Smile Politely

The Market Watch: May 12, 2012

Market season done begun last weekend, with spectacular, late-June-style weather and an abundance of produce, people, and good vibes. Goodness, it was fabulous. Now, this weekend? It’s a busy time in C-U, what with graduation and Mother’s Day and alla that, but the Market is a good Saturday morning adventure and a GREAT way to show off our area to visitors. Farmers markets are familiar to most people who live in other places, and people from other places seem to really like ours.

The food situation this weekend will be similar to last weekend’s: lettuces, chard, mixed greens, spinach, green onions, napini, baby carrots, radishes, surprisingly-popular turnips, and more asparagus and strawberries. The strawberries went particularly fast last weekend, so MW is recommending the reader to get to the Market early if you want some. Buy enough of them and you can make some of your own jam, which is really easy and very tasty, to go on toast or in yogurt or over some of that CRAZY GOOD gelato that Prairie Fruits Farm is offering up. MW likes this recipe, because the green apples provide the pectin, which is kind of cool. Don’t forget your carnivorous grillables, your cut flower bouquets for the mom in your life, and plant starts from local farmers who get them started so you don’t have to.

Lots of artisans, prepared food, performing artists, and community organizations will also be putting in some face time at the Market this weekend. Jewelry, upcycled clothing, paintings, prints, woodwork, and textile items will be in abundance at the Market. Rumor has it the place will be even more bangin’ than it was last weekend in terms of the sheer number of vendor, community org, and performer participants. Crave Truck and the kettle corn (now relocated to the north end of the Market) will also be around. Your weekend visitors will LOVE either. Or both.

It’s worth mentioning again that 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), will be located in the intersection of Walnut and High Streets — that’s the corner by Health Alliance, near the northwest entrance to the Market. 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. We hear that last week’s patrons really appreciated this safer and unburdened access to Lincoln Square, which is cool. The parking situation will remain the same, though, with the same number of free public parking spaces available in Lincoln Square and south of Lincoln Square. Plenty of bike parking, too, if getting around analog-style is your thing.

THIS WEEK’S MARKET WEATHER FORECAST: Probably cloudyish, with a 7:00 a.m. start temperature in the low-60s. High in the mid-70s. MW is going to go out on a limb and say that it will not rain, but MW is not a meteorologist, either. Have a look at the weather here, and keep an eye on the sky — it IS May, after all.

THIS WEEK’S MARKET TIP: Due to the nature of the business, some vendors aren’t in the same place from week to week. If there’s a vendor you love, and they don’t seem to be in their usual place when you visit, those fun folks at the City tent can help you a) figure out where they are, b) help you figure out when they’ll be there again, and/or c) give you the Director’s contact info so she can get back to you with that information within a few days. Ask the staff. They do way more than sell tokens and t-shirts.

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 email the Market’s director, Lisa Bralts, for more info, or call her at 217-384-2319.

Market weekend #2! See you out there.

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