Thursday, May 31, 2012

Summer? Spring? PEACHES.

Last weekend was one of the hottest Markets in recent memory. But people came out anyway and did the Market proud, and buying local food and art and listening to local music. They made art, too, at our Art at the Market workshop, which was a runaway success. Some folks just came to the Market, got what they wanted, and got the heck out of there. Who could blame them? It was well over 90 degrees when we ended at noon.

Couldn't make it? Here are some photos - click on them to make them larger:

This weekend's Market weather will be much cooler and possibly cloudier. The irony here? We'll also be seeing the first of the green beans (thanks, Kleiss Produce!), and, miraculously, the first in southern IL peaches and apricots from Mileur Orchard in Murphysboro, IL (they're in Row 4). Both of these additions to the Market will ease the pain of saying ciao to strawberries and asparagus. If you find either of them at the Market this weekend, it's because you got there super-early.

The Urbana Free Library and the Urbana Business Association will be joining us this weekend near Market HQ, at the NW entrance to the Market. The library will have balloons and books for the kids, the UBA will have info about the Urbana Sweetcorn Festival (coming up in August), and we can help you out with Market merchandise, swipe your credit/debit, or LINK card, and tell you which vendor is where.

We're looking forward to the first Market of June, our fifth of the season, and we're especially looking forward to seeing you, you, and ESPECIALLY you. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

No Other Word For It

And that would be hot. It was hot at the Market last weekend, and it'll be hot this weekend, too. The Market is also kind of hot, as in, people like us. They really like us. And who wouldn't, when this is what we offer?

You'll see more of the same this weekend, plus warmer weather stuff - a few blueberries, broccoli, things like that. You won't see as many strawberries or as much asparagus - the extra-warm weather isn't good for those things. The season for strawberries and asparagus was short, but so, so glorious.

Something (relatively) cool happening this weekend...

Art at the Market makes its 2012 season debut with a free art workshop to all patrons PLUS the first installment of its performance series. The workshop will be led by local artist Kathryn Fitzgerald, and the performers this month will be Community Center For the Arts & Friends. The whole thing gets underway at 9 AM in the Walnut Street area of the Market - it's on the west side of the Market. As part of this series, Einstein Bros Bagels will be donating free coffee on these dates - that'll be available after 8 AM at the Market's Bev Tent on the north side of the Market. Supplies will be limited.

It's been a crazy-yet-completely-awesome season thus far. Thanks, as always, for your support of the Market - we have the best patrons. See you tomorrow!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Getting Warmed Up

We had another fabulous Market Saturday last weekend. Honestly, the weather so far this season has been incredible, if a little on the warm side. IT IS MAY, AND IT HAS BEEN A LITTLE ON THE WARM SIDE. After last May's cool and cloudy series of Markets, this is not a bad thing.

So. We took more photos. If you want to see them in the large style, click on the images:

Shoppers can expect more of the same this weekend with warm temperatures and sunny skies and lots of strawberries. As always, it is highly recommended that you come early for the best selection of everything, especially with the warm weather. Asparagus, peas, berries, lettuces, spinach, chard, leeks, greenhouse zukes, green garlic and onions, turnips and radishes, and probably lots more will be out for your perusal this weekend. Flowers, plants, meats, goat cheese and goat's milk gelato, honey, jams and jellies, and scratch-made baked goods will also be ready to go home with you this weekend. YUM. We're telling you, it's an embarrassment of riches out there for so early in the season.

We also have tons of high-quality handmade goods being sold at the Market - we're talking jewelry, photos, soap, woodwork, candles, paintings, upcycled clothing, bags and satchels, and much more. And, as always, you'll find performers scattered throughout the Market, playing music from many genres for patron enjoyment.

Of note this weekend: Our first Sprouts at the Market event is happening from 9-11 AM. 

Our May event is always a seed-planting workshop for kids ages 3-8 - this year, sunflowers are the planting plan. Join Market staff and a cadre of volunteers as we plant seeds, talk about what the plants will look like, look at other types of seeds and the foods they grow into, and more! It's free and there's no pre-registration required. All participating kids get a Certificate of Participation, which can be used for a discount during the day at Art Mart Toys in Lincoln Square Mall. 

Next week: More details on our first Art at the Market workshop and accompanying Performance on Walnut Street series... plus a special treat! Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Getting Into Gear

We were so busy on our opening day last weekend that we were only able to take twelve photos. Twelve! Check out these four:

Market-goers were clearly anxious for the 2012 Market season to begin, as they descended upon the spring food immediately and made quick work of it, especially the strawberries. There'll be more strawberries available this week, but as always, we recommend arriving at the Market early for the best selection. Asparagus will be around this week, plus some more traditional spring items like lettuces, salad greens, spinach, radishes, turnips, baby carrots, leeks, fresh herbs, etc. Plants starts will still be offered by several vendors as well, and cut flowers, too (perfect if your mom is into lovely bouquets for Mother's Day).

It actually was a great day all-around. There was sun, thousands of people, lots of food, beautiful artisanal items for sale, lots of music, and all-around good vibes. Thank you to our patrons for making it one of the best opening days in... well, ever.

Let's do it again this week!

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Devil's in the Details

Furious last-minute preparations! Crossing things off lists! Sending frantic emails! Fretting about the weather! That's what's happening here today. We'll be ready in the morning, though...

Wondering what kinds of food to buy tomorrow? We advise you to bring multiple shopping bags to receive the bounty. Lots of spinach, lettuces, salad mixes, beets, radishes, baby carrots, green onions, arugula, kale, chard, and the crown jewels - the foods everyone is waiting for at the spring Markets:

Yep, farmers will have asparagus and strawberries. Maybe even some rhubarb. And flowers. And plant starts. And farm-raised meats, cheeses, honey, prepared foods/preserves, baked goods, gelato...

A vast array of artisans will also be there, weather permitting, and our community groups will be located in Row 5 this year, with the Crave Truck and other food trucks as they arrive. Look for performers scattered throughout the Market, too!

The City tent will be right in front of you if you come in at the NW entrance - THERE WILL BE NO THRU TRAFFIC rounding that corner from High to Walnut (at the corner of Health Alliance). It's a dangerous corner on Market days, so we wanted to make it safer. It'll also give us more room. Parking will not be affected - all parking spaces will still be available. If you have any questions, if you run out of cash and want to buy tokens to use in the Market with your credit, debit, or LINK card, if you need to buy a T-shirt or tote bag - we'll be right there, occasionally with programming or partner agencies, like the Urbana Business Association or the Urbana Free Library or Art at the Market or Sprouts.

OK. We have to go - so much to finish. See you out there tomorrow morning!