Friday, November 5, 2010
I hope everyone had a great time visiting the Market this season. I hope you tried some new-to-you fruits and vegetables. If you have kids who came to a Sprouts at the Market event, I hope they had a great time and learned something. I hope you met up with friends and made new ones. I hope you found out a little more about where your food and flowers come from, about who makes your bread and makes your earrings or takes the photos you love or knits the scarves or makes the soap.
We have lots of things in the planning stages for next year's Market. We're always interested in your feedback - please drop us a line sometime and tell us what you'd like to see. Otherwise, there may be a few postings from time to time here on the blog. Check in every once in awhile and see what we're up to... and thank you so, so much for your support of the Market this season. We'll see you May 7, 2011.
REMINDER: the Urbana Business Association's Holiday Market starts next weekend in Lincoln Square Mall - it's like the Market, only indoors and with more of a holiday theme. They go Saturdays, November 13 - December 18, from 8 AM - 1 PM. Please contact the UBA at 217-344-3872 for more information.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Halloween is just about upon us, readers. I imagine that by the time Saturday arrives, many of you (or the youngsters in your life) will be wanting to take that costume out for a test run. May I suggest dressing up for this weekend's Market? From 9 AM - noon, we'll have treats from Common Ground, candy, and possibly some apple cider to celebrate Market at the Scare. Costumes are encouraged. We'll take your photo. Some of the vendors bring candy and cookies to hand out to kids in costumes. And... the weather will be the best we've had on Halloween weekend in recent memory. What's not to like?
Also this weekend: Art at the Market from 8 AM - noon! It's the last installment for the 2010 season. This month we've got local artist Jessica Roberts - she's conducting a "plantable paper-making" workshop that's open to patrons of all ages, and is completely free. Many thanks to Urbana's Public Arts Program for sponsoring these very popular events this season, and we hope to work with them again in 2011.
One other special event this Saturday - we have Professor May Berenbaum of the Entomology Department at the University of Illinois coming in to sign copies of her new book, Honey, I'm Homemade, from 9 AM - 11 AM. We'll have copies of the book for sale for $20, tax included (that's more than a couple bucks off the list price), PLUS Prof. Berenbaum will sign your book! We'll also have information about every honey vendor at the Market this Saturday at Prof. Berenbaum's table. Check 'em out - they may have samples to try and/or cool things to look at. Bees are awesome! Honey is yum! Lay in your winter supply!
One of our growers, Jon Cherniss of Blue Moon Farm, mentioned in a recent email update that it's not about what's in season - it's about what isn't? There's more fresh food available now than ever - make sure you shop all four rows of the Market (yep, 4 - we shrink it down when vendor attendance starts to dip) to see everything that's available. Recommended fruits and vegetables: carrots and other root vegetables (we saw some daikon radishes that were as long as a 4 year-old kid's leg), salad greens, apples, squashes. There may be a few tomatoes straggling in, but with the forecast hard freeze on Thursday night, it's iffy. Fret not - there's also plenty of goat cheese, eggs, and meat to round out those veggie/fruit purchases.
All in all, we couldn't ask for a better weekend for the next-to-last Market of the season. Looking forward to seeing everyone out there!
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Okay, procrastinators. It's time.
There is no better time than right now to get your Halloween pumpkins for jack-o-lanterning, and there is no better place to procure them than Urbana's Market at the Square. The traditional pumpkins for carving are abundant, but growers also offer more... unusual permutations of pumpkin in all different colors and shapes and sizes. Get a little weird with your decorations this season!
Also, it's worth mentioning that the fall produce is absolutely gorgeous this season. The greens are incredibly lush, the carrots are beyond sweet, the potatoes and sweet potatoes have incredible depth of flavor, the scent of apples on the breeze is incredible...
