Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sweet Heat

Remember last week? So sunny and downright temperate? Well, it'll be sunny and gorgeous for the Market this Saturday, but it's going to be warm - exactly the right way to usher in July and the middle of summer.

Here are some scenes from last weekend. This weekend will look similar, only better and foodier, we think. Imagine... peaches, tomatoes, berries, potatoes, summer squash, cucumbers, and more...

If you're not heading out of town for the weekend but instead have people coming to you, bring them to the Market - it's a major slice of C-U summer weekend life. Having a cookout? The Market's vendors can provide just about everything you need for grillables, sides, salads, and desserts. Our vendors also offer a great selection of gifts and art, too.

Community groups with us this weekend on Walnut Street: Vet Med, Champaign County Bikes, Urbana Free Library, Crisis Nursery, Community Center for the Arts, Champaign County Democrats, Amasong, Eastern Illinois Foodbank, and several others. We'll also have some seating in that area so you can grab some shade, eat your waffle from CraveTruck or your sandwich from Fryer Tuck, or sip your iced coffee/tea from Art Mart, and chat. Please swing through!

Overall, it's shaping up to be a terrific weekend - make us a part of it!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Solstice Week

Summer Solstice has come and gone, but we like to think it's still with us for the next couple of weeks, with the later sunsets and the early sunrises. Summer's here, and things are finally getting going.

We're expecting decent weather this weekend - which is big news - but the REAL news is that summer produce is working its way into the Market. There were peaches last weekend. Luscious, yummy peaches.

You know it's summer when the peaches show up. It's only going to get peachier from here on out, too, so consult your cookbooks (or fire up the Google) for dessert recipes and jam recipes. Or... just eat them plain. Plain is good.

Also spotted last weekend:

By the way - the zipper pulls on those pouches, made by artisan Jennifer Phillips, say "Market Money". What better place to keep your cash or Market tokens?

This weekend's programming is another Art at the Market event - this time, local artist David Black will be working with patrons of all ages to make recycled paper. The workshop is free, no registration is required, and the workshop goes from 8 AM - noon. The tent's location is TBA - please check in at the City tent at the NW entrance to the Market for details on Saturday.

Community groups in residence this weekend: One-To-One Mentoring, ACLU, Eastern Illinois Foodbank, U of I's Entomology folks (all about pollinators!), Champaign County Democrats, Vet Med, and several others. Please swing through the row at the westernmost end to see what these community organizations are up to.

See you out there!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Better Late Than Never

We've been so busy watching the skies and the radar that we forgot to post. This is the most weather-affected Market we've seen in several years.

So. It might rain for the Market. It might not. Do you come to the Market when it rains? Would you come if you knew the season's first peaches would be there, all the way from southern Illinois? You'd have to come early to snag them. Mmm. Peaches.

Sprouts at the Market is on for tomorrow, unless it's raining cats & dogs (chard & broccoli?) at 8:30 AM, in which case we'll have to cancel. We're calling it "Market 101" - it's dedicated to explaining to the younger set what "local" and "seasonal" and "organic" mean, and why fruits and veggies rule so much. Heck, their caregivers might learn something, too! It's free and runs from 9 AM - 11 AM - just look for the 4 small stations inside the Market displaying Sprouts' chick symbol, or register at the Sprouts tent at the NW entrance to the Market.

Our community groups area is a work in progress. We want YOU to hang out there. We've added some seating - all the better to hang out and chat with friends while you much on your Cravetruck waffle and read information from one of the many community organizations visiting us on Market days. Yes - community organizations and waffles are two great tastes that will, we hope, go great together. Cravetruck will be located at the south end of the westernmost row of the Market. Community groups like, the Eastern Illinois Foodbank, REGAP, the Land Connection, and several other groups will be there to inform and educate our community. Please pay them a visit!

A few photos from last weekend to whet your appetite:

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Spring to Summer to Springish

Whoa. Last weekend was a trip, wasn't it? The Market was 80 degrees when it opened at 7 AM last Saturday, and it was all uphill from there - the high that day was 97 degrees. It may have been the hottest actual Market day in several years, certainly in the last three.

We're starting to see a shift in the growing season. The weather has surely helped speed things up, but the calendar also points ahead to the Summer Solstice, which this year is on June 21. Garlic scapes are ready, the first of the greenhouse cucurbitae are ready, the peas are ready, and we hear we'll probably have the first green beans of the season this weekend as well. If you're lucky, you'll still find some stray asparagus or rhubarb, but that's looking mostly done for 2011.

As for strawberries - like last week, get thee to the Market early. We're not sure what this week's heat has meant to the berries, but what there is to be had will likely go quickly. If you want real-time updates on the berry situation, may we suggest following the Market on Twitter or Facebook? Those two accounts are updated frequently, often with late-breaking news about available food.

This weekend, we're planning to introduce our first attempt at a seating area in the community groups row on the west side of the Market, located between our two main entrances. The plan is to have three tents set up with tables and chairs underneath so people can catch some shade and mingle a bit and have a bite to eat. We have some other plans for the area in the hopper as well. This week, patrons will be able to visit with the Urbana Business Association, the Eastern Illinois Foodbank, the Illinois Club, the Sierra Club, Webber Street Christian Church, the Champaign County Master Gardeners, the University of  Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, and several other groups offering information, conversation, and opportunities.

We expect the weather to cooperate - we always do - but also advise you, dear patrons, to keep an eye on it. The Market goes rain or shine, so if you need to, find your umbrella and galoshes, because we'll be there.

See you this weekend!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Quick, Like Strawberry Season

Short update for a short week:

Strawberries will be in short supply this week, as the weather has wrought utter havoc on our barely-existent strawberry season. If you need berries, we urge you to come early.

Asparagus and rhubarb are winding down a bit - they'll still be at the Market, but the season is ending. Look, though, for plenty of lettuces, salad greens, spinach, green onions, plants, flowers, etc. 

New this week, we hope: BISON.

The bison folks, if all the pieces fall into place, will be located at the north end of the Market. 

Look for a full row of community groups on the west end of the Market this week - Amasong, Champaign County Bikes, AWARE, Eastern Illinois Foodbank, CIMIC, Habitat For Humanity, Community Center For the Arts, Crisis Nursery, UP Center, and others will be represented. Next week we'll offer seating in this area - it'll become a terrific place to hang out and chat, gather information, eat that pastry you bought, and take a break from shopping.

Sorry for the brevity, but there's a lot going on! Just know this: the weather is going to be warm and gorgeous Saturday morning. Please consider making the Market a part of your day if you don't already - and many thanks if you already do. We'll see you out there!