Smile Politely

Market Watch: May 24th, 2014

The weather is finally starting to cooperate a little bit more and the market has been such a nice place to hang out on Saturday morning. This weekend looks like the weather will be even better, and it’s a great time to stock up on local produce, meats, cheeses, and all the things you need for the holiday weekend.  

Last week the Sprouts program was back to help kids learn about farm to table and let them sample some yummy treats. I saw a lot of people riding their bikes to the market. Don’t forget Bike to the Market Month continues again this week. To learn more about this activity, see the C-U Bike Month website. One of my favorite things from last week was that I was able to snag some especially tasty strawberries from one of the few vendors who had any. Although the berries themselves were pretty small, they were exceptionally sweet and delicious. There should be more berries at the market this weekend, but you have to get there early to get them. Strawberries sell out very quickly on Saturday mornings.

There is always live music at the market, even when there is not a scheduled Art at the Market performance. There are usually a few musicians close to the entrances and one close to the community tent row. Last week, there was a ukulele player and a guitar group. There is frequently also a jazz duo that is quite good. It’s usually easy to spot the musicians, because they tend to attract audiences of small dancing kids. 

Additionally, there are a lot of crafty items at the market to check out. There is always local art to browse at the market: photography, woodcarvings, jewelry, toys, blown glass, and even handmade instruments. The local craft offerings tend to change a little from week to week, so be sure to check them out weekly for additions to the offerings. Last week, I saw some great journals made from the covers of old books. The journals were pretty sturdy and would be nice for taking notes, making lists, or just carrying around with you to jot down ideas. There were also some really nicely scented, handmade soaps and lotions if you are looking for locally made and sourced bath products. Be sure to check out the great variety of products each week!

This week there should be more produce coming in. Look out for the aforementioned strawberries, lots of asparagus, some spring greens, and rhubarb.  There will also be a good variety of garden plants and herbs for your home garden.  I’ve been a little disappointed in the cut flower selection so far this season, but I think that is mostly due to the harsh winter cutting into the growing season, so hopefully there will be more variety soon. Don’t miss the meat vendors for all your holiday grilling, and the cheese and dairy vendors. Last week Prairie Fruits Farm had some delicious gelato that would make a great dessert for your holiday weekend.   

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. Information about LINKis available 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.

dancing: The market provides a lot of ways to get information. You can follow them 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. Check out flickr for some great photos from the market each week. The market also has instagram.

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

Related Articles