Smile Politely

Market Watch: September 14, 2013

So, I have to admit that last Saturday I was a little less than a ray of sunshine when I woke up. After a really long week, I just wanted to sleep in late and guzzle coffee in my pajamas. My spouse kindly pointed out that I bore more than a passing resemblance to a very famous puppet who lives in a trash can, and promptly took to calling me Oscar. I did finally manage to drag myself to the market, and I have to say that organic produce is definitely good for improving one’s mood. Once we pulled in the parking lot, I perked up with all the bright hustle and bustle of the market. Lots of bright orange pumpkins abounded, and after chatting with a few friends, my outlook on the weekend was definitely improved. We found some beautiful sunflowers to take home that have cheered up our house all week. So, if you are thinking about staying out of the heat this weekend and sleeping in, I really encourage you to rethink your plans. A visit to the market can be a great way to lift your mood.

Although the weather hasn’t quite reached autumn temperatures yet, fall is arriving at the market bit by bit. Last week, there were truckloads of pumpkins, lots of apples, and a nice selection of squash. Plenty of little kids were participating in the Sprouts program to learn about pumpkins. I even saw some Halloween decorations, pumpkin baked goods, and autumn scented candles and soaps. There were hand knitted sweaters, scarves, and other winter wardrobe items. If you are looking for home décor items, the market has had some fun pillows and other handmade items you might want to check out.

This week there will be more pumpkins and apples, as well as eggplant, peppers, green beans, tomatoes, honey, berries, watermelon, herbs, lettuce and plums. There will also be an abundance of grass fed beef, free-range chickens, eggs, cheeses, and goat milk gelato. As the weather, hopefully, turns cooler after this weekend, I am looking forward to making apple and berry cobbler, soups, and some winter squash lasagna. Fall is a great time for home canning and preservation of local, organic foods to store up for the winter, so pick up some extras this weekend. 

This week, I did a little branching out and met a few “new” produce suppliers. I had a great conversation with the Avery Farms people about growing potatoes in Illinois soil, which was interesting and informative. One of my favorite things about the market is being able to ask questions about where my food comes from! If you’ve been attending the market for a while, be sure to stop by and check out some of the newer additions to the market, as well as old favorites.

Coming up on September 28th, Art at the Market will return with help from the I.D.E.A. Store for an event titled, “Re-Use, Re-purpose, Re-create”. This event will give patrons the chance to use their imaginations to create new and unique items from the materials provided by the I.D.E.A. Store. This event will also include the musical stylings of The Michael Fenoglio Trio from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Learn more about this great event at the Art at the Market website

Forms of payment: All vendors accept cash, and a few may take checks. Some vendors have card readers on their smart phones, but I haven’t seen too many of those. See information about LINK tokens here. If you run out of cash at the Market, there is an ATM in the Lincoln Square Mall.  

Parking: Free parking is available 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. 

Information: You can follow the market on Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for Market mail here. You can email market director Natalie Kenny Marquez or call her at 217-384-2319. Check out the market flickr for some gorgeous photos of the market.

The market runs from 7 a.m. to noon every Saturday through November 2. All events are scheduled rain or shine. C-U at the Market!

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