Did you go to the market last week? It was a little breezy, but the weather was pretty nice, the produce was beautiful, and the market was crowded! It was nice kick-off for the season and nice to see so many people came out for the first one. I was there at about 9 a.m. and it looked like some things were already selling out, especially the strawberries and the doughnuts from Pandamonium. The line out in front of the Sleepy Creek Vineyards booth seemed to be hopping, as well as the lines for the food trucks. I don’t think some of the vendors were prepared for such a great kick-off, which explains some of the shortages. Also, keep in mind that some items are limited right now because of season. But soon the market will be back to full production, so if you were disappointed that your favorite thing was sold out last week, don’t give up hope! The market is back this week with even more produce, some events, and even more wine from Sleepy Creek Vineyards.
This week the Market is featuring Art at the Market with a Japanese printmaking class from 8 a.m. to noon, and a West African music and dance performance from 9:30-11:30 a.m. Art at the Market is free for all ages. Art at the Market is a great experience for those who are interested in expanding their cultural horizons! Learn more about Art at the Market here.
This week also continues Bike to the Market month, which is a collaboration with many community organizations to promote safe and sustainable cycling in C-U. This week will feature a bike rodeo for kids (ages 5 to 14) to learn bike skills, have their bikes checked by volunteers, and learn about helmet and cycling safety. The bike rodeo will take place across Illinois Street in the parking lot of the dry cleaner’s. This is actually a very helpful event for kids to learn about bike safety, and it’s pretty cute to watch. The event will run from 9 a.m. to noon. To learn more about Bike to the Market month, the bike rodeo, or to volunteer, click here.
Next week, the market will feature the return of the Sprouts at the Market program. Sprouts is a program designed especially for children to learn about healthy eating and agriculture. The activities offered by Sprouts are pretty fun and usually feature agricultural themes to help kids learn while they have fun. Learn more about Sprouts here.
This week the market will have more produce to offer than last week due to the nicer weather the last couple of weeks. There should be greens, spinach, kale, and lots of potted herbs. There will also be flowers, both cut and potted. A lot of vendors are offering vegetable plants this time of year as well, so if you are planning your own home garden be sure to swing by and see what the selection looks like. There is also a large variety of local cheese, free-range meat (try the bacon at Triple S, you will not be disappointed!) and plenty of jams, jellies and condiments to choose from. There will also be lots of craft vendors if you are looking to pick out something special for Mother’s day. Maybe your mom would really love a farm to table homemade meal made just for her, or maybe she’s into homemade soap or local wine.
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. Keep in mind the parking lot across Illinois will be the site of the bike rodeo this week, so plan accordingly for parking.
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 to learn more about what is happening at the market each week. 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. And check out flickr for some great photos from the market each week—maybe you’ll even be in a few!
The market runs from 7 a.m. to noon every Saturday through November 1. All events are scheduled rain or shine.