Smile Politely

Market Watch: August 21, 2010

Wow! Get to the third week of August around these parts and it suddenly becomes another world entirely, one filled with teeming hordes of people (and their parents) driving all over the place looking for interesting things to do, things that capture the spirit of the area and all that stuff. If you’re here with your family tagging along for a few days, MW believes the Market is a great place to bring your parents; parents love farmers’ markets (plus Urbana’s is one of the best in the state), the people-watching is top-notch, and you can get the folks to pay for filling up your fridge with local goodness. Also, if you’re new in town but are not a student, the Market will likely become one of your weekly rituals during the season, which this year runs through November 6. You will buy staples there, make friends there, eat breakfast there, feel sad when you’re not there. It’s a good place to really figure out what’s going on in this community. WELCOME, OK?

OK! Here’s a little list of what you’ll be able to find this week: green beans, rainbow chard, kale, okra, green onions, cabbage, fresh herbs, lettuces (better arrive early if you want some), tomatoes, cucumbers, summer squash,, peaches, nectarines, plums, early apples, eggplant, kohlrabi, blackberries (?), sweet corn, potatoes, garlic, fresh whole onions, all kinds of melons, and who knows what else.

Of course, there will be a vast array of frozen, farm-raised meat at the Market, as always, as well as goat cheese, honey, eggs, baked goods, and prepared foods — which reminds MW that Tiny Greens will be back this weekend. Veggie Trails, the vegetarian food trailer that specializes in “vegetarian cowboy cuisine” will also be in effect, but they are gone next weekend, as are Fryer Tuck and their lovely egg and sausage sandwiches (among many other things; that is just MW’s favorite). Got that? Also, just a reminder that Baking Bakers, the folks who were doing the gluten-free baked goods in Row 5 next to Tiny Greens, are done for the season. You can contact the Market’s director for the Bakers’ contact information in case you need a recipe or want to order something.

A quick note to students who are concerned that they cannot shop at the Market because there is no way they could eat what they buy before it goes bad, or store what they buy, MW has two bits of advice: 1) Plan meals! That way you won’t buy a bunch of stuff you don’t need or won’t use. MW should take her own good advice, actually. 2) Keep in mind, almost everything is sold by the pound or by the single item, so you can be in total control of the amount of food you buy. You can always just buy one of something! Items like apples, which are just starting to be in season, store easier than ripe peaches. If you stop by the City tent, located at the northwest entrance to the Market, the nice people there have all kinds of literature about how to shop for and store fresh produce. Ask them for help — that’s what they’re there for.

Just a reminder to all users of credit, debit and LINK cards: the Market now accepts all of these at the City tent. You can bring your card(s) to the tent, located at the Market’s NW entrance, get them swiped for whatever transaction amount you desire (credit and debit purchases carry a one dollar service charge), and you’ll get tokens that are spendable anywhere within the Market. Pretty dang cool. Of course, cash and checks are gladly accepted by all Market vendors — this is just another payment option.

If you need another canvas grocery bag to add to the menagerie, Market totes are available once again for the low, low price of $8. More t-shirts are available — if MW heard right, there are a few kids’ sizes! These will also look totally awesome when you wear them on campus! Anyway, the City is accepting cash and checks only for these items, not their own Market money, which is kind of funny. MW has heard that Common Ground Food Co-op will be carrying the bags and shirts at their store in coming days, so if you were denied at the Market, try the co-op. MW also hears the City is considering shipping these items outside the area for former residents who desperately miss Urbana’s Market. Email Lisa, the Market’s Director, if you’re an out-of-towner who needs some Market merch.

Have a great weekend! Eat well!

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