Did you know market season is half way over? Seems like we just got started, but already we have reached the halfway point of the season. This month will probably be the hottest one of the season, so remember to bring your cooler or freezer bags and plan to cool off with a refreshing beverage post-market if you can. The market (and community!) will also welcoming lots of new people during the month of August as new faculty and grad students arrive in town, so expect to see some newbies at the market this month. Ah, to be a new grad student again, not sure where Lincoln Square mall was or how to park on campus — I certainly don’t envy the newbies! For the seasoned market goer, I do recommend trying to get your marketing done in the early morning if you can; it gets pretty hot in August at the market!
This month there will be a plethora of events to look forward to. On August 8th, the market will be celebrating National Farmer’s Market week. The market often gives stuff away (usually tote bags and maybe shirts with their bird logo) for National Farmer’s Market week, so be there early and check for free stuff! There will also be a Art at the Market performance by Bone Jugs in Harmony and a recycled friendship bracelet craft. Check out more information about this event here.
On August 15th, Sprouts at the Market returns with The Great Sprouts Expedition! This is a really fun scavenger hunt type activity that kids really like. The market offers something similar each year and I think I can say that this is a community favorite. Don’t miss out on this fun activity if you have small kiddos. Learn more about Sprouts at the Market here.
On August 22nd, there will be valet bike parking at the market by Champaign County Bikes. For the last several years, there has been a partnership with the bike groups in town to encourage riding your bike to the market. This is a great way to ask someone really knowledgeable about riding your bike around town, so if you are interested in becoming a bicycle commuter, be sure to check this event out!
On August 29th, the market will be helping to celebrate the Sweetcorn festival, so you can kick off your Sweetcorn Festival celebration at the Market. To learn more about the Sweetcorn Festival in Urbana visit its Facebook page.
This month, pretty much everything is in season. Early August is a great time for produce in central Illinois. The market should have: sweetcorn, garlic, tomatoes, cucumbers, summer squash, kohlrabi, broccoli, beets, radish, carrots, greens, kale, chard, green onions, sweet onions, cabbage, arugula, zucchini, new potatoes, sweet potatoes, okra, blueberries, black raspberries, raspberries, blackberries, peaches, apples, plums, cantaloupe, nectarines, and more according to marketmail. Be on the lookout for sunflowers, they are everywhere and so pretty this time of year. There are also other potted and cut flowers if you are looking for that type of thing. One of my very favorite things this time of year is the goats’ milk gelato from Prairie Fruits Farm, but you gotta get in line pretty quick because they do sometimes sell out! If you are tired of cooking in the August heat, you can also hit up the prepared food stands or food trucks and bring home enough to avoid the stove for a while.
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. The market is doubling LINK card purchases for a limited time. Learn more about LINK card purchases here.
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.
Pets: Pets are not allowed at the market, but you can get some yummy treats to share with your pet when you return home. Seriously people, leave your pets at home.
The Market runs from 7 a.m. to noon every Saturday through November 7th. All events are scheduled rain or shine.
C-U at the Market!
All photos by Jessica Hammie.