Thursday, August 26, 2010

Corn Party

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.
It's not just the Festival - though we certainly hope to see you there, enjoying the sweetcorn, taking in the festivities, and staying for Soul Asylum, who hit the main stage around 9 PM - the concept of "corn party" is about this time of the growing season. It's definitely a corn party.

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

This Week's Market - CORNY!

Last week's Market ended up being so amazingly busy (thank you, thank you, thank you!) that I didnthave much of a chance to take photos.

[OK, I didn't have any chance - I took no photos. The one above? We'll call it August MATS stock.]

I did, however, notice the light hitting the melons just so, and the way the tomatoes looked like piles of jewels on their tables, and how the eggplant (so many different kinds of eggplant!) glistened, purple/black or white or lavender, and the peaches and nectaries, so orangey-red and begging to be cobblered... I noticed all of that, but didn't capture it. You'll have to come out this weekend and see all of it for yourself.

There's a lot going on this weekend at the Market. The U of I folks are back - welcome, students, faculty, and staff! I know it might be hard to roll outta bed on Saturday mornings, but the Market is one of the best places to be on the weekend. Peoplewatching and fresh-baked goods aside, it's a great place to pick up some of your fresh fruit and vegetable needs for the week - and they're all grown here in Illinois. I think you'll find we have some of the finest food grown anywhere. Time to stock yr fridges!

Other stuff to check out:

- This weekend's special event is Sprouts at the Market, where kids ages 3-8 (younger kids are welcome to participate, though the activities are not geared toward super-young children) learn about farms and food and nutrition. The theme for August is corn - we grow a lot of it here, the Urbana Sweetcorn Festival is coming up next weekend, and it's in just about everything. Kids will have the chance to taste corn in several of its many forms, learn about what makes corn so good to eat, inspect corn plants from tassel to root, and have the chance to ask participating corn growers any questions they may have about, well, corn.

The event, which is from 9-11, is free and open to all kids and their caregivers. Registration is at the City tent, located at the NW entrance to the Market site, or you can register at any of the satellite tables within the Market. Everyone visiting all the stations will receive a Certificate of Participation, which is good for 15% any purchase at Art Mart Toys through the end of the day.

- Additionally, we're hosting a Bloodmobile from Community Blood Services of Illinois out at the Market - if you're interested in participating in this blood drive, the Bloodmobile will be on walnut Street (the blocked-off area of just west of the Market) from 7:30 until noon.

- As if that weren't enough, several animal rescue groups will be out at the Market this weekend in our Community Group Row, raising awareness about their activities. Everything from greyhounds to birds will be represented - check them out!

- Last (but certainly not least), I expect Urbana's Fire Rescue to be out with one of their trucks, asking patrons to help "fill the boot" for MDA. They'll be in the Walnut Street area as well.

Here's a Market Menu for you - check out the Market merch, which is also for sale at Common Ground Food Co-op:

See you out there!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

National Farmers Market Week 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.
This week: Eat Here information will be at the City tent this week - come check out photos of your favorite farmers in action, get some info about why Eating Here is so important, find out how to shop for and store produce (especially helpful if you're on a budget), and more!
Next week: Sprouts at the Market!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Every Week is Farmers Market Week

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, and I'll include them in a wrapup of our Farmers Market Week.