beautiful peony bouquet last week. It’s still going strong on my kitchen table; hopefully it’ll last until Market this week. The flower arrangements for sale are always really beautiful and I like that they are local so they last longer. Just be sure to follow the directions from the seller. Oh, and make sure to change the water, I learned that one last summer after a particularly big bouquet of sunflowers went through an entire vase of water in an hour. Oops. There will also be a lot of artisan craft items for sale. Many local and handmade woodcrafts, soap, candles, and lots of other craft items to check out.

Here is some information you might need for shopping at the Market:

Forms of payment: Debit/Credit tokens from last year are still being phased out. If you have any leftover tokens from last year, bring them to the Market soon. LINK card tokens are still available. See information about LINK here. All vendors accept cash, and a select few may take checks. There is an ATM in the Lincoln Square Mall just in case you buy so much you need a few more bucks.

Parking: Parking is available for free in the parking lots surrounding Lincoln Square Mall and the lot south of Illinois Street. Bike parking is also available at the entrances to the mall and at the bike corral area past the entrance to the Market off of Illinois, along with the valet bike parking on Walnut.

Information: The Market provides a lot of ways to get information. You can follow the Market on Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for Market mail here. There is a map of the vendors here. If you want more information you can email Market Director Natalie Kenny Marquez. And check out the Market flickr for some great photos each week.

The Market runs from 7 a.m. to noon every Saturday through November 2. All events are scheduled rain or shine. With temps predicted to the in the upper 70s this week, it’ll be a great time to browse the produce, craft items, and flowers. Bring an umbrella just in case!

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