Wednesday, May 4, 2011
The 2011 Season Can't Come Fast Enough!
Man, what an off-season that was! In some ways it doesn't even feel like it's done with us yet... I mean, it'd be great to see the sun for two straight days, wouldn't it? But the rain has brought us big bursts of green.
The photos above were taken last spring, but it's a good representation of what you'll find to eat at the Market this time of year: green stuff. We'll have lots - asparagus is in season now, and it is GLORIOUS; there'll also be plenty of green leaves to choose from, like spinach, lettuce, chard, and kale; there'll be some green onions. We'll also have bedding plants and vegetable starts... and maybe even a few flowers. Vendors like Kleiss Produce, Blue Moon, Moore Family Farm, Meyer Produce, Tomahnous Farm, Cary's Garden of Eatin', Tiny Greens, Owens, Ropp's, and others will be out in force.
It won't all be green. There's a chance we'll have some strawberries from southern IL. Some rhubarb, I'm thinking. There will be, of course, farm-raised eggs and frozen meats and varieties of goat cheese and gelato. There will be baked goods and pastas. There will be FOOD. Finally.
Some important changes this season at the Market:
- Patrons are being asked to leave their pets at home - this includes dogs, cats, birds, ferrets, foxes, and other animals. The overarching reason for this is patron and animal safety - the Market is crowded, and we've experienced some close calls out there over the last three years that could have gone either way. If you bring your pet to the Market after May 7 (we're allowing this Saturday to be a grace day), you will be asked, very nicely, to have someone else watch your pet while you shop. For more information about this policy, please click here.
- Community groups have been relocated to Walnut Street, the street just to the west of the main Market site (for those familiar with the Market, it's the street behind Row One). The area they formerly occupied, the north side of the Market, will now be home to food vendors. Please take a swing by the community groups before you enter the Market - you can't miss 'em if you come in either of the two main entrances.
- Last year we introduced our credit/debit/LINK card acceptance system. It worked so well, we decided to keep it! We've renamed it "Market Scratch" (because our logo's a chicken, get it?) and are trying to get the word out about it. In short, it's another way for patrons to pay. Cash is still king with vendors, and checks are accepted by most, but if you've run out of the former or have forgotten the latter, Market Scratch can help. More information about how it works is here. Please stop by the City tent to ask questions or see it in action.
This weekend we'll have the Urbana Free Library out for a visit, weather permitting. Speaking of, the Market is being featured in their display case near the library's eastern exit. Go by and see! And speaking of weather, click here or here for weather forecasts, and remember: Your umbrella is your friend!
The Market staff is really looking forward to seeing the Market filled with patrons once again. Next week - more information about our Sprouts program and other special programming you can look forward to, another food update, and more!