Butternut squash, how do I love thee? Let me list the ways: sliced, steamed, and seasoned in soup or salad or stromboli. Butternut sqaush is so great, and versatile, and delicious. Be sure to save some for me at the Urbana Market at the Square this coming Saturday.
If you don’t want butternut squash for every meal because you hate healthy scrumptiousness, there will also be pumpkins and apples available, which you can turn into pumpkin pie or apple crisp, thereby negating any healthful properties they may have once had. Autumnul produce is apparently in season.
Corn is gone ’till next year, but there will be pasta and other bulk items available, as well as the only thing that gets my partner out of bed on Saturday mornings: kettle corn. They make convenient little cones filled with kettle corn that are only $1, which might even keep your boyfriend quiet long enough for you to browse the chic craft tents for five minutes.
Alongside the food vendors (and there are so much great snacks to warm your belly on these fall days), there will be suppliers on hand to take your orders for bacon and other meat-themed products. Local artists will be showcasing their crafts, so you can start stocking up on housewarming gifts for your Thanksgiving dinner hosts (decided in my family by a rousing game of “not it!”) or holiday gifts like handmade earrings, decorated dog biscuits, and fun, funky magnets.
Photo by Urbana Market at the Square staff
The fifth row, closest to Vine Street, is home to the tents for non-profits and other community organizations, plus lots of signs reminding you to vote on November 6. If you can, do it.
If you believe weather.com (I trust them because they have the most memorable URL of the weather sites), Saturday should bring a high of 58 and a low of 42, with a tiny chance of rain and light winds, so bring your gloves, scarves, and other fall fashion accoutrements.
Last week had some jammin’ tunes, so be sure to look for musical performances around the Market. (There don’t seem to be any featured musicians scheduled on the Market blog this week, but you never know what great instruments you’ll finally get to see in Real Life / not on YouTube.)
MONEY MONEY MONEY: You can always pay vendors in cold hard cash, but you can buy tokens from the City tent using your credit, debit, or LINK card. The tent is at the northwest entrance to the Market, near Health Alliance in the Lincoln Square Mall. The City tent sells Market merch, including t-shirts and tote bags, and they have Illinois seasonality charts if you need some help deciding on what produce to buy, even though I already told you about the butternut squash, so I don’t know why you are still reading this when you should be getting your reusable shopping bags and fixy bike ready to load up on some butternut squash.
HONEY HONEY HONEY: There will be honey, jams and jellies on sale, too, all of which make great holiday gits, especially if your mom has a standing policy to only accept gifts that are edible, flammable, or recyclable (two out of three’s not bad).
MISSION #1: Score some toffee samples at the castle-shaped tent, unless you are allergic to nuts, in which case, more for me. Fun fact: even if you’re allergic to nuts, you’re probably not allergic to butternut squash.
MISSION #2: Buy a butternut squash, draw a design on it with a marker. Don’t worry, you have to peel it before you eat it anyhow, so you won’t be getting big ol’ mouthfuls of Sharpie. Then take a photo and send it to Smile Politely. C’mon, guys. No one submitted any pictures last week. It’s like you’re not even reading my very clearly labelled instructions.
PARKING: Free public parking is available in the Lincoln Square Mall lot and the lot south of Illinois Street. There’s ample bike parking west of the Market (see the yellow corn bike rack? it is so cute, but I am waiting for an orange butternut squash bike rack) and near the entrances to Lincoln Square Mall.
IF YOU HAVE MORE QUESTIONS: Check out the Market’s homepage; follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and/or Pinterest; check out their photos on flickr; email Interim Market Director Natalie Kenny-Marquez; or call (217) 384-2319.
IN CLOSING: Last week it rained a little, but the Urbana Market at the Square starts at 7 a.m. on Saturday and runs until noon in the parking lot of Lincoln Square Mall at the intersection of Illinois and Vine Streets rain or shine.
Get out there for some fresh fall produce and enjoy the crisp weather for the second to last outdoor Market of the 2012 season!