Smile Politely

Market Watch: September 2015

Have you been going to the market regularly this summer? This past weekend, market attendance seemed up to me by quite a bit. I ended up getting to the market much later than usual and there were so many people. It was great to see so many new people at the market — I saw several groups of what appeared to be new grad students and international students at the market. New students aren’t too hard to spot, but I’m glad the market has become such a draw for new people in town!

I am so glad to see so many new vendors this year working to bring new items to the market, including some delicious coffee drinks in mason jars that were all over the market last weekend. Mason jars have become a bit hipster in my estimation, but it’s great to see a reusable product at the market as opposed to a paper cup. I hope it will inspire other vendors and patrons to consider what kinds of packaging they use for market goods. 

This month the market continues to offer some great events, even though the season will start to wind down a bit in late September. The market runs through the first weekend in November, but as the weather starts to turn, less produce is available and some programs will wrap up in September and October. But, there is still plenty of time in the season for fun and great produce at the market. 

On September 5th, the Urbana Free Library will return with Battle of the Books, which appears to be something related to trivia and back to school for kids.  Sounds intriguing, if a bit under advertised. Perhaps it is a giant book trivia event for school children in which small children are forced to compete for books for their school and the heart warming rag tag band of loveable book nerds wins in the whole thing, gets into Harvard and takes over the world with books? Hey, I think there is a movie about something like that… Either way, it sounds interesting, so be sure to check it out at the market on September 5th. 

On September 12th, Art at the Market returns with a HULA HOOP WORKSHOP! Yes, you read that correctly — a hula-hoop workshop. This sounds both awesome and double awesome, so do not miss this one! More information about this event is here. Then on September 19th, the market will host a “fun with flavor” Sprouts event for the kiddos. This event is centered around herbs, so if you know anyone ages 3 through 8 who is planning to attend the market on the 19th, send them to the Sprouts tent. More information about Sprouts can be found here. On September 29th, Champaign County Bike is once again offering a free bike valet service, so check that out if you bike to the market.

As the fall starts to emerge more fully in East Central Illinois, there will continue to be some great produce options. Most of the summer items like melons, peaches, and sweet corn will be done in the coming weeks, so don’t miss out. Then the market will transition to more fall appropriate foods like lettuce, kale, Swiss chard, potatoes, and such, so while there will be a slight transition in what is available the market will have plenty to offer through October and beyond. We once had a kale plant that lived through December, so there are plenty of options as the weather starts to turn. And soon, we will be seeing pumpkins and apples at the market as well!

C-U at the Market!

Market information

Forms of payment: All vendors accept cash, and a few may take checks. Some vendors have card readers on their smart phones, but not all. See information about LINK, SNAP, and WIC guidelines here. If you run out of cash, there is an ATM in Lincoln Square Mall. 

Parking: Free parking is available in the parking lots surrounding Lincoln Square Mall and 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. 

Pets: Pets are not allowed at the market, but you can get some yummy treats to share with your pet when you return home. Seriously people, leave your pets at home.

Information: You can follow the Market on Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for Market mail here. And check out gorgeous photos of the Market on Instagram.

The Market runs from 7 a.m. to noon every Saturday through November 7th. All events are scheduled rain or shine.

All photos by Jessica Hammie. 

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