It’s mid-June, and the farmers’ markets are in full swing. Both markets are offering delicious options for C-U shoppers. The Champaign Farmers’ Market is back to their usual location in Downtown Champaign every Tuesday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., and the Urbana Market in the Square opens every Saturday at 7 a.m.
The COVID prevention measures are still in effect at both markets. Remember to shop with a mask, maintain social distancing, and follow the one-way paths of the market as you shop. Here’s a look at what you can find at the markets this June.
This month’s produce selection is more robust than last month’s. You’ll find leafy greens, broccoli, garlic, turnips, scallions, green beans, and leeks. I saw several stands with strawberries. All throughout the market, the stands were bursting with freshly picked produce, baked goods, flowers, and meats.
Herbs and herb starters are available, too. You can still plant these in your garden or pot and enjoy the herbs all summer long. It’s a great way to elevate your at home cooking and a perfect start to gardening for beginners like me.
I came for strawberries this past Saturday, and I was not disappointed. I was able to buy two pints. These locally grown, freshly-picked strawberries are adorable and smaller than the grocery store options, but they are much more flavorful. My children and I ate an entire pint on Saturday afternoon.
The vegetable options are vast. If you’re looking to add vegetables to your family’s dinner plates, you won’t be at a loss. You will find kale, chard, collard greens, lettuce, scallions, garlic, potatoes, sugar snap peas, cucumbers, zucchini, kohlrabi, yellow wax beans, green beans, and more.
I picked up broccoli and green beans from Meyer Produce. We ate a few of the green beans raw, and the rest of them, I sauteéd in a pan with some butter.
I stopped by Prairie Fruits Farms stand and stocked up on their chevre frais cheese. My favorite variety from PFF is the herbs de provence. It’s a creamy, savory cheese with strong herb flavors from the basil, rosemary, thyme, and lavender flowers. I added a dollop of the PFF cheese on top of our sauteéd green beans, and it was divine. The ladies at the PFF stand told me that this chevre frais is a great addition to scrambled eggs, and I bet they’re right. This cheese could go with anything — and it will, in my kitchen.
I find shopping the markets such a pleasant escape from being home all the time and a lovely alternative to the aisles of a grocery. You can bring your own re-usable bag to the market, but you’ll have to bag what you buy yourself after paying. Also, there is no handling of products until payment has been made.
Besides fresh produce and cheese, you can find flowers, baked goods, meats, mushrooms, and several food trucks at the Urbana Market at the Square.
I felt safe at both Markets as shoppers seem to be respecting social distancing and mask wearing.
Urbana’s Market at the Square Info
The Urbana Market has been in continuous operation since 1979. The market runs from May 2th to October 31st, each Saturday morning from 7 a.m. to noon, rain or shine. It’s located at the corner of Illinois and Vine in Urbana.
Forms of payment: Credit, debit, or SNAP is preferred. Cash is accepted, but vendors may not provide change to reduce the spread of the virus.
SNAP/LINK: Vendors selling LINK-eligible foods accept LINK tokens. Please visit Urbana’s Market at the Square website for specifics, or the information tent on site.
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: No pets allowed. Please respect the market’s rules and leave your doggo at home.
Social Media: You can follow the Market on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Sign up for weekly Market emails here.
The Land Connection Champaign Farmers’ Market
The Land Connection’s Champaign Farmers’ Market is on their sixth year. The Champaign Market is open on Tuesdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. starting on May 19th. The Champaign Farmers’ Market is back to their regular location in parking lot M at Neil and Washington in Downtown Champaign.
Forms of Payment: Pre-ordering, credit cards, debit cards, or SNAP/EBT cards are preferred. Cash will be accepted, but vendors will be instructed not to provide change.
SNAP/LINK: All eligible vendors accept SNAP benefits through the LINK token program. Please visit The Land Connection website for specifics.
Parking: Metered parking is available in parking lot M off of Neil Street, or in the Hill Street Parking Deck.
Pets: Leashed dogs are welcome.
Social Media: Follow The Land Connection on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or check the website for more information.