Labor Day is now behind us, and despite these warm temperatures, winter is coming. (Game of Thrones? Anybody?) Well, fall will be here first, at least. Pumpkin spice everything is being thrust upon us by the powers that be, and all we can do to fight back is eat produce that is currently in season. (Take that, pumpkins!)
While the days of basil and tomatoes are more or less gone, there are still plenty of opportunities this weekend to stock up on hot and sweet peppers, eggplant, beans, and most herbs. There will probably be some lingering summer squashes and zucchini, and maybe even a few winter squashes. You can also pick up some onions and garlic — they have a longer shelf life than more delicate items like leafy greens and peppers.
However, since it is already September, you may want to think about Halloween. Or maybe you don’t, but if you’re going to need some Halloween costumes, the market might be a good place to start. If you have a child who is into Frozen, you can pick up an adorable Elsa dress. Someone else has done the heavy lifting of measuring and sewing. You might even be able to reuse the dress for some other fancier occasion. For other fall preparations, you can pick up some fall-scented candles and soaps. You’ll also find some home décor thingies to spruce up your living spaces.
If, on the other hand, you’re still holding on to the summer, pick up some freshly cut flowers for your home or office. It’s the best way to remind yourself that plants are still growing, and the outdoors are still beautiful enough to come inside. Blackberries, plums, apricots, and peaches are still available, so make a cobbler this weekend. Don’t forget a container of Prairie Fruits Farm gelato or sorbet for a topping.
This week Ye Olde Donut Shoppe will make its debut at the market. After trying a half-dozen doughnuts at Taste of C-U, I can say that these doughnuts are worth a little bit of a wait. If you’re too hungry to wait in the ever-expanding doughnuts lines, stop by one of the delicious food trucks parked along the far side of the market, near Vine Street.
Forms of payment: All vendors accept cash, and a few may take checks. There is an ATM in the Lincoln Square Mall. LINK tokens are still available.
Parking: Free parking is available in the parking lots surrounding Lincoln Square Mall and in 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.
Information: The market provides a lot of ways to get information. You can follow the market on Facebook and Twitter, or sign up for market mail. Check out the map of the vendors, or search for produce. If you want more information you can email Market Director Natalie Kenny Marquez, or call her at 217-384-2319. Check out Flickr and Instagram for some great photos from the market each week.
Pets: The market doesn’t allow pets, so leave your furry friends at home.
The market runs from 7 a.m. to noon every Saturday through November 1st. All events are scheduled rain or shine.