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.