Last week I arrived at the market a little later than my normal time and it was packed. According to the market staff, 6,400 people visited the market last week! Even though the market was crowded, the lines for produce, plants, baked goods, and the food trucks were moving along at a steady clip and I didn’t end up waiting too long for any of my purchases. People seemed to be having a good time listening to the music, hanging out in the new seating area, and getting some breakfast from the food trucks. I saw several little kids that were pretty vocal about not wanting to leave the market, complete with full body animation. The market really is a fun experience for kids and adults alike, and has the added benefit of supporting local farmers. I ended up purchasing some completely delicious vanilla goat milk gelato and a chocolate croissant from Pekara that was out of this world. I also got some greens and turnips for the week and was really tempted by the fresh strawberries as well. This week will have some great events and continue the trend of more abundant produce.
This week, Art at the Market returns with an art workshop called ArtLab with Meredith Foster. The description for this workshop is a little vague, but sounds mysterious and fun. According to the website the workshop will feature adhesives, inks, and charcoal made from foodstuffs. Sounds intriguing! Art at the Market will also feature the traditional Jewish folk music stylings of Don’t Ask. The style of music Don’t Ask will be playing is called Klezmer, and features violins, horns, trumpets, and clarinets. To learn more about Don’t Ask or Klezmer music, visit their facebook page. ArtLab will run from 8 a.m. to noon, and Don’t Ask will play from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
This week the market will have even more produce on offer. Since the weather has gotten better, things are coming into season and catching up from the long winter. This week, the market will feature sugar snap peas, snow peas, onions, greens, and broccoli raab. Broccoli raab, also called rapini, is a great addition to your vegetable repertoire if you haven’t already tried it. Broccoli raab is the edible stems and leaves of the plant. While it has the same name, it is not a part of the broccoli plant, nor does it taste identical to broccoli. Instead, broccoli raab is a slightly bitter green that is added to many Italian and Portuguese dishes. I like it sautéed with some onions and mushrooms, and served over roasted chicken. Give it a try this week if you are up for trying something new.
If you are planning to pick up some locally sourced meat this week, you may want to bring a cooler or a freezer bag to keep it cool as you head home. When I got gelato last week, I was fine just leaving directly after my purchase and was able to make it home with just a little melting, but this week is predicted to be a little bit warmer, so you may want to plan ahead for frozen items.
Finally, I just wanted to include a shout out the market staff; they work really hard to make the market fun and enjoyable for everyone. Did you know that the staff usually arrives at 4:45 am to set up? Yikes. So, if you see a market staffer please thank them for all their hard work! And please do everyone a favor and follow the rules of the market, including not bringing your pet.
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. See 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 they don’t feel left out.
The Market runs from 7 a.m. to noon every Saturday through November 1. All events are scheduled rain or shine.