If you were at the market last weekend and were caught in the rain, this weekend looks to hold much more promise in terms of weather! Looks like this Saturday will be clear skies and sunny, so it’s a safe bet to head to the market. September is a great month at the market as an abundance of produce is still available and cooler weather items like pumpkins, gourds, and apples start to appear. As school is back in session and people get busy with other things on the weekends attendance tends to drop a little bit, but the market still has a lot to offer so don’t miss out on the chance to participate some great programming and snap up some excellent produce.

For the month of September, both markets are participating in the Buy Fresh, Buy Local campaign, and are encouraging all market goers to participate as well. The campaign was started by Foodroutes Network and claims that buying from local farmers could pump upwards of $600 million dollars back into the local Illinois economy. The campaign challenges central Illinois residents to spend $20 a week during the month of September on locally grown food. So head out to the farmer’s market of your choice and participate in boosting the economy this month!

Here is your monthly overview for both the Saturday Urbana Market and the Tuesday Champaign Market. 

Urbana Market Forecast

The Urbana Market has lots of programming this month to keep you busy. On September 10th Art at the Market features Music by elizaBeth Simpson & friends and an Art Workshop making sunprints and buttons. Art at the Market is for all market patrons and is free to participate in. On September 17th, Sprouts at the the Market returns with a workshop on locally-grown food for kids 3-8. Sprouts will present the children with the chance to explore locally-grown food enjoyed around the world. Kids are given a “passport” to explore local foods throughout the market. The sprouts program is free for kids ages 3-8. This particular Sprouts program is a favorite with the kid crowd so plan accordingly. Read at the Market returns September 24th with balloons and the story carpet. To learn more about events at the Urbana Market, check their Facebook page.

Urbana Market Info

The Urbana Market is one of the largest farmers' markets and has been in continuous operation since 1979. The market runs from May 7th to November 5th each Saturday morning from 7 a.m. to noon, rain or shine. No pets are allowed. 

Forms of payment: All vendors accept cash, and a few may take checks. Some vendors have card readers on their smart phones, but I haven’t seen too many of those. See information about LINK tokens here.

If you run out of cash at the Market, there is an ATM in the Lincoln Square Mall.

Parking: Free parking is available in the parking lots surrounding Lincoln Square Mall and the lot south of Illinois Street. Bike parking is also available at the entrances to the mall and at the bike corral area past the entrance to the Market off of Illinois.

Information: You can follow the Market on Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for market mail here. This year market mail has included some nice seasonal recipes so it might be worth it to sign up! And check out the Market Instagram for some gorgeous photos.

Champaign Market Forecast

The Champaign Market has several cooking demonstrations scheduled this month in cooperation with the Buy Fresh, Buy Local campaign. If you want to see how local chefs use local, seasonal produce to make delicious dishes, these are the events for you. Alisa DeMarco will host the seasonal chef demonstrations at the market with a special guest each week.   

September 6th:  Chef Jacob Sartin from Destihl
September 13th: Chef Mark Hartstein from Watson’s Shack & Rail
September 20th: Chef Drew Starkey from Bacaro
September 27th: Chef Ann Swanson from Hendrick House

The cooking demonstrations sound really fun and it’s a nice chance to see how to incorporate local produce into your own cooking. The Champaign Market will also have other special events throughout the month so be sure to check the Facebook page for upcoming activities. Also, if you haven’t met the Market Director of the Champaign market, Sara Simeziane, check out her post about why she loves the market: it’s a great behind the scenes view of market life.

Champaign Market

The Champaign Market is Tuesday evenings from 4 to 7 p.m. in Downtown Champaign. Parking is available in parking lot M off of Neil Street. Vendors take mostly cash, but some do take cards on their smartphones. If you run out of cash, there are ATMs close by in the Busey building on University or at the PNC location on Main Street just behind the market.  

Dogs are welcome at this market, but must be leashed. The Champaign Market offers a recipe service called Fresh Now! to help you use your produce. And you can always check their Facebook page for updates and ideas 

To learn more about the Tuesday market, check the Land Connection's website.