The weather is not forecast to be very cooperative for this weekend, but I'm going to be an optimist and say that we'll dodge those raindrops. Here's one reason why - our final Sprouts at the Market event is scheduled for this weekend, and we're really excited about it. This event will be co-presented with the Eastern Illinois Foodbank as they close out their annual Food For Families activities, and the goal here is to teach kids ages 3-8 a little about food insecurity in our area and what they can do to help. As with other Sprouts activities, there will be several tables throughout the Market kids can visit, sample locally-grown fruits and vegetables, and learn a thing or two about local food and our food system. We do ask that everyone sign in at the main Sprouts tent, which will be next to the City tent at the northwest entrance to the Market. The event is totally free and goes from 9 AM - 11 AM.
The Market will look different this weekend. As we head toward the close of the season, vendor attendance drops, and we consolidate the Market in order to prevent gaps and to encourage people to shop the whole Market. We did our best to transpose Row 5 vendors into Row 4, but a few are in other places throughout the Market. If you're missing someone PLEASE ASK! Market staff are more than happy to help you locate your favorite vendors.
One more thing - don't forget that the Urbana Business Association's Holiday Market picks up on 11/13 where Market at the Square leaves off on 11/6. They'll be open inside Lincoln Square Mall from 8 AM - 1 PM through 12/18. Produce vendors, art and crafts folks, Santa Claus, music, and much more will be featured at this Market - it's so great to know that you'll be able to buy fresh, local food at this Market right up until the holidays.
Market geeks: Get your fill of 2008's and 2009's annual reports here!
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Pictured above are scenes from this past weekend's Market. Stuff to look for this weekend, in addition to what you see above - your Halloween jack-o-lantern, carrots of several colors, spinach (so sweet right now), kales, onions, sweet potatoes, squash, apples and pears... it's definitely fall.
I'm strapped for time, today, so I urge you to look at last week's entry to get more information about this weekend's Eat Here booth, and next weekend's Sprouts event (and UHS Orchestra event). On October 30th, we'll be hosting Market at the Scare (costumes encouraged!), the season's final installment of Art at the Market, and a book signing with Professor May Berenbaum of the University of Illinois. Her book is called Honey, I'm Homemade and is all about bees, honey, and cooking with honey. More information about the book signing and other activities forthcoming - it's a really cute book and we're thrilled to be working with the University of Illinois Press on this project.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Fall's HERE. I see the leaves changing and feel the nip in the air as I ride my bike in inky, chilly darkness to my office on Saturdays and am like, but wait - wasn't it just 92 degrees and life was all nectarines and berries and the first few tomatoes of the season? Weren't we just in the middle of the Sprouts calendar? Didn't we just get our very first batch of new Market shirts and bags? Wasn't I just thinking to myself, "I wish Fall would hurry up and get here"?
you're at the Market this weekend, make sure you check out the apple selection; have a close look at all the squash coming in - perfect for soup or baking on one of these cool nights; spinach is back and perfect for salads or sauteeing; tomatoes are still as bountiful as they were weeks ago and work nicely with the fall season foods; the broccoli looks sublime. There's food in all five rows of the Market this weekend, including Tiny Greens and Heavenly Delight's cupcakes in Row 5, Prairie Fruits Farm, O'Rourke Family Gardens (check out their sweet potatoes!), and Mileur Orchard in Row 4; Claybank Farms and the Muffin Man in Row 3; Fryer Tuck, Triple S Farms, Pekara, Omega Farm, Upper Crust, and the Moores' inimitable gourd/squash selection in the row along Illinois Street; and all the produce vendors you've come to know and love in Rows 1 & 2.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
One thing frequent Market-goers will notice is an uptick in fall displays this week - last week I saw more winter squash, more "Indian" corn, more apples, a huge abundance of peppers, fall potatoes, eucalyptus taking the place of tuberose, etc. Sigh. While there's still summer food, it's being eclipsed by fall food. The apples are particularly interesting to me - I think it might be time for an apple galette one of these cooler nights. Again - who's with me, here? It's my favorite way to eat apples, I think.
