Smile Politely

Market Watch: October 23, 2010

It seems like it was just yesterday that MW was admonishing all of you to bring extra water and sunscreen when you ventured out to the Market… and now here we are, with MW encouraging jackets, hats, and, yes, umbrellas this weekend. Fall is here, and the Market’s season is winding down. Not to worry, though — there will still be fresh food to buy, even after the outdoor season ends — more on that in a jiffy.

Here’s some of what you’ll find at the Market this week: green beans (?), rainbow chard, various cabbages, fresh herbs, lettuces, salad mix, spinach, fennel, bok choi, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, winter squash & pumpkins, apples, eggplant, potatoes, garlic, fresh whole onions, melons, sweet potatoes, radishes, turnips, okra (maybe), mushrooms, broccoli, and who knows what else.

Of course, there will be a vast array of frozen, farm-raised meat at the Market, as always, as well as eggs, goat cheese, honey, and baked goods. Produce/bakery vendors done for the season include Mileur Orchard, Upper Crust Bakery, and Jerry & Dawn’s Produce, among others – if you do not see one of your beloved vendors, please ask someone in charge! As for prepared foods, Veggie Trails is back this week! MW is giving serious thanks, as their cayenne-spiced hot chocolate plus a bowl of chili is something to behold on a chilly Saturday morning. Fryer Tuck will also be in the house this week with its fantastic egg sandwiches made with (some) local ingredients. Tiny Greens makes wicked, sprouty sandwiches and wraps.

REMINDER: Now is the time to get your pumpkins. Halloween is a week from this Sunday!

The Market will have changed shape this weekend, going from 5 rows to 4. While MW has heard that major efforts are being made to transpose Row 5 vendors to row 4, some folks will be in different places. If you’re not seeing a vendor, please ask at the City tent — the nice people there will help you locate them.

Special events this week: It’s the last Sprouts at the Market event of the season — Sprouts is partnering with the Eastern Illinois Foodbank on this one. Weather permitting, the event will run from 9–11 a.m.. Sign your favorite 3–8 year-old up at the Sprouts tent at the NW entrance to the Market. All kids who finish the activities receive a certificate of participation, good for a 20% discount at ArtMart Toys all day. What’s not to like?

Next week, if the weather holds, the Market will offer the final Art at the Market session of the season (thanks, Urbana’s Public Arts Program) as well as a book signing with Professor May Berenbaum of the University of Illinois’ entomology department. Her book is called Honey, I’m Homemade, and is a collection of honey history, recipes, and lore. Books will be available for sale at the booth, and Professor Berenbaum will be signing copies from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. Also, the Market is a great place to take that Halloween costume out on a test run.

OK. If you are anything like MW, the idea of the Market ending just brings on the sad. Fortunately, the Urbana Business Association’s Holiday Market picks up where the City of Urbana’s Market at the Square leaves off. While MATS ends 11/6, HM starts 11/13 and runs for six glorious weeks. HM opens at a very reasonable 8 a.m. and closes at 1 p.m. While the HM definitely has a holiday vibe to it, the two markets share many vendors, including produce growers. You can get your cheese, eggs, meat, baked goods, greens, carrots, root vegetables, apples, and much more at the HM! Mark your calendars, OK?

Looking for parking? Don’t forget, there’s additional parking just south of the Market site (and west of the dry cleaner’s) that’s brand new! MW noticed the lot area got gussied up with some prairie plants this week. Nice.

Just a reminder to all users of credit, debit and LINK cards: the Market now accepts all of these at the City tent. You can bring your card(s) to the tent, located at the Market’s NW entrance, get them swiped for whatever transaction amount you desire (credit and debit purchases carry a one dollar service charge), and you’ll get tokens that are spendable anywhere within the Market. Pretty dang cool. Of course, cash and checks are gladly accepted by all Market vendors – this is just another payment option.

Two Market policy reminders:

1. Dogs = allowed, just keep them on a short leash, clean up after them, and make sure they’re not scaring anyone with their barking or jumping.

2. Smoking of any kind = NOT ALLOWED inside the Market. Please find the Director if you have questions.

If you need another canvas grocery bag to add to the menagerie, Market totes are available in limited quantities for the low, low price of $8. More t-shirts are available — if MW heard right, there are a few little kids’ sizes! Bigger kids – these shirts will also look totally awesome when you wear them on campus! Anyway, the City is accepting cash and checks only for these items, not their own Market money, which is kind of funny. MW has heard that is carrying the bags and shirts at their store right by the Market, so if you get denied at the Market, try the co-op. MW also hears the City is considering shipping these items outside the area for former residents who desperately miss Urbana’s Market. Email Lisa, the Market’s Director, if you’re an out-of-towner who needs some Market merch.

Have a great weekend! Eat well!


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