Smile Politely

Market Watch: May 29, 2010

Week Five of Urbana’s Market at the Square is shaping up to be yet another doozy. The weather will be warm and sunny, the vendors will be plentiful, and you people will be out in force, looking for all kinds of food to place on your holiday weekend grills. We will get to the food in a second – before MW goes any further, however, now would be a good time to let readers know that the City of Urbana has a new website, which means the Market has a new page as well. It appears that basic content is up on the page, including info about this week’s Market, with more to follow, we’re sure. Fire up your bookmarks and add this one.

Now – the food. Yes, there will be plenty of food at the Market this weekend. In fact, get ready, because the way this growing season is going, there’s going to be more than plenty in 2010. It’s been a phenomenal year for fruit so far and there is every indication that stone fruits and other berries, which are up next, will be just as plentiful. As for vegetables, the Market has had a plethora of early-season greens, but now some other stuff is starting to come in, and the recent heat is helping accelerate growth of crops that love warmth. Look for greenhouse stuff as you prowl all five rows of the Market – it is likely you’ll see some zukes and cukes. Think of your grills!

Here’s an incomplete list of this week’s available produce: strawberries, salad mix, head lettuces, arugula, collard greens, radishes, rainbow chard, green onions, kales, spinach, rapini, rhubarb, greenhouse zucchini and cukes, hydroponic tomatoes, turnips, kohlrabi, and fresh cut herbs. You might even see some peas, if you’re lucky. As with every weekend, vendors will bring what they have, and MW does not always know ahead of time what they will be bringing. MW cannot emphasize this enough – shop the Market all the way through to make sure you’re seeing everything that’s available. There is produce, meat, and other farm products everywhere in the Market, not just near the entrances.

Oh – and , yes. While asparagus is definitely on its way out, strawberries are still quite dominant. While MW eats just about every strawberry right out of the box, food writer Mark Bittman (or someone posting on behalf of Mark Bittman) has an idea for really simple jam. Check it out, because it sounds really awesome.

One last reminder – the Market continues to tweak its credit/debit/LINK system, which, if you do not already know, is a way for Market shoppers to use credit, debit, and LINK cards at the Market by swiping the cards at the City tent and receiving tokens to shop with any vendor (for LINK users, the tokens are for use to purchase LINK-eligible foods) within the Market. Of course, cash and checks are always welcome at vendor booths – these tokens are just an additional way to pay. The Market’s staff is working hard to improve the service, so make sure you provide some feedback to those folks at the City tent.

This weekend at the Market, Urbana’s Public Arts Program will be offering a collaborative collage project/workshop from 8 AM – noon. The UPA Program will offer 6 workshops this season, all with a theme of “Art and the Environment”. This workshop is continuous, all-ages, and free to everyone. Go get yr art on at the Market!

Reminder: but the Market can be found on Twitter here and on Facebook here. Apparently, there are also photos at Flickr.

Coming up at the Market:

June 5: Urbana Free Library at the Market

June 12: Urbana’s Market at the Square and Urbana’s U-Cycle Program present: RECYCLIMPICS! More details coming soon.

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