Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mother Nature Always Wins

We were expecting conditions at last week's Market to look much like the below photo (minus the cars in the lot, of course), but the rain held off, and we wound up having a solid mid-May Market day. Produce and other items were sold to many patrons. Community groups were visited and spoken with. Performers performed. Sprouts at the Market went on as planned (over 60 kids planted bean seeds and learned a bit about how vegetables grow! Thanks, Master Gardeners!). There was a Bike Rodeo (thanks, C-U Safe Routes to School Project!). It got warm. All in all, lovely. Dare we hope for the same this week?

Well, as this is being written, the weather forecast looks pretty good for the Market this Saturday, but slightly bumpy in the meantime. Mother Nature has been capricious at best... and incredibly destructive at worst this season in many other areas of the country. Our thoughts are with them; we've been pretty lucky here so far, even with last night's crazy weather.

Today, it's just wet. Saturday? Hopefully 76 and sunny, with just a chance of rain.

PRODUCE: We're hoping this week to see more strawberries to go with the spring staples like asparagus, lettuces, spinach, radishes, kale, chard, green onions, rhubarb, etc. While there's nothing like local asparagus, there's NOTHING like local strawberries. You can also expect plenty of bedding plants, flower & vegetable starts, and cut flowers. There will be frozen meats, eggs, cheeses, farm-produced gelato, and honey as well.

PREPARED FOOD: We expect plenty of baked goods (everything from bread to croissants to cinnamon rolls), hot foods foods suiting herbivores, omnivores, and carnivores, ice cream, kettle corn, and more.

ART & CRAFTS: Woodwork, photography, batik, upcycled clothing, glass, jewelry, and much more will all be represented out at the Market.

COMMUNITY: Community groups represented this week include the Wesley Evening Food Pantry, AWARE, Campus Cooperative Preschool, Central Illininois Mosque and Islamic Center, Amasong, and many others - go visit these groups in their new location between the two main entrances of the Market (between the SW and NW entrances)

PERFORMANCE: We rarely know ahead of time who will come to perform, but you might run into some bluegrass music, some indie music played on a ukelele, some a capella singing, percussion, jazz flute, and more.

ART AT THE MARKET: The Urbana Public Arts Program is bringing its Art at the Market workshops back for another season! Local artists will be out at the Market the last Saturday of each month working with patrons of all ages to be creative. This weekend's artist is Urbana resident Traci Pines, who will be offering up different ways to re-use various items and make them into a variety of things - really cool refrigerator magnets, for example. The workshops are free, no registration is required, and the art-making goes continuously from 8 AM - noon. Look for the tent near the NW entrance to the Market, in the community groups row.

One bit of news related to all farmers markets in Illinois - it looks like SB840, Illinois' Cottage Food Bill, has passed both the Senate and the House and, after a short re-evaluation by the Senate, will go before Governor Quinn for consideration. You can read the text of the bill here. You can read an article about the bill here. The upshot? If Governor Quinn signs the legislation into law, home preparation of non-hazardous baked goods will once again be allowed at farmers markets in Illinois, with some basic restrictions (labeling food as being prepared in a home kitchen, the baker having a food service sanitation certificate, etc). This is a huge victory for entrepreneurs and farmers markets alike. It is expected that, if signed, the legislation will go into effect starting January 1, 2012.

Thanks, as always, for your support of Urbana's Market at the Square. See you out there!

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