This weekend, we'll have our next-to-last Sprouts at the Market event - we partnered with the Family Resiliency Center - they're big on healthy mealtimes for families - for this one, so it should be even better than it usually is! We'll offer in-season produce tasting for the kids, nutrition information for kids & caregivers, access to farmers, and some giveaways while supplies last. Bring your favorite Sprout to the Market this weekend and see if you can get them to "eat a rainbow" - that's the theme for this weekend's event. As always, thanks to Jen Hewitt and her Army of Studying Dietitians for their hard work and support of this event, and to FRC for the major assist. I hope you'll see more of the FRC with Sprouts in the future. Also, chambanamoms.com will be putting in their monthly appearance - make sure you visit their booth, which will be just west of the City tent at the NW entrance to the Market.
Market Menu for those so inclined... otherwise, I'll see you Saturday!
Thursday, September 9, 2010
But the apples are here in force, so that means fall is on the horizon.
Don't count summer out, though - tomatoes and peppers and summer squash are still in control; there's been sweet corn and there will be more sweet corn; stone fruit is still findable if you know where to look; the pavement at the Market will still heat up when the sun comes out.
This week: Eat Here will be in the house - stop by the EH tent (right next to the City tent) to check out farmer photos, get some information about Eating Here wherever you are, pick up some credit/debit/LINK tokens to spend in the Market, and - extra bonus! - pick up a FREE Eat Here t-shirt or tote bag, while supplies last. Let's keep supporting the local food scene! You can follow along with Eat Here on Facebook.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
This weekend, besides terrific weather and the return of some folks who have been missed (Veggie Trails, Fryer Tuck, and Danville Gardens come immediately to mind), we have the Urbana Free Library in residence, right next to the City tent. I'm sure they'll be bringing their swag and some books and will be signing folks up for library cards and filling balloons with helium for the kids, as they always do the first market of each month. Their staff is terrific and it's an AWESOME library. Stop by and say hello.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
We moved to Urbana just after my son turned 4. "Urbana Sweet Corn Festival" was too long for him to say successfully, so he called it "the Corn Party" instead. And lo - the name has stuck.
I mean, look at these people! These patrons are extremely focused on corn! This is how you know it's peak season, the apex of the Market year, the part of the season all of us really wait for, much as we love strawberries and asparagus, the apples and the squash. It's really the tomatoes, the peaches, and the corn - Market royalty.
Dig in. Enjoy. Preserve, if you can. Though it's been hot this summer, and fall will be welcome on so many levels, you're going to miss this stuff when it's gone. 10 Markets remain after this weekend.
Speaking of, the Market is full, full, full. Arts and crafts will be incredible - it seems everyone's coming out with their best woodwork, their most gorgeous painted silk, their most excellent repurposed fiber items, their prettiest quilts, their best handmade jewelry, their finest soaps and bodycare items, the best photos of the bunch, etc. While we will be missing Veggie Trails and Fryer Tuck this weekend (both should be back September 4), there are plenty of baked goods to keep your energy up while you shop all five rows of the Market. If you don't see it, ASK US! We're at the City tent, at the northwest corner of the Market.
Special event: Art at the Market is on deck this weekend, with local artist Justine Bursoni leading a natural paints/painting workshop. All paints are tinted using fruits and vegetables. The workshop is open to patrons of all ages and is completely free. Thanks to Urbana's Public Arts Program for putting this, and all AatM workshops, together.
Here's this week's Market Menu:
See you out there!
Thursday, August 19, 2010
See you out there!
Thursday, August 12, 2010
It was a great weekend at the Market - further reinforcing my belief that EVERY week should be Farmers Market Week. It's so important to the community on so many levels.
Friday, August 6, 2010
But this week is officially Farmers Market Week all over the USA.
Come take photos at the Market this weekend - the weather's going to be fabulous - because we want to know...
... how do you see the Market? What are your favorite parts? Do you come early or late? Are you into people-watching? What do you notice? What kind of role does the Market play in your communities - in C-U, in your family, in your circle of friends? Send any photos you're OK with being posted on the internet to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll include them in a wrapup of our Farmers Market Week.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
See you out there!
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Warm, sunny, full of food, best people watching in downstate Illinois, Market shirts and totes for sale ($9 and $8, respectively), arts and crafts, performers, Kettle Korn... where else could possibly be a finer place to hang on a Saturday morning?