The market will be very full this weekend as people stop by as part of their Fourth of July festivities! July is a great month at the market; produce is plentiful and vendor spots are full each weekend at the market hits full swing. If you’ve been attending the market so far this year, you may have seen some of the early fruit and vegetable runs, especially on strawberries, but this weekend will feature peaches, and they are definitely worth the wait in line! Most of the peaches come from places that are a bit south of C-U, but still local enough that you can taste the freshness when you bite into one. The start of peach season is one of my favorite weekends at the market. This weekend may also feature some sweet corn and watermelon, so can pick up some of your barbeque favorites right at the market.
The fun events at the market continue this month as well. July 4th will feature Read at the Market hosted by the Urbana Free Library. This event will feature sign ups for all the summer reading programs at the UFL. For more information about this event, check the Read at the Market website. You can always tell when it is Read at the Market weekend, because there are so many balloons. Probably not the best for the environment considering how many kids I’ve seen release them into the wild, but the balloons are pretty festive!
On July 11th, Art at the Market will return with a program that will feature beautiful veggies and music by Sam Payn and Claire Johnson. I’m not entirely sure what the art project for this event will be, but come check it out anyway because Art at the Market is free and open to everyone. For more information about Art at the Market, check the public arts page.
For the third weekend in July, Sprouts at the Market will feature a “farmer’s market food lab” which sounds really fun for kids! Sprouts events are open to kids 3-8 and are free to participate in. The Sprouts event on July 18th is hosted by Chambanamoms.com, which is a great community resource for those who have children in the C-U area. To learn more about Sprouts, visit the Sprouts page.
Then on the last weekend in July, the Urbana fire department will be on hand at the market to teach citizens about fire safety. There may also be a chance to try out your firefighter skills, so don’t miss this one!
I had the good fortune a couple of weeks ago to snag some bacon and ground beef from Triple S farms, which resulted in some amazing bacon cheeseburgers for a cookout. If you haven’t tried out the local meat selection at the market it really is worth lugging the cooler with you. I’ve been pretty impressed with the selection each weekend from Triple S and I hear good things about the other places as well. If you plan to grill out this weekend, give some of the local meat vendors a try. The prices are a little higher than the big box places, but you know where your food is coming from and that the farmer’s haven’t used drugs and such to produce the meat, which is worth the extra bucks to me.
Have a happy and safe 4th — 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 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.
All photos by Jessica Hammie.