Smile Politely

Market Watch: Dive in to fall with cilantro

Yep, it’s still trucking along quite nicely. Don’t forget — Market at the Square will be doing its thing, with great style and moxie, through Saturday, November 7. The Urbana Business Association will start its indoor Holiday Market at Lincoln Square Village the following Saturday (November 14) at 8 a.m. While the Markets are different, they share many of the same vendors, including farmers. For more information, click on the link above or call 344-3872.

We know that everyone thinks of orange and brown and red things to eat during the fall — pumpkins, apples, potatoes, etc — but there’s a surprising amount of lushly green things to eat, too.

Last week, we wrote about kale and other brassicas, all of which are in plentiful supply this time of year and are very, very green. Today’s Market suggestion is mostly about an herby green edible that loves this time of year: cilantro.

Cilantro seems to be one of those love-it-or-hate-it culinary herbs; there is very little in-between. Its leaves appears in many different dishes, especially Mexican and Asian ones, but its pungent taste and smell can be a turnoff for some folks. Seasoned Market at the Square shoppers know that fresh cilantro is usually in evidence early to mid-season and then again later on, owing to its distaste for hot weather. This is OK, because basil loves what cilantro hates, but this season, cilantro has been quite plentiful, and it’s still going strong at the Market.

Try some! You can get almost everything you need for a potent pico de gallo at the market this weekend, extra cilantro optional. Deborah Madison, a champion of eating from one’s farmers’ market, offers up this great recipe, perfect with chips whilst watching the baseball playoffs:


  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 serrano chiles, finely diced, or 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • ¼ cup finely diced white onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • Salt
  • Juice of 1 lime or 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar


Combine the tomatoes with their juices, garlic, chiles, onion, cilantro, and ¼ teaspoon salt in a bowl. Add the lime juice and taste for salt. If the tomatoes weren’t very juicy, add 1 tablespoon water. Let stand 20 minutes or so before serving.

This week’s food:

apples, fennel, cilantro, leeks, onions, heirloom potatoes, tomatoes, fresh carrots, chard, cabbages, lettuces and salad mixes, spinach, green onions, green beans, okra, eggplant, hot & sweet peppers, broccoli, kohlrabi, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, squashes (including pumpkins) — also, locally-raised meat and eggs, award-winning goat cheese, honey, and much more

Week # 25 features an encore appearance by the Mahomet Aquifer Project. From their official information: “The Mahomet Aquifer Project is a multi-year dance project that investigates the multiple influences, forces and flows on the aquifer including geography, history, hydrology, geology, environmental and economic studies.” The performance will take place from 9 a.m. to noon on Walnut Street, just west of the Market site, same as last week. ALSO: U-Cycle and the Landscape Recycling Center will be out from 8 a.m. to noon to answer any and all questions about recycling, leaf pickup, composting how-tos, etc. Make sure you pay them a visit!

Things we’ll discuss in-depth next week — the season’s final Sprouts at the Market even takes place October 24, and Market at the Scare’s happening on… Halloween!

Looking forward to seeing everyone out there!

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