It’s National Farmer’s Market week. This week the market will celebrate with a special ceremony held at the northwest corner of the market at 8:30 a.m. The mayor of Urbana will be on hand to give a special proclamation and there will be market freebies (limited supply so arrive early if you have your heart set on some free stuff). This week the market will also feature an Art at the Market workshop and performance, and the community blood center bus mobile donation center will be on hand for blood donations. This is a great week to come out to the market and enjoy the cooler weather.
Art at the Market this week will feature a workshop by the Land Connection that features vegetable stamps. This fun workshop will allow kids and adults to create art with fruits and vegetables. The workshop allows kids to see what creative art they can make with local produce, and older kids and adults will be able to carve their own stamps. This event runs from 8 a.m. to noon and is free for all market patrons. While you are creating your artistic fruit and veggie creations, Rebecca Rego and the Trainmen will be performing live at the market from 9:30–1:30 a.m. This local band is known for its Americana-rock tunes. For more information about Art at the Market visit here. If you are interested in donating blood, the bloodmobile will be on hand. For more information about the blood drive visit the website.
With all the special events happening at the market recently, the market is still a great place to drop by any Saturday to see some local musicians playing in the aisles, and take home some local produce. Last week did not feature any “special” events, but there was still plenty to see and do. One of the things I’ve come to love about the market is how friendly and helpful many of the vendors are. I have had so many great conversations over the years with vendors about how to use produce, or received great advice about my own garden. Just last week a conversation with one of my favorite vendors at the market, Pekara, helped me to find something at the market that Pekara doesn’t even sell. It is so nice to have a friendly face to go with your veg! So when you buy your local produce, meat, dairy, wine, or baked goods, don’t forget to say hello to the vendor and ask how to prepare items if you aren’t sure; you might learn something great!
This week, the market will have so many options to choose from. Sweetcorn is in full swing, as well as tomatoes and blackberries. Peaches and cherries are still appearing in abundance, too. The cooler weather this summer means that many vendors have a bumper crop of gorgeous green beans. I also saw a lot of zucchini last week. This time of year, there is so much great produce to choose from at the market. The local cut flower scene is also doing very well. There was an abundance of sunflowers at the market last week and I saw a lot of market patrons with huge bundles to take home. The wine vendors also seem to be quite busy. The ability to buy local alcohol has been a very nice addition to this market season.
Forms of payment: All vendors accept cash, and a few may take checks. There is an ATM in the Lincoln Square Mall just in case you buy so much you need a few more bucks. LINK card tokens are still available. Find more information about LINK here.
Parking: Parking is available in the parking lots surrounding Lincoln Square Mall and the lot south of Illinois Street for FREE! 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: The market provides a lot of ways to get information. You can follow the market on Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for market mail here. There is a map of the vendors here. If you want more information you can email Market Director Natalie Kenny Marquez, or call her at 217.384.2319. Check out Flickr for some great photos from the market each week. The market also has instagram; you can follow the feed here.
Pets: The market doesn’t allow pets, so leave your furry friends at home. But there are plenty of places to pick up a special treat for your pet at the market so they don’t feel left out.
The market runs from 7 a.m. to noon every Saturday through November 1st. All events are scheduled rain or shine.