Thursday, August 25, 2011

Full Swing

School's in session, the weather is just barely thinking about starting its seasonal shift, and the Market, we expect, will be hopping this weekend.

The summer trifecta (sweet corn, tomatoes, and peaches) is still widely available at Market stalls. Peaches are winding down, though, so if you want the best selection you need to get to the Market soon. Happily, peak sweet corn and tomatoes will be around for weeks to come. 

Other produce - berries, greens, potatoes, summer squash & zucchini, cukes, beans, onions, okra, melons, and just about all summer produce will be widely available this weekend.

[Speaking of sweet corn, Urbana's Sweet Corn Festival starts this Friday in downtown Urbana at 5 PM and goes 'til 11 PM. The Festival continues Saturday from 11 AM - 11 PM. Corn, food vendors, activities for kids, lots of music - it's THE classic way to bid August adieu. ]

Community organizations attending the Market this weekend: Eastern Illinois Foodbank, Campus Middle School For Girls, Illinois Club, Crisis Nursery, Mothers & More, CIMIC, TIMES Center, U of I Nanotechnology, The Land Connection, and several others. The organizations provide interested patrons with information about their activities and possible volunteer opportunities, and like our farmers and vendors, are "homegrown". Check 'em out on the west side of the Market!

If you ever have any questions about the Market, you're welcome to go to the City of Urbana tent, located at the NW entrance to the Market, and ask. Staff there also accept lost and found items, can run your credit, debit, or LINK cards for tokens (especially great if you have the LINK card or have run out of cash), sell you one of our very popular T-shirts and/or tote bags, and can take feedback directly/hook you up with one of our "Something to Crow About?" comment cards. They're there to help!

As mentioned over the last couple of weeks, the Market is now doubling LINK token purchases up to $20 per card, per Market day. More information is here, or you can ask the staff at the City tent to help you out. The program has been a huge success thus far, but we want more new shoppers coming to the Market and using these resources. Do us a favor - help us spread the word about this program. It really is something we're so excited to be able to do, and part of our outreach plan is to use word of mouth in addition to posters and brochures.

Farmers markets have been in the news quite a bit these days:

You can vote for your favorite farmers market at this contest sponsored by the American Farmland Trust. If you want to vote for us (and we hope you do), click on the "large markets" tab at the link above and cast your vote.

Grist asked the question: Too many markets? Or not enough farmers? The article is interesting... and so are the comments. What do you think?

Here's another piece on the subject... and this piece is also related...

Finally, watch this space for more information on an event about the central Illinois food system featuring food systems analyst Ken Meter of the Crossroads Resource Center in Minneapolis, MN. We're co-presenting it with Common Ground Food Co-op on Saturday, September 10. Details coming soon!

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