Smile Politely

Market Watch: July 2016

I was at the Urbana market last weekend and attendance is really starting to pick up as the produce is rolling in. I tend to go pretty early on Saturdays, but even at 8 a.m., the market was full of produce and people. July is prime season for a lot of great items for your market pantry as local produce production reaches peak season. This month keep a look out for some excellent locally grown sweet corn, peaches, berries, and melons. Both markets also some really fun events planned, including a Bastille day celebration at the Tuesday market and full docket of fun events at the Saturday market. Additionally, for SNAP participants, both the Urbana and Champaign market are doubling link purchases up to $40 again this month so be sure to take advantage of this program if you are a SNAP participant.

Here is your monthly overview for both the Saturday Urbana market and the Tuesday Champaign market.

Urbana Market Forecast

This month there are many, many things happening at the market!  On July 2nd, head to the market to pick up all the items you need for the holiday weekend, including locally grown meats for holiday BBQs. I highly recommend checking out the new bison vendor for some bison burgers if that’s your kind of thing. Triple S also has a great variety of meats and eggs to choose from. If you plan to pick up meats or dairy, it might be helpful to bring a cooler or freezer bag to keep your selections cold while you enjoy the market.

I am really looking forward to seeing more fruit at the market, especially peaches, as the season progresses. If you are hoping to get the best selection of fruit from the market, you may want to plan to arrive early since things have a tendency to sell out. 

Lots of events are planned for this month, including a cooking demonstration and wine tasting with Dave Saam of Dragon Fire Pizza, featuring wines from Alto Vineyards and Sleepycreek. On July 9th, Art at the Market returns with music by Bones Jugs, and a Monster Rocks art workshop with Karissa McDermott. The monster rocks art project sounds fun and includes the chance to use googly eyes and glue.  Sprouts at the Market returns July 16th with a chance for kids age 3 through 8 to sample local produce and make their own dips. Read at the Market will also be around this month on July 23rd with a chance for kids to pick a story to hear aloud.  The librarians are very welcoming and friendly so head over to the library tent if you have a kiddo who would like to pick a story.  Overall, this looks to be a very promising and busy month at the Urbana market; be sure to head out on Saturday mornings to check it out.

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 7:00 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

The Champaign market has been steadily growing and it looks to be getting even better this month. The sampling tent is a great addition to the market, and it turns out even kids like vegetables if you can sample them at the market. The Tuesday market has added some great vendors this season, including some grain vendors for locally grown and milled grains from Brian Severson Farms, and some more fruit vendors will be making appearances later this month for watermelon, peaches, plums, and apples. Already there was sweet corn this week at the market and it will be back next week as well.

I am pretty excited about the Bastille day activities planned for July 12th, including French food tasting, face painting, and music. Even if you aren’t a Francophile, this sounds like a fun event for kids and adults alike. Next week the Tuesday market will host a bike clinic by Neutral Cycle and kids activities by the Orpheum. Additionally, it seems like this has become the market for dog lovers so if you wish to bring your dog, on a leash of course, this is the market for you.

Champaign market Info

The 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 their 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 their Facebook page for updates and ideas. 

Photos by Jessica Hammie. 

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