Smile Politely

Market Watch: The start of a brand new season

Welcome back, friends! Like last year, we’ll be bringing you a weekly rundown of what to look for at the Market each Saturday. This year’s format will be a touch different, but with Alisa makin’ all that cheese, it’s just the way it’s gonna be.

Let’s get to it!

Various weather forecasts are pointing to either wet and cool or cloudy and cool conditions for the first Market of the year, so bring your umbrellas and galoshes. Who knows? Maybe we’ll get a surprise and the sun will come out!

Fresh food: the wet weather has hampered the produce harvest in some cases. But here is a rundown of what to expect:

  • Asparagus (lots of it — lots and lots of asparagus this season)
  • Radishes
  • Baby bok choy
  • Fresh herbs
  • Shiitake mushrooms
  • Sprouts
  • Salad mix
  • Green onions
  • Garlic shallots
  • Chard
  • Strawberries (limited, though)
  • Goat cheeses
  • Plants

There are a few new produce vendors this year, but most of them won’t be coming out until the season has progressed. Watch this space for more information about these new faces.

Baked goods: There will be 100% LEGAL baked goods at the Market, too, so have no fear! Jim Reedy, also known as “The Muffin Man” at the Market, found an inspected kitchen and so will still offer his quick breads and muffins at the Market starting this week, May 2. Look for other home bakers, like Stewart Pequignot (bagels/breads/granola) and the Erwins (English muffins/foccacia/etc) as May progresses. Pekara and Great Harvest will also be at the Market this Saturday, in addition to at least one non-profit holding a 100% LEGAL bake sale.

Prepared food: Lots of new vendors in this department. Basil’s Harvest, from near Peoria, will be there on Saturday (best sauerkraut ever). So will Darn Good Fresh Foods; we hear her salsa is pretty good. CK German Roasted Almonds, too. We haven’t tried them, but anything “cinnamon-roasted” sounds good to us. Ice cream from the Sidney Dairy Barn will be back on May 16. And the Toffee Faery is back!

Artisans and crafts: Clothing, jewelry, and bodycare items will be well-represented this first day.

Community groups: The Urbana Free Library, ZipCar, and WILL are also scheduled to be at the Market, in addition to several other community groups.

A couple other things of note:

Dogs: The Market has never had a policy regarding dogs up until this season; they’ve been allowed, but no rules had ever been devised regarding their conduct. In the coming days we’ll be rolling out a new policy around dogs at the Market. Dogs are definitely part of the Market’s developed character over the years, but dog owners must keep the following in mind:

  • Dog owners are personally responsible and liable for the actions of their animal.
  • Dogs must be kept on short leashes (no more than 5′)
  • Dogs growling, barking, or engaging in other behavior that could be perceived as threatening must be removed from the Market immediately
  • Dogs must be under direct control of a person 14 years old or older
  • Dogs cannot get any closer than 6 feet from where food is being prepared or bagged
  • Dog owner must clean up after their dog. Please bring your own supplies.
  • Dogs must not be left in vehicles when it’s hot out

It’s also recommended that small dogs be picked up and carried when the Market is very busy.

The dog policy will be available at the Market and will also be online as soon as we can get it up there.

Smoking: no smoking will be allowed within the Market.

The City of Urbana and the Market’s staff seem to be more than looking forward to an awesome 30th anniversary season.

Questions? Please contact Lisa at 217-384-2319 or The Market’s website is at, the blog is at, and you can follow the Market on Twitter at

See you there!

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