Smile Politely

Market Watch: Corn, tomatoes, and sprouts

Calling all sprouts! This weekend, Sprouts at the Market returns with “Some Say Tomato!” This program is designed to encourage kids to like, eat, and grow tomatoes. Different varieties of tomato will be on hand for kids to sample, as well as lots of ideas of things to make from tomatoes at home. This event is free and runs from 9:00 -11:30 a.m. To learn more about this event click here.

Also back this week to the Market is Champaign County Bikes. Come join in the two-wheeler fun and learn more about bike events in our community. Champaign County Bikes will provide valet bike parking at the Market, as well as information about bike happenings around town.  There will be a press conference at 9 a.m. to announce the newly updated bike map of Champaign- Urbana; if you regularly ride your bike around town, this is an event you won’t want to miss! 

The main event this week at the Market, though, will be the abundance of produce.  There is so much to choose from each week as the summer harvest in Central Illinois rolls in. If you missed the sweet corn last week, there will be much more this week.  I love the experience of picking the super fresh corn from the back of a farm truck and seeing all the efforts of the corn farmers up close.  We live in an area with so many cornfields and see so much corn this time of year, that is truly a wonderfulexperience to see all the hard working farmers who provide so much of our nation’s food supply getting some much deserved praise. There are also so many delicious tomatoes to be had at the Market this time of the year. I am loving the selection of heirlooms! I plan to buy some of the beautiful heirlooms this week and make some tomato preserves for winter. Tomatoes are also fantastic for caprese salad, impromptu pasta sauce, or even just eaten like an apple with a little pepper. 

There will be so much more at the Market than just corn and tomatoes, though.  Look for lettuce, cucumbers, fresh herbs, peppers, peas, cabbage, onions, potatoes, berries of all kinds, peaches, apples, and maybe even some locally grown watermelon! YUM. Also, there will be eggs, locally grown free-range meats, locally produced cheeses, jams, and so much more. If you are a meat eater, I highly recommend the bacon from Triple-S farms. It is delectable for morning egg scrambles and makes absolutely the best BLT with some local bread, heirloom tomatoes and some Market lettuce.  You can even buy eggs at the Market and make your own mayo if you are feeling especially motivated.  Good eating in Urbana!

And don’t forget all the flowers, handmade craft items, soaps, sun catchers, and home décor items! There have been so many great options at the Market for eating, that we’ve been eating our brunch while we browse all the beautiful produce. If you aren’t an early riser on Saturdays, don’t worry about eating before you go, just plan to get your breakfast/brunch/lunch at the Market while you shop for the week.  I highly recommend being early if you can though, the cinnamon rolls sell out quickly!

There are more great events coming up soon at the Market. On August 17, Art at the Market returns with the Soybean Press. Learn how to make your own letterpress items at this event. For more information click here. Also, perennial Urbana favorite, musician Ryan Groff will be at the Market on August 17 from 9:30 -11:30 a.m. Don’t miss this great event!

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.  This week be on the lookout for bike valets!

Information: You can follow the Market on Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for Market mail here. There is a map of the vendors 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 excellent 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. Come check out all the summer abundance the Market has to offer this week!

Photos from the Market’s Facebook page.

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