September is a great month to hit up our farmers’ markets. There are so many good things to buy right now, and with the weather is cooling down, a visit to the market is a lovely way to spend a Saturday morning or a Tuesday afternoon.
Wear your mask and explore all the fruits, veggies, herbs, cheese, meats, and baked goods at the market. This month, make sure you take advantage of both the Urbana Market in the Square and the Champaign Farmers’ Market; there are a bunch of tomatoes, peaches, and corn with your name on it.
There is no shortage of vegetables at the market right now; you can find everything from purple eggplants and red potatoes to green beans and yellow onions overflowing in farmers’ bins.
One pretty sight I saw at the market was the bounty of bell peppers. The peppers at the market right now are so fresh that you can tell they’ve been picked recently — these peppers haven’t been sitting on a grocery store shelf for days. The skin looks firm, and the colors are vibrant. Last Saturday, I picked up some red bell peppers from Meyer Produce. The sweetness of the peppers made my whole family happy — even my five year old. We sliced them and ate them raw, but I’m sure they would be excellent as a pizza topping or roasted in the oven with some olive oil.
Another vendor you can find at the market is Roth Countryside Produce. They sell all sorts of produce, but most impressive is the amount of corn they offer. They grow their corn in Morton, Illinois. There is a truckbed just full of corn — enough corn for everyone to get a few bagfuls. Corn is such a versatile ingredient. You can put corn on the grill and enjoy a charred version. You could boil it and slather it in butter, slice it off the ear and make some corn salsa to take your tacos to the next level, or even add it to your pizza for a fun, summer topping.
The real star of the markets is the tomato. So many of the vendors are overflowing with tomatoes: red tomatoes, orange tomatoes, deep purple tomatoes, and yellow tomatoes. There are small, pop-it-in-your-mouth tomatoes and larger heirloom tomatoes perfect for slicing to go on burgers or sandwiches or in a caprese salad.
You can find beautiful mushrooms from Flyaway Family Farm. They specialize in fresh, gourmet mushrooms grown in the heart of Southern Illinois. They sell some pretty looking ‘shrooms.
My kids always ask me to pick up some fruit from the market. The fruit available is plentiful right now, especially if you like raspberries, apples, watermelons, and peaches. I picked up two containers of raspberries, and my kids are obsessed with how tiny and adorable (and sweet) they are.
Additionally, there are food trucks serving up breakfast and lunch during the Urbana Market in the Square. You can find Piato’s Food Truck, Dragon Fire Pizza Truck, Cracked Truck, and Just BEE Acai’s shasta.
With the nice weather and the impending autumnal season, now is the perfect time to get out to the Urbana Market in the Square this Saturday morning or Champaign Farmers’ Market on Tuesday.
Urbana’s Market at the Square
The Urbana Market has been in continuous operation since 1979. The market runs from May 2th to October 31st, each Saturday morning from 7 a.m. to noon, rain or shine. It’s located at the corner of Illinois and Vine in Urbana.
Forms of payment: Credit, debit, or SNAP is preferred. Cash is accepted, but vendors may not provide change to reduce the spread of the virus.
SNAP/LINK: Vendors selling LINK-eligible foods accept LINK tokens. Please visit Urbana’s Market at the Square website for specifics, or the information tent on site.
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: No pets allowed. Please respect the market’s rules and leave your doggo at home.
The Land Connection Champaign Farmers’ Market
The Land Connection’s Champaign Farmers’ Market is on their sixth year. The Champaign Market is open on Tuesdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.. The Champaign Farmers’ Market is at their regular location in parking lot M at Neil and Washington in Downtown Champaign.
Forms of Payment: Pre-ordering, credit cards, debit cards, or SNAP/EBT cards are preferred. Cash will be accepted, but vendors will be instructed not to provide change.
SNAP/LINK: All eligible vendors accept SNAP benefits through the LINK token program. Please visit The Land Connection website for specifics.
Parking: Metered parking is available in parking lot M off of Neil Street, or in the Hill Street Parking Deck.
Pets: Leashed dogs are welcome.