Smile Politely

Market Watch: July 26th, 2014

The market was packed last week! I guess the additional re-scheduled events really encouraged people to get out of the house on Saturday morning. Or maybe it was the perfect market weather? Either way, last week was a great example of how the market attracts a lot people during the season and is a great place to run into your friends. I saw a lot of kiddos participating in the Sprouts program (sponsored by, and the line at the make your own tote bag stand was busy, but moving pretty quickly. It seems like both Sprouts and Art at the Market are really doing well this year and have had great participation from market patrons. 

The Aduki Jazz Quartet was nice to listen to and seemed to play quite a few recognizable tunes. How can you beat a free jazz performance, local produce, and a free art project? Well, the Urbana Free Library seemed to be doing just that with free balloons for kids. The balloon line was really long and everywhere you looked there were green balloons. This Saturday looks like it will be another great day at the market, so don’t miss the chance to see your friends and neighbors and load up on some fresh, local produce.

This week, the market won’t have a bajillion events happening, but it will have lots of new produce arrivals. As the season goes on, the vendors’ stalls are getting fuller and fuller of produce. One of the truly great things to look forward to this week is the possibility of some of the best sweet corn of the season. Although there has been corn at the market the last couple of weeks, we are finally hitting full sweet corn ripeness. Truly ripe corn is sweet and unbeatable, so be sure to keep an eye out for a few ears. Blueberries have also been popping up at the market the last few weeks. Great for eating whole, or baking into muffins, breads, and pies, blueberries are a summer staple in central Illinois. If you are looking for specific items while you are shopping at the market, check out this great tool for locating produce

Additionally, if you are trying to avoid heating up your kitchen unnecessarily this summer, there are lots of local and free range meat options for grilling and many, many prepared foods to check out. I often make my own bread at home during the fall and winter, but this time of year it’s too hot to run the oven so I’ve really been enjoying picking up a loaf from Pekara or Great Harvest Bread Co. as part of my summer routine. I also noticed last week that Pandamonium Doughnuts seems to finally have their supply issues figured out, so if you were hoping to try a doughnut, but didn’t want to wait or they were always out, there might be hope. Of course, arriving early is always your best bet to get the best choice of items at the market.  

Forms of payment: All vendors accept cash, and a few may take checks. There is an ATM in the Lincoln Square Mall just in case you buy so much you need a few more bucks.  LINK card tokens are still available. See information about LINK here.

Parking: Parking is available in the parking lots surrounding Lincoln Square Mall and the lot south of Illinois Street for FREE! 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: The market provides a lot of ways to get 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 flickr for some great photos. The market also has Instagram; you can follow the feed here.

Pets: The market doesn’t allow pets, so leave your furry friends at home. But there are plenty of places to pick up a special treat for your pet at the market so they don’t feel left out.

The Market runs from 7 a.m. to noon every Saturday through November 1st. All events are scheduled rain or shine.

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