Smile Politely

Market Watch: August 2016

August is the month that so many delicious things become available at the markets. You can find all sorts of green things including leafy ones, broccoli, zucchini, onions, and peppers. You can also find all sorts of sweet fruits, including one of my favorites, peaches. This month will also bring corn — I had some last month and it wasn’t super delicious, but I’m hopeful this later corn will be sweet and perfect. At both markets, the produce selection really does reflect the rainbow, so challenge yourself to pick up something of every color. It’ll be delicious!

Here’s what’s happening at the markets this month.

National Farmers’ Market week is August 7th through 13th, and both markets will have fun demonstrations and programming. For more info, check out this post we made yesterday. 

Urbana’s Market at the Square

In the past, I’ve done my best to beat the heat and the crowd at the market by doing my shopping before 9 or 9:30 a.m. But in recent weeks I’ve noticed that the heat (and humidity) and crowd arrive earlier and earlier. If you’re on a mission for specific items, I suggest arriving early (the market opens at 7 a.m.) so you can get in, get your items, and get out.

The food trucks make an excellent breakfast/brunch, and there’s no reason you can’t have dessert in the morning. This month look for Cracked Truck, Dragon Fire Pizza, The Pop Stop, Sidney Dairy Barn, Pandamonium Doughnuts, Ye Olde Donuts, Burrito King, and Piato Café.

In terms of programming, look for Art at the Market on August 13th: Los Guapos will be playing music, and the kiddos can turn t-shirts into tote bags with Makerspace. The program is free and open to the public, good for all ages, and participants are encouraged to bring their own t-shirts to recycle. In celebration of National Farmers’ Market week, there will be a kale eating contest at 9:15 a.m., which sounds super healthy. Sprouts at the Market is on August 20th. This program for kids ages three through eight will feature on the non-edible uses of food, like color changing cabbage juice and as natural dyes. Read at the Market will take place in the northwest corner of the market on August 27th.

The last few times I’ve attended, I’ve noticed some folks with their very adorable pets. Please leave them at home! Pets, even those sweet, big-eyed puppies, are not permitted at the market.

Urbana Market Info

The Urbana market is one of the largest farmer’s markets and has been in continuous operation since 1979. The Urbana market runs from May 7th to November 5th each Saturday morning from 7 a.m. to noon, rain or shine. No pets are allowed.

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. This year market mail has included some nice seasonal recipes so it might be worth it to sign up! And check out the Market Instagram for some gorgeous photos of the Market.

Champaign Market Forecast

If you’re looking to avoid the crowds, or have a hard time rising before noon on Saturday, then the Tuesday market is your choice. Each week the vendors expand and thereby expand the available produce and goodies. It’s a great market; I’m glad that there is an opportunity to pick up some tasty freshness during the week.

Each week The Land Connection’s tent offers samples of two different items. These have ranged from kale and kohlrabi, to cookies and watermelon. Try something new—you might actually like it! (Especially if it is a cookie.)

In addition to restocking fresh produce for your virtuous weekly salad lunches, you can pick up some dangerously delicious baked goods from Hopscotch. There are a handful of food trucks on hand, too, making the Tuesday market a lovely date spot. I’m a fan of ordering diner from one of the food trucks (you can usually find Dragon Fire Pizza, Fernando’s, and Hendrick House on hand) and then picking up something sweet from Hopscotch or Pop Stop. If the weather is nice you can have a seat on the little parking lot grass island, or one the curbs or benches nearby.

Champaign Market Info

The Land Connection’s Champaign market is on Tuesday evenings from 4 to 7 p.m. in Downtown Champaign. Dogs are welcome at this market, but must be leashed.

Parking is available in parking lot M off of Neil Street. Vendors take mostly cash, but some do take cards on smartphones. If you run out of cash, there are ATMs close by in the Busey building on University, or at the PNC location on Main Street just behind the market. 

The Champaign Market offers a recipe service called Farm Fresh Now! to help you use your produce, check it out here. And you can always check Facebook for updates and ideas.

Photos by Jessica Hammie.

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