Smile Politely

Market Watch: August 6, 2010

The show is going on this week at the Market – not only is it National Farmers Market Week, the weather should be sunny and not oppressive, and some of the best tasting produce of the year starts arriving at the Market in August. Sure, a lot of it looks familiar since you’ve been seeing for a few weeks now, but this time of year it really comes into its own in terms of flavor and scent. Speaking of, the smell of the cantaloupes mixed with the tuberose — have I mentioned this before? — should be called “farmers market.” Go to the north end of Row 2 to see what MW is talking about.

Anyway, as it is National Farmers Market Week, Market patrons are being encouraged to bring their cameras and take photos of their favorite stuff at the Market, whatever it is — produce, baked goods, dogs, tee-shirts, you name it. The photos will be posted on the Market’s Facebook page and maybe their Flickr page, too. It should be interesting to see the Market through patrons’ lenses. Also, stop by the City tent to pick up a free Illinois – Where Fresh Is fridge magnet that was produced just for this week. Heck, pick up two! The info on the magnet will help you find a farmers market in Illinois, no matter where you are.

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, turnips, peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums, early apples, eggplant, kohlrabi, raspberries, gooseberries, currants, sweet corn, potatoes, garlic, fresh whole onions, 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. By the way, Veggie Trails should be back this weekend.

MW came into a bunch of peaches last weekend but did not feel like making jam due to the heat, because MW is apparently a delicate flower of some sort these days. At any rate, here’s one thing you can do with a bunch of peaches: freeze them. I got some quart freezer bags and washed all the peaches. Then I peeled them, cut or pulled them away from the pit, sliced them into little wedges, dosed them with a bit of lemon juice, and loaded them into bags. You can also add sugar — it will help them last a bit longer in the freezer. MW likes to use frozen fruit in smoothies or over shortcake out of season. Peaches will taste good in December, yo.

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. Hopefully there are more t-shirts available; if MW heard right, there might be, even in kids’ sizes! 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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