Friday, July 25, 2008

Easy Like Saturday Morning

There's something about the entire Market at the Square experience - and yes, it's an experience, especially if you come for the food and hang around for whatever transpires between the organic salad mix and the Moo-Mobile - that makes it just like a huge special event, only it happens every weekend for 27 weeks, has free admission, AND gently encourages activities one might not run into at a one-time festival or other event.

What kind of activities, you ask?

How about buying food from local growers, supporting your local economy and your local grower in the process (not to mention developing a closer relationship with your food, reveling in its color and freshness)?

Plums from Meyer Produce, Villa Grove, IL

You can purchase wares from many local artisans (again, supporting that local economy and getting something one-of-a-kind, to boot):

Batik by Jill Miller of Hooey Batiks (back at the Market August 16)

Local musicians come and perform for patrons, free of charge:

Gypsy Soul performs at the Market

Throw in the various and sundry community groups that come to inform and educate, PLUS the chances you'll run into someone you know that you haven't seen for awhile and will want to catch up with AND excellent people-watching... and you have yourself an awesome, community-oriented, not business-as-usual venue to take yourself (and your family, friends, etc) for breakfast, coffee, entertainment, conversation and, of course, fresh produce, all summer long and well into the fall.

Hope you can join us this weekend - the
weather's looking mostly decent and the produce is in full swing!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Note to U of I Basketball Coach Bruce Weber

... and all other Market shoppers on the hunt: If it's sweet corn you're looking for, it pays to get to the Market before 10 AM.

Market at the Square features corn from 4 vendors this year - Kleiss Produce from Tuscola has the truck at the north end of row 1; Schottman Sweet Corn (above) out of Effingham has the two red pickup trucks in row 3; Roth Countryside Produce out of Morton are the south end of row 5, and Triple S Farms from Stewardson has organic sweet corn in the row along Illinois Avenue on the south end of the Market.

Just, you know, a little inside scoop.

Friday, July 18, 2008


Guess what? Some good (though muggy) weather MIGHT MAYBE POSSIBLY be on the way for the Market. Maybe. Possibly.

How do I know this, you ask? Because the fine folks at WILL-AM are giving Market weather forecasts during their "Talk to the Meteorologist" segments, which air on Friday mornings near the top of the hour. I know it seems weird, but people love their on-air meteorologists around here, and when they've showed up at the Market in the past, people have gone, well, a little nuts. To that end, I'm trying to get those guys to pay us a visit one of these mornings at the Market - details forthcoming soon, I hope - but in the meantime, we certainly appreciate the forecasts. It's been a wild weather year, that's for sure.

Fabulous, fabulous food at the Market this weekend:

This is my favorite time of year for fruit, and tomorrow will not disappoint those of us who dig (pick?) the stone fruits and berries. Look for peaches and/or nectarines in almost every row, and you're probably going to see some luscious blackberries in the row along Illinois Street.

Sweet corn will be in abundance this weekend. My favorite way to do corn, courtesy my Oma:

1. Purchase corn at Market, if you can't pick it out of your own field (my grandparents were farmers). The less time your corn sits after it's been picked, the sweeter and more tender it'll be.
2. Put water on to boil. Put a little milk in the water, too.
3. Shuck corn and compost stalks, silk, and husks if you can.
4. Place corn in boiling milk/water for no more than 3-4 minutes.
5. Remove from water with tongs, place on plate, go fetch the butter and salt, and EAT.

See you there - I'll be the one watching the sky with a suspicious eye.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sweet Corn O' Mine

Potatoes from Roth Countryside Produce, near Peoria, IL

The first sweet corn of the season will be in full effect at the Market tomorrow.

Sure, the forecast might have a teensy-tiny little bit of rain in it, but don't let that stop you - the Market is bursting at the seams with excellent fresh & local produce. This week also heralds a headlong rush into stone fruit season, with peaches and nectarines in abundance. We're starting to see potatoes and green beans in greater supply, too, so make sure you come and get yours for the week's eating. Don't forget your eggs, meats, and goat cheese, if you eat them - we have the best selection and highest quality around.

A reminder: If you ever have any questions about how something was raised or made, ask your farmer/vendor - they're there to answer your questions.

Bring an umbrella, just in case - we'll see you there, dressed for the weather (whatever it is).

Monday, July 7, 2008

Looks Are Everything

Photos of the previous week's Market are posted here every Monday.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Shop Five Rows!

We're gearing up for an excellent Market tomorrow - see Alisa DeMarco's wonderful piece in yesterday's Smile Politely for some ideas regarding what to do with all the dang food that's out there, especially poultry.

Just a quick note, too, to encourage you shoppers to shop all five rows of the Market! There's produce in all five rows this year, and while the first two rows near the Market entrances house some produce vendors who've been at this for decades (!) now, there are so many "new" folks in the other rows selling top-notch produce, meats, cheeses, art and crafts, and baked goods that it would be a shame to miss them. While some producers didn't return this year (Where are you, Bison Guy?), new ones (bagels in Row 5! Rain barrels in Row 4!) have stepped up to make the Market an even more diverse, educational, and entertaining Saturday destination.

Stop by the City tent for a site map (new ones generated weekly) or just to say hi - we love to answer questions and accept feedback.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Absolutely Peachy

Mileur Orchard was out with the first round of peaches and apricots at the June 28 Market - look for more vendors to have more of both (plus other fruits) this weekend.

I don't know... I'm thinking pie. How about you?