Thursday, October 27, 2011

We're Not Done Yet!

The Market runs through November 5. For more information about the Urbana Business Association's Holiday Market, please click here.

Funny how some folks think farmers market season should be over by now. After all, it's late October! There's not much left in home gardens! No peaches, no sweet corn - no food, right?!


There's no shortage of food at the Market late in the season. If anything, there's more food available to all you eaters, not less. We didn't even get the photos of the fruit - apples and pears have been delightful.

Last week's chilly temperatures froze a few things out - the Owens family, whose cut flowers are a highlight of the Market every weekend, won't be back for the rest of the season due to the heavy frost they experienced - but you can expect the Market to look, food-wise, a lot like what you see above. That includes the sun, thank goodness.

While we have nothing official going on for Halloween this season, costumes are always encouraged at the Market on the weekend before, and treats are to be had at several vendor booths - and the City tent! Make sure you bit the entire Market. Speaking of...

... the Market will likely be consolidated into a total of 4 rows, including community organizations, this weekend. Yes - community organizations are still around - in fact the folks from Staerkel Planetarium will be there with two telescopes (one for safely viewing the sun!), the C-U Folk & Roots Festival will be there, CIMIC will be there, U of I UNICEF, and several others. Look for them on the east side of the Market, in the same row as Crave Truck (pumpkin waffles through 11/5!) and Candide Roasteries. 

By the way - don't forget the Market merch! We still have t-shirts left - men's and women's are $10 apiece, and kids' shirts are $8 - and just a few totebags remain (see photo in last week's blog entry) - they're 100% recycled cotton, are extremely roomy & durable, and are just $15. Come find 'em at the City tent.

The Market's draft strategic plan was presented to Urbana City Council's Committee of the Whole this past Monday night, and it looks good for passing the Council on 11/7. Thanks very much to everyone who provided input about the Market - it will help us do the best possible job with the Market in the short- and long-term future. You can watch the presentation here.

Thanks so much for all your support this season. Please come visit us these last two weeks!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Final Push

Our last day is Saturday, November 5, from 7 AM - noon. The Urbana Business Association's Holiday Market gets underway at Lincoln Square on Saturday, November 12, and runs through Saturday, December 17. More info here
The end of the outdoor Market season is peeking at us. 

The weather this week has been blustery and wet and downright cold after such a hot summer and a few mini-blasts of warmer weather these past few weeks. It feels good to report we're getting a reprieve for Saturday's Market. It'll be cool, especially in the morning, but the wind will die down and the skies will be sunny and things will be dry. Oh, and there'll be food. Lots and lots of food.

Last weekend was terrific - very busy, lots of patrons. We're hoping for the same this weekend, because the real revelation right now, food-wise, is the cooler-weather produce. Last weekend we saw beautiful heirloom tomatoes (ripened during that last warm spell) Misato and Daikon radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, an amazing array of squash, potatoes, onions, kales... it was incredibly colorful, especially when you added the peppers, leeks, apples, beets, and cabbages. This week you can add carrots to the mix, and you might even run across some Brussels sprouts and a few other surprises. There's nothing like loading up your Market shopping bag* with gorgeous, fresh, local produce and doing something warm and bakey or soupy or stewy with it later. It really is the season to fire up that oven.

* We have just a few Market bags left. 100% recycled cotton canvas, very sturdy, very roomy, and a steal at $15. When they're gone, they're gone, and they won't be available again until May 2012, and they may not be this design! If you've been procrastinating, we recommend stopping by the City tent and snagging one ASAP! See here:

The Market has grown smaller in response to the cold - we lose vendors to weather - so if you're looking for someone, they may actually be at the Market, just in another location. Check with the staff at the City tent - they can help you out.

Part of this consolidation has been the relocation of the community groups to the east side of the Market. Their ranks have thinned as well, but this weekend you'll see CIMIC, CU Folk & Roots Festival, the Urbana Business Association, and several others. Also in Row 5 - Candide Roasteries and the Crave Truck, both of which will warm you right up.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Beautiful, Plentiful, Colorful

Fall - it's here. Last week's warmth notwithstanding (and we still haven't had our first frost), the angle of the sun and the amount of daylight don't lie. Neither do the fall colors, both in foliage and in food.

You'll probably notice that the Market is shrinking in size - that's normal for us this time of year, as we lose vendors to the season and the finicky weather. Even with fewer vendors, quality remains very high - there's good eating out there this weekend - see above.

Our special guest this weekend is U-Cycle - they're the City of Urbana's curbside recycling program, and this year they're celebrating their 25th year of service. Swing by the NW entrance of the Market to wish them well or to ask questions - even if you don't live in Urbana, they can answer recycling questions. Not only that, the Landscape Recycling Center is available to all county residesnts - they may be visiting at the Market as well this weekend.

Community organizations are now in Row 5, cozied up to our very popular prepared food vendors. This week you can visit with the U of I 1867 Society, CIMIC, the Champaign County Forest Preserve, the C-U Folk & Roots Festival, and several others. These organizations offer lots of information about their services, volunteer opportunities, and other ways for you to get involved when they visit the Market. We encourage you to pay them a visit!

It's always a little bittersweet as we approach the end of the season. As ever, we appreciate your support and enthusiasm and dedication to the Market all season long, but especially as we head down the home stretch. THANK YOU.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


It's hard not to feel good when the weather forecast is so utterly wonderful for the second Market of October. We ask you - what's not to like?

Last weekend was sunny, too, though not nearly as warm. Have a look:

It was a lovely day, despite the chill. You'll be seeing fall produce similar to what you're seeing above - potatoes, gourds & pumpkins, peppers, salad and other greens, cabbage, tomatoes (larger ones - the smaller ones are on their way out), some melons, beans (string, edamame, and others), eggplant, tomatillos, radishes, apples and pears, and probably a few surprises. Last week was the final week for Schottman's sweet corn, and while we could still see some corn from Kleiss Produce, as of this writing we're just not sure. You'll have to come see.

When you do visit, you'll notice a few changes at the Market. This time of year, we tend to lose vendors due to iffy weather and lack of produce, so we consolidate the Market to avoid big gaps in space. This weekend, our community organizations will be located in Row 5 (that's the row closest to Vine Street) along with Candide Roasteries and the CraveTruck, and will be located there through the end of the season. Vendors you may have visited in Row 5 will be in other locations within the Market - please ask the staff at the City tent if you're having trouble locating someone! Community organizations in attendance this weekend include Champaign County Democrats, the U of I Physics van, NAMI, Campus Middle School For Girls, Sierra Club, and others. Remember - Row 5!

This weekend features our final Sprouts at the Market event of the season. We usually work with the Eastern Illinois Foodbank on this event every October, and this season is no exception. Our event this year is called "Helping Your Peeps" and is all about teaching kids how the Foodbank works and who it serves. There'll be activities, a story about Dan the Can, and giveaways, including a Sprouts at the Market tote bag, while supplies last. The event goes from 9-11 AM. Next weekend - U-Cycle in the house!

We hope you add the Market to your must-do list this weekend - it promises to be lovely and lots of fun!