This month is the last month of markets. The markets run through October, but things will start to wind down as November approaches. The Urbana Market runs through November 4th and the Champaign market runs until October 31st. The great news is that while the October is a not the most packed month at the market, it’s a great time for pumpkins, apples, and all the decorative gourds your heart could desire. Additionally, as we’ve been experiencing what can only be described as August in October, there should be a great amount of produce continuing through the month.
This past month at the market, I was still seeing strawberries, corn and watermelon; so barring any frosts there should still be a good variety of produce for sale. Also, if you haven’t taken the time to check some of the community tents and organizations, there have been a good number of community events and organizations represented the last few times I’ve been to the market. Check out that last row at the Urbana market to see what is happening in the community and maybe join an organization you care about- and maybe even get your picture taken with (a cardboard cutout of) the Pope. Last week at the Urbana market I had a lovely chat with the WILL staff and learned about their awesome PBS and NPR nerd campaign — and now I am the proud owner of some WILL nerd socks. One of the great things about the farmer’s markets is that they aren’t just about food, but also about community. Where else can you sign a petition, buy some beautiful flowers, and pick up some local produce!
This month at the Urbana market most of the usual programming will be available. On October 7th, there will be a chef demonstration at the market. I’ve seen a few of these throughout the market season, and they usually draw a pretty good crowd. Art at the Market on October 14th will feature a pop up print shop and the musical stylings of The Capoeira Angola Center. On October 21st, Sprouts at the Market will feature a free program for kids age 3-8 to learn about the science of farming. Kids are encouraged to play with their food as they participate in science experiments. This sounds both awesome and like it will make a giant mess, so I’m definitely checking this one out. Read at the Market will be held October 28th and I’m hoping that the magic reading carpet will feature some kid- friendly scary stories to keep my kids entertained.
The Champaign market will also run through the end of October, so be sure to check out the Tuesday afternoon fun downtown. I‘ve noticed that the Champaign market seemed like it has slightly smaller crowds toward the end of summer, but it seems like patron attendance is back up now that fall is in full swing. Dragon Fire pizza seems to be a new favorite, along with Pop Stop, so check out the food trucks and prepared options next time you are at the market. Also, last year there were a bunch of fun Halloween events at this Market, if you are into seasonal fun, the Champaign market is the place to be in October.
Finally, I’d like to say thank you to all the people who make the markets run! This was a great market season — keep up the great work.
Urbana’s Market at the Square Info
The Urbana Market is one of the largest farmers’ markets and has been in continuous operation since 1979. The market runs from May 6th to November 4th each Saturday morning from 7 a.m. to noon, rain or shine.
Forms of payment: All vendors accept cash, and a few may take checks. Some vendors have card readers on their smart phones. Vendors selling LINK-eligible foods will accept LINK tokens, and Urbana’s Market at the Square will match up to $20; more information is available here.
If you run out of cash at the Market, there is an ATM in the 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: No pets allowed. Please respect the market’s rules and leave Fido at home.
The Land Connection Champaign Farmers’ Market
The Champaign Market is Tuesday evenings from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the parking lot at Hill and Neil in Downtown Champaign.
Forms of Payment: Vendors take mostly cash, but some do take cards on their smart phones. If you run out of cash, there are ATMs close by in the Busey building on University, or at the PNC location on Main and Walnut.