Smile Politely

Market Watch: August 10, 2013

Did you see all the “Sprouts” at the Market last week?  So many tomatoes! So many Sprouts!  I think Sprouts at the Market events are my favorite because it’s great to see kids getting excited about vegetables and learning about eating well.  Even though there isn’t a Sprouts event this week, this week promises to be a great one for produce. 

This week the Market will have so much to offer. It’s a veritable edible rainbow!  There will be melon, peaches, berries, eggplant, lettuce, herbs, onions, tomatoes, rhubarb, kale, squash, and much more.  I saw a lot of corn last week, as well as a few early melons; I bet there will be a lot more this week.  Local meats, eggs, and cheeses will be available this week too, as well as baked goods, jams, and local honey.  One of my absolute favorite summer breakfasts is a homemade biscuit, a dollop of homemade peach jam and little bit of local honey.  Warm up the biscuit and it’s a little piece of heaven.  It’s absolutely delicious with a side of local fruit and some yogurt – try it out!

There is so much in season right now.  If you aren’t quite sure what to do with some of the produce cropping up, the Market is starting a website for Market recipes. This could be a great solution for recipes for some of those less common vegetables.  (Rutabaga, anyone?) You can contribute your favorite Market recipes and also look up recipes for items you want to try, but aren’t sure how to cook. This is a new concept the Market is trying out, so watch for new recipes in the coming weeks.  Maybe you’ll even see a few Smile Politely favorites there. Click here for the website.

If you haven’t already discovered how awesome is it to use fresh cut herbs in all your cooking, this would be a great weekend to check out the selection of potted herbs at the Market. I started a few years ago with a tiny pot of basil, and now my entire patio is covered with potted herbs.  Seriously, nothing is better than fresh cut herbs in your favorite dishes. Try some basil on fresh tomato salads, mint on sliced cantaloupe, or a roasted chicken with fresh rosemary.  Just don’t blame me if your yard eventually starts to resemble a jungle of herbs.

Homemade craft items will be available this weekend in addition to all the glorious produce. There has been some really pretty jewelry the last few weekends.  I saw some really colorful, fun necklaces and bracelets last weekend, all made by local artisans.  Keep an eye out for sock monkeys, kid stuff, adorable hair accessories, throw pillows, instruments, and more!  Check out the Market map for a list of vendors here to find your favorites. 

There are still a lot of events to look forward to this Market season.  As a reminder, on August 17 Art at the Market will return with a letterpress project, and there will be a musical performance by Ryan Groff. Check the Art at the Market website for details.

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. Don’t forget that the Market is doubling LINK tokens up to $20 thanks to a grant from LINK UP Illinois.  If you are a LINK patron be sure to take advantage of this great program. And as always, if you run out of cash at the Market, there is an ATM in the Lincoln Square Mall.  It’s likely this time of year that you might see more for purchase than you planned on- I’ve seen that ATM get quite the workout lately!

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.  If you want more information you can email Market Director Natalie Kenny Marquez or call her at 217.384.2319.  And 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!

Photos from Facebook and flickr. 

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