Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ushering in October - Week 23

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"?
We may be wrapping up summer, but we are in no way wrapping up Markets. We have six remaining, including this Saturday's, and there's certainly plenty of in-season food around. When
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.
This is also the time of year when we have much to offer in the way of handmade art and crafts available at the Market. Just this week we'll have woodwork, cards, bath and bodycare, jewelry, carved gourds, glass items, leatherwork, and textiles represented at the Market. It's definitely not too early to get a jump on things for the holidays, either.
At some point, though, Urbana's Market at the Square has to hang it up for the 2010 season. That final day will be Saturday, November 6. However, fret not! The Urbana Business Association's Holiday Market gets underway inside Lincoln Square Village starting Saturday, November 13, and runs through Saturday, December 18. While these markets are operated by different entities, we do share many vendors - many of the folks you see at Market at the Square will be at the Holiday Market, along with some new faces. Add it to your schedule - it's a great way to keep supporting your local farmers and to get some holiday shopping done as winter approaches.
This week: It's the Urbana Free Library's last weekend out at the Market this season. Stop by, say hello, sign up for a library card, get your favorite child read to, pick up a helium balloon... they're usually on-site by 8:30 or so, and stay until 11 AM.
Also - Urbana Fire Rescue is having their yearly Fire Prevention Week Parade and Truck Muster - the parade starts at 9 AM on Philo Road and ends up on Illinois Street, right by the Market. Traffic will be two-way on two lanes instead of four, and all parking will be accessible. See some trucks! They'll be there until 11 AM.
It's going to be a gorgeous fall day, Market lovers - bring a friend and pay us a visit!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Market - Week 22

Great Market last weekend - well over 100 kids had a great time at Sprouts at the Market, the weather was fine, the food was out in force, and everyone seemed to be in a good mood, including this gal, who got a carrot "beanie", courtesy of the Family Resiliency Center, for completing the Sprouts activity.

As always, though, the produce stole the show.

I think we can expect a repeat this weekend, at least of the weather and the food being amazing. While we won't have Sprouts, we'll have a Bike Rodeo for kids and Art at the Market for patrons of all ages, and the U of I Physics Department will be in the Community Groups row to talk science with everybody (I plan to ask about wormholes).
I talked a little bit about what's in season this morning on WCIA's Morning show - check it out.
It's dark - DARK! - when I get to work now (I arrive at my office by 5 AM, for those who're wondering). The Harvest Moon was last night. This weekend marks the first Market of Autumn 2010. Things are changing...
... but you still - still! - might be able to nab some peaches this Saturday, if you come early.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

How Can It Be?

Just sitting here wondering where the season went. After this weekend's Market, we've got seven of 'em left for the 2010 season. Seven! While it's been hot, it's been a glorious season, I think, and I'm rooting for temperate weather all the way through November 6, which is our last day. Who's with me?

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, 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

Market #20

I can see the end of the season from here. Ten Markets ago, it was late June, and eight weeks from now, we'll be having our last hurrah (November 6, for those not in the know). Doesn't seem possible, does it?

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.

Next week: Sprouts at the Market! Bring your kids to "eat a rainbow" with the U of I's Family Resiliency Center! More details in our next blog entry, but this one should be a great one...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Labor Day Weekend at the Market

Yes, we're open for biz this weekend, featuring our regular hours (7 AM-noon, if you're new) and most of the usual suspects. Good thing, too, because the weather this Saturday will be phenomenal. I guess it's fitting, somehow, to have our first real hint of fall on Labor Day weekend, the Unofficial Last Day of Summer.
I can tell we're sliding toward the Equinox when this is what things look like at 6:20 in the morning.

Last weekend was great, everyone. Thanks for coming out and visiting:

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.
Speaking of saying hello, we've noticed a few people "coming out" on Facebook and admitting they've never attended the Market. PLEASE stop by the City tent and say hello if you decide to venture to the Market for the first time - we'd love to meet you! Also, if you're a Market regular with friends and/or family visiting for the holiday weekend, the Market is a terrific place to bring them if you're looking for a way to shop for your holiday provisions and show them a good time at the same time. Again, we love to meet people new to the Market - we're right by the northwest entrance.
Speaking of the City tent, a lot happens there. It's the Market staff's base of operations for the day's events; it's where the City of Urbana promotes the Market and other City events and initiatives; it's where you should come if you're lost (or where you should check if you've lost someone); it's where we sell our Market t-shirts and tote bags; and it's also where you can come and buy credit/debit/LINK tokens using credit/debit and LINK cards. Cash and checks are still accepted by all vendors, of course - this is just another way to pay for your purchases that's accepted by all vendors. Questions? just ask - we're happy to explain how it all works.
See you Saturday!