Smile Politely

Market Watch: October 27, 2012

This week, I’m going to obsess about sweet potatoes, because I love me some beta-carotene. Sweet potatoes are delicious with or without a side of butternut squash, and you can find both at the Urbana Market at the Square this coming Saturday, along with pumpkins, peppers, pastries, and pasta.

Speaking of sweet potatoes, remember to be a responsible consumer and wash your produce, because my little sister (who’s studying nutrition) has told me some stuff that I wish I never learned.

At this week’s Market, you can pick up some cheese, onions, garlic, assorted meats, and freshly cut flowers for a fancy dinner party, or stick to apples, honey, and kettlecorn to feed your sweet tooth. Or buy some sweet potatoes to douse in brown sugar and top with marshmallows. Yes, Midwestern dietary choices are The Best. (Sweet potato risotto is also pretty okay, I guess, but only if there is some version of sweet potato pie or casserole for appetizers AND dessert.)

In the arts & crafts section, you’ll find fun greeting cards (letterpress anyone?), cute shopping bags (but remember to keep the meat and produce separate! And wash those things — the bags AND the produce. Seriously.), headbands featuring Hello Kitty with a mustache (it’s true, I saw it), baby bibs, bedazzling jewelry, and other great gifts for the never-ending, winter-based holiday(s) season looming ever closer on the calendar.

The fifth row, closest to Vine Street, showcases non-profits and other community organizations, plus lots of signs reminding you to exercise your democratic right / responsibility to VOTE ON NOVEMBER 6 (or before, but not after!).

If you believe (there’s an app for that), Saturday should be a partly sunny day in the high 40s (that’s Fahrenheit, folks) with a small chance of rain, so now’s the time to bust out those not-quite-winter jackets or stock up on some knit items at the Market.

There should be assorted musical performances around the Market. (Again, there don’t seem to be any featured musicians scheduled on the Market blog this week, but it never hurts to listen up while you’re there.)

MONEY MONEY MONEY: You can always pay vendors in greenbacks (do people still use that word to refer to cash? It sounds vaguely pejorative.), but you can buy tokens from the City tent using a credit, debit, or LINK card (as long as it’s your credit, debit, or LINK card). The tent is (still) at the northwest entrance to the Market, near Health Alliance in the Lincoln Square Mall. The City tent has Illinois seasonality charts if you need some help deciding on what produce to buy, which I guess means you don’t like my suggestions, which I guess means more sweet potatoes will be available for me. They also have Market merch so you can advertise how much you like chickens on a cunning new t-shirt or tote bag.

MISSION: Don’t send me a picture of you having a wonderful time eating kettlecorn or stuffing your face with free samples or trying on children’s Halloween costumes that are on sale at the Market. (I’m trying reverse psychology this week. Totally a thing — I read about it on the Internet.)

PARKING: Free public parking is available in the Lincoln Square Mall lot and the lot south of Illinois Street. There’s ample bike parking west of the Market (shaped like produce! How appropriate) and near the entrances to Lincoln Square Mall.

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: 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.

Get out there for some fun times, fresh produce, and fall weather for the second to last outdoor Market of the 2012 season (really this time — last week was actually the third to last — my bad)! (And don’t worry, they’re moving inside through December!)

Have fun chatting up the local growers, vendors, and artists at this week’s Market!


All photos by Urbana Market at the Square

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