Smile Politely

Market Watch: October 13, 2012

Pumpkins, squash, sunflowers, honey, and apples are all on my list for the Urbana Market at  the Square this coming Saturday. There were two truck loads of corn last weekend, so it’s not too late to fire up the grill for some corn on the cob. We also had beer-battered green beans from last week’s crop, which I would recommend to go with the corn. The Market blog also promises eggplant, which goes over great with visiting vegetarian sister-in-laws.

Alongside the assorted food vendors (get there early for fresh cinnamon buns!), there will be meat suppliers in attendance. As usual, carnivores can order an amazing array of bacon and venison-themed products. Local artists will showcase their wares, which range from jewelry and purses to doll and dog clothes to photographs and paintings to ornate carvings and customized belts.

Visit the fifth row, closest to Vine Street, to donate to non-profits, get some information on community organizations, sign petitions, or build your collection of politically-themed bumper stickers.

Speaking of the weather, grab those tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers before the frost sets in! If you trust forecasts from, Saturday is supposed to have a high of 76 and a low of 60, with a 40% chance of scattered thunderstorms and 18 mph southerly winds, but that’s why vendor tents have to be secured with regulation weights or very large rocks.

Sunshine permitting, performers will be providing the musical soundtrack for your stroll through the Market. This Saturday will feature regular Market musicians, The Turinos from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Matt Turino and his father, Tom Turino, promise Market-goers a winning combination of fiddle, guitar, percussion, banjo, accordion, charango, and vocals.

MONEY MONEY MONEY: You can always pay vendors in American cash, but the City tent will sell you tokens if you’ve only got your credit, debit, or LINK card. The tent is at the northwest entrance to the Market, nearest to Health Alliance in the Lincoln Square Mall. They sell Market merch, including t-shirts and tote bags.

PARKING: Free public parking is available in the Lincoln Square Mall lot, as well as the lot south of Illinois Street. There’s ample bike parking west of the Market (check out the bright Market bike racks!) and all around Lincoln Square Mall. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see the amazing car-cycle, a human-powered vehicle that appeared to seat seven when I caught a glimpse of it at the Market last weekend.

SPECIAL FEATURE: This week’s Market activity is hosted by Traci Pines, who will be helping Market-goers design eco-friendly cloth napkins from 8;00 a.m. until noon. As of press time, I can’t tell you exactly where to find her, but check at the City tent and I’m sure they’ll sort you out so you can replace your paper napkins with your own cunning, custom fabric-paint designs.

YOUR MISSION: Find the best jam, jelly, honey, toffee, or baked good. Then give it to me. Find a lovely handmade greeting card and send it to your mother. You should call more, but a card will do. Have a taste testing of all the doughnuts you can find. Take pictures of your favorite booths with Instagram, and share them with Smile Politely. Be kind to others, and don’t cut in line or mash too hard on the produce when you’re checking it out.

MORE MARKET TIPS: Check out the Illinois seasonality charts at the City tent if you need some help deciding on what produce to buy, or hit up their water cooler if you’re parched.

IF YOU HAVE MORE QUESTIONS: Check out the Market’s homepage; follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and/or Pinterest; check out their photos on flickr; email Interim Market Director Natalie Kenny-Marquez; or call (217) 384-2319.

IN CLOSING: Last week saw a large spontaneous dance party near the corner of Vine and Illinois — jump right in if that’s your thing. Don’t forget to grab some free samples and enjoy chatting up the local growers, vendors, and artists at the Market!

The Urbana Market at the Square starts at 7 a.m. on Saturday and runs until noon in the parking lot of Lincoln Square Mall at the intersection of Illinois and Vine Streets. Rain or shine, see you there!

All photos by Natalie Kenny-Marquez

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