Smile Politely

The Market Watch: June 2, 2012

Not that MW wants to belabor the weather, but, MAN was it hot out there last weekend. It was the kind of hot where strawberries melt on the table and you can watch sunburn happening in real time on unsuspecting humans. Undaunted as always, the Market faithful (and a lot of newbies) were rewarded for their devotion with lots of beautiful produce, plenty of good vibes, and, if they were there at the right time, the U of I Jazz Trombones and some special telescopes that allowed patrons to look at the sun. FOR SCIENCE!

This weekend will be another story altogether. MW is a bit of a weather nerd and does not expect the temperature to get much above 75 degrees on Saturday, which is perfect Market weather. There may be some clouds, but since when did clouds prevent anyone from going out and shopping at the ONLY place in either town where almost all the local food is in one place? Seriously. Not to mention the fact that it’s the only place where the opportunity exists to talk to every single farmer about how things are going at their place, or what to do with the rhubarb you just bought, or what is this crazy spicy green is in the salad mix, or whatever. TALK TO THESE PEOPLE! If you have questions, they want to answer them! Anyway.

If you see any strawberries or asparagus, that means you got there right at the 7 a.m. open, because the season for those things is basically over. However, there are three summer foods coming in that you should be excited about — PEACHES, APRICOTS, and GREEN BEANS. Kleiss will have the beans, right after you walk in at the northwest entrance, and Mileur Orchard (Murphysboro, IL) will have the stone fruit, babies. Arrive early for the best selection, duh. You’ll also see lettuces, chard, arugula, kohlrabi, mixed greens, spinach, green onions, broccoli, napini, carrots, radishes, turnips, garlic scapes (if you’re wondering what to do with them, try making a pesto; MW really likes this recipe), potatoes, bok choy, a few blueberries, hydroponic tomatoes and cucumbers and basil. You’ll also see shelling peas, sugar snap peas, and fresh cut herbs, including basil, which reeks of summer. The Market’s vendors will also be serving up farm-raised meats, eggs, honey, goat cheese, goat milk gelato, scratch-made baked goods, and homemade jams and jellies. Flowers and plant starts are still being sold, although that window is closing. Get that garden in, kids.

Photography, textiles, stuff for your dog or cat, jewelry, upcycled clothing, derby stuff for your derby girl … the Market will have it on Saturday.

TO REPEAT: The City tent, where you can swipe your credit, debit, or LINK card for tokens to spend in the Market (fear not, everyone still accepts cash), is now located in the intersection of Walnut and High Streets – that’s the corner by Health Alliance, near the northwest entrance to the Market. They sell Market swag, too, like T-shirts and tote bags. As a result of this new location, there’ll no longer be through traffic there during Market hours to keep things safe for folks traveling on foot between the Market and various Lincoln Square businesses. The parking situation remains the same, too, with the same number of free public parking spaces available in Lincoln Square and south of Lincoln Square. Plenty of bike parking, too, for the two-wheel set.

THIS WEEK’S MARKET WEATHER FORECAST: Partly cloudy, with a 7 AM start temperature in the low 50s and a noon temperature approaching the low 70s. There are a million places on the internet to look at the weather, but you can click here for a forecast.

THIS WEEK’S MARKET TIP: Talk to the farmers whose food you buy – the Market really is the only place eaters can do that, especially with so many of them. Establish a relationship. Become a Market regular and get to know these folks. They want to get to know you, too, and they want to help you figure out what to eat. They like it when you praise their tomatoes or commiserate with them about the weather. Mainly, they just want to connect with their patrons, and they want to connect their patrons and their livelihood to each other. This goes for artisans and local value-added food producers, too. Talk!

Have questions? Desire more information? Check out the Market’s home on the web. Follow them on Facebook. Follow their Twitter and Pinterest feeds. You can also contact the Market’s director, Lisa Bralts, for more info at or at 217-384-2319.

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