Smile Politely

Market Watch: October 2014

October marks the last month of the outdoor market. After November 1, the market moves indoors to Lincoln Square Mall. In the meantime, though, take advantage of the late season produce, and stock up on items with long shelf lives like onions and squashes. This month you’ll also find all sorts of colorful produce, including okra, eggplant, beets, broccoli, potatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes. If there is something you’re looking for specifically, use the product search tool

In addition to edible goods, you’ll also find a variety of flowers and plants. The mums have been gorgeous. A nice pot of mums on your porch or patio will bring the color of the fall leaves down a little closer to eye level. Cut sunflowers should be available through mid-October. Vendors will also have some flowering  (and non-flowering) wreaths for your interior and exterior aesthetic pleasure.

Crafty items like purses, wallets, pillows, and other home and body décor will be available through November, and I expect most vendors will continue to participate in the indoor market (beginning November 8).  A few weeks ago I mentioned Halloween costumes—remember those little Frozen Elsa dresses?—dare I suggest you start thinking of Hanukkah (December 16-24), Christmas (December 25), or Kwanzaa (December 26-January 1) gifts? Too soon? Let’s pretend I didn’t mention it.

October 4th is “Shop Illinois Saturday,” a challenge put forth by Illinois Main Street and the Illinois Department of Agriculture for Illinois households to dedicate $10 of their existing, weekly budgets to the purchase of Illinois products. If you regularly shop at the market, this should be an easy challenge to complete. I can think of plenty of ways to spend $10 at the market.

Sprouts at the Market wraps up on October 18th with “What We Grow in Illinois” presented by Common Ground Food Co-op. The free program is geared for kids between the ages of three and eight, and takes place 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. These events have been super cute, super informative, and super fun for the kids involved (and I think the adults, too).

Forms of payment: All vendors accept cash, and a few may take checks. There is an ATM in the Lincoln Square Mall. LINK tokens are still available.

Parking: Free parking is available in the parking lots surrounding Lincoln Square Mall and in 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: The market provides a lot of ways to get information. You can follow the market on Facebook and Twitter, or sign up for market mail. Check out the map of the vendors, or search for produce. If you want more information you can email Market Director Natalie Kenny Marquez, or call her at 217-384-2319. Check out Flickr and Instagram for some great photos from the market each week.

Pets: The market doesn’t allow pets, so leave your furry friends at home.

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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