The cooler weather we are expecting this weekend is just perfect for cooking a comfort meal with ingredients from the farmers market. Our local farmers have all the necessities, including what may be the last chance to get your hands on a fair amount of tomatoes, beans and summer squash. Ed Keiser, my favorite meteorologist at WILL, is predicting the first chance of frost this weekend, which is sure to spur the end of the summer bounty. All this talk of falling temperatures may put you down in the dumps, but there is a bright side: Blue Moon Farm’s carrots are coming! I was lucky enough to get some last weekend for our first fall-themed dinner at Prairie Fruits and they were absolutely delicious. Amazingly sweet and tender, every faithful market patron knows these carrots will knock your socks off. Blue Moon sells their carrots throughout the fall and into the indoor market in November, so look for them soon, maybe even this weekend.
Every week the Moore’s seem to roll out more pumpkins and squash, and I have never seen so much variety. Trust me — your Jack-O-Lantern has never tasted so good.
And although the remaining produce at the Market lately has been more less the same, there are some highlights:
Masato Radish. These radishes are huge. An unassuming vegetable that reveals a gorgeous pink color when sliced, these radishes are awesome in a salad or even stir- fried. (Blue Moon)
Sweet Potatoes. (First Fruits has them now and I expect other farms to follow soon.)
Romanesco broccoli. An unusual looking crucifer that resembles an outcropping of green coral that is remarkably tasty and sweet. You can cook Romanesco the same way you would any cauliflower and use it the same way as well. Definitely worth a try and a great conversation starter. (Blue Moon)
This weekend, U of I dietetics student Jen Hewitt is back to conduct Sprouts at the Market, the Market’s nutrition and farm-linkage program for kids. Jen will provide a short nutrition workshop for the kids during four sessions (9, 9:30, 10, 10:30), who’ll then take their official Market bag and trick-or-treat for produce at participating vendors’ booths. Registration is not required but space is limited so arrive early to ensure participation. The Sprouts tent will be located next to the City’s Info Station at the northwest corner of the Market. Questions? Call Lisa, co-coordinator and market director at 384-2319.
The Market at the Square runs every Saturday from 7 a.m. to noon, rain or shine now through November 8th. It is located in the parking lot of Urbana Square Mall on the corners of Vine and Illinois Streets.