Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Market at the Square - Week 16

I'm posting the weekly update a little early this week due to the swelling tide of projects getting underway as we approach the beginning of the, uh, SCHOOL YEAR. Hard to believe it's already time for that, especially given the lack of true summer weather we've been having.

Before I get started on this weekend's activities, I want to mention that I went out to visit Triple S Farms last week. I got to see the Stan Man in his natural habitat - amongst the beef, the bacon, and the poultry:

It's totally obvious that Stan really cares about what he's doing and the animals he's raising. For more photos of my visit you can go here, and if you want to talk to Stan himself at the Market, he's there every Saturday at the east end of the row alongside Illinois Street with the red tent. Say hi to his intrepid help, Greg and Quinton, when you get there.


OK! Let's talk about Art at the Market. This week, Urbana's Public Arts Program is back with its monthly Art at the Market session. If you're not familiar with the sessions - they're awesome. Program Coordinator Anna Hochhalter brings in a local artist to facilitate a hands-on, open-to-everyone event where the end product is... art! This weekend, participants will be learning how to make marbled paper with the help of Urbana artist David Black. Things get going at 8 AM, but the workshop is continuous through noon, so come when you want! Registration is not required, and it's totally free. If you have questions, call Anna at 217-384-2311 or email her here.

While we're at it, let's talk about art at the Market. We have a lot of artisans busting out their best wares this weekend - Hooey Batiks, MegaMoxie, Piece By Piece, Berry Good Things, Farmboy Artworks, Glass Act, Michelle Faires, Mary Kemmer, Uptown Concrete, Kickapoo Woodworks, Miss Linda's Universe, Twin City Crafts, Queen Anne's Lace, Manrique Photography, Firefly Jewels, Barnyard Calico, Fields of Fall, Calico Creatures, Urbana Leather, Fun Art, Handmade Soaps by Laurel, Elisa Enriquez, Goose Creek Farm, Juniper Moon, The Farmer's Daughter, John Coppess Leather, Cards and More, Garnets & Glass, The Stamp Lady, Hannah's Heavenly Harvest, Izabela Rayski, Liddia Stevens, Cindi Adkins, and others.

While a farmers' market is naturally about food, having artisans and performers at our Market enhances it and gives it more depth - I believe it helps the Market become an actual place where things happen instead of a parking lot where stuff gets bought. Art in the public square is important for communities, so I'm happy to be working both with Anna and the Public Arts Program and a bunch of talented people out at the Market.


But, of course, we must bring the conversation to food.
First off, it's melon time. We've had a few melons here and there over the past two weeks, but we're galloping headlong into melon season now and we should have plenty this weekend. Look at these Kleiss cantaloupes - GIGANTIC. The scent of melons mixed with tuberose (first stems in last weekend, more this weekend at Owens', in row 2) is one of my favorite scents in the known universe, a true hallmark of summer's end approaching.
I have to mention sweet corn here - we have several vendors selling high-quality sweet corn this season. Two vendors bring in a lot of corn - Kleiss Produce (Row 1) and the Schottman Bros (Row 3). PLEASE REMEMBER that you can also find excellent sweet corn from smaller producers in rows 4 (O'Rourke Family Gardens and Bratcher's Gathering Place) and 5 (Bob Cambridge, Roth Countryside Produce). Market staff spend a lot of time walking the Market, checking on things, so come ask us if you're having trouble locating corn. We can help you out.
As for peaches, this will be Sager Farms' last weekend with us for the 2009 season - check their stall along Illinois Street for their final peaches and maybe a few berries. Eberlin Orchard, Mileur Orchard, and Cary's Garden of Eatin' still have stone fruit available and will be around in the weeks to come. Mileur Orchard and Cary, along with Kleiss and Bob Brackett, have some apples ready now - another sure sign we're transitioning to a new season.
Heirloom tomatoes and other summer vegetables are at their peak. There are literally walls and mountains of absolutely gorgeous produce scattered all throughout the Market - not just the first row. Do yourself a favor and wander the entire Market this weekend - you won't be disappointed.
Next weekend: Sprouts at the Market - all about corn!

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