Urbana’s Market at the Square starts the second month of the season this weekend! The market has been well attended by both vendors and patrons so far and should continue to be a great place to hang out on Saturday morning.
As the weather starts to warm up, the produce available will start multiply. Late June and early July bring some excellent things to the market, including strawberries, peaches, and watermelon. Also be on the lookout for scrumptious vegetables of all kinds. The market has local eggs, free range meat, and artisan dairy products. I’m waiting for it to be warm enough to enjoy some goat milk gelato. There will also be lots of other choices for produce as the market progresses and the weather improves. In June, there will also be plenty of baked goods, prepared foods, arts and crafts items and much more. I think June is when the market really starts to pick up. There will more vendors this month and more selection. Also, there will be plenty of events to look forward to!
One of my favorite new events at the market is Read at the Market, sponsored by the Urbana Free Library. This month, Read at the Market will be on June 6th from 8 a.m. to noon and will feature summer reading program sign up and “magic reading carpet” story time for kids. The library does a lot of outreach to the community at the market, so stop by and say hi if you are interested in learning more about the library.
On June 13th, Art at the Market will return with an opportunity to decorate plant pots with Karissa McDermott, and a West African drumming performance by locals Djibril Camara & Ballet Allah Tantou. missed the first Art at the Market this year, but I’m looking forward to seeing some beautiful plant pots at this one. One of the things that is so great about Art at the Market is that it is free and often features an upcycled project that you can use to update things that are already lying around!
On June 20th, Sprouts at the Market will return with a program called “Get your heart beeting” that will feature education all about beets for kids ages 3 through 8. Sprouts is a great, free program for kids. If you have a shy kid, the people working at the Sprouts table are usually very friendly, so don’t be afraid to say hi and ask to participate.
Finally, on the last Saturday in June, there will be a blood drive hosted by Community Blood Services of Illinois. Demand for blood increases in the summer, so please consider donating if you can.
So far, it’s been a slow start to the season at the market. I always get so excited for the market to return in May, but it does take a while for the produce to start rolling in. This week there is rumored to be strawberries, but generally the early strawberries go very quickly, so if you want some you will want to arrive to the market early. Actually, arriving at the market early is always a good idea because it is less crowded. I usually try to arrive before 9 a.m. when it starts to get busier. If you haven’t tried the market early in the morning, it’s a completely different experience and I highly recommend trying it!
C-U at the Market!
Forms of payment: All vendors accept cash, and a few may take checks. Some vendors have card readers on their smart phones, but not all. See information
about LINK, SNAP, and WIC guidelines here. If you run out of cash, there is an ATM in Lincoln Square Mall.
Parking: Free parking is available in the parking lots surrounding Lincoln Square Mall andthe 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.
Pets: Pets are not allowed at the market, but you can get some yummy treats to share with your pet when you return home.
The Market runs from 7 a.m. to noon every Saturday through November 7th. All events are scheduled rain or shine.
Photos by Jessica Hammie.