More market madness continues in Urbana this weekend with the opening of the Middle Market. The Middle Market is the newest market to be added to the market roster in town, but it seems to be getting bigger and better each year. Three years ago, the Middle Market was added to address the time between the end of the Holiday Market and the beginning of Market at the Square. We are pretty lucky in the C-U area to have what amounts to year-round local, producer-only markets. In the past, the Middle Market was a monthly market, but the market organizers added some additional dates this year. The Middle Market dates for this year are January 17th, February 7th, February 21th, March 21th, April 4th, and April 18th. The market is indoors at Lincoln Square Mall and runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Because the market is indoors, it can be nice place to warm up on a Saturday market while browsing local vendors.
Generally, the Middle Market is also the smallest of the markets in terms of vendors and turn out. My experience has been that you can usually find market staples like Triple S Farms, Campbell Apiaries, Pekara Bakery, and Cousin’s Dog Biscuits Co., but it has a smaller amount of vendors than the other markets. However, the amount of vendors has been growing in past years. It seems likely that Sleepy Creek Winery will be a new vendor for this market, and some of the popular food trucks are often parked outside Lincoln Square if you are hankering for some food truck grub. So, if you plan to attend Middle Market expect a smaller variety, but still some opportunities to buy local produce and goods. One of the things about the middle market is there is usually a variety of craft, soap and art vendors. If you are interested in finding unique things to wear, gift, or for decorating, this can be a great market to check out. To see a list of vendors for opening weekend, check here. Additionally, if you are local artisan or producer, the Middle Market is still accepting applications for vendors. You can find the application here.
One of the things that I like about this market is the that is quick to breeze through on my way to other things in Lincoln Square Mall, and I can still pick up the things I like including: free range meats, baked goods, honey, some produce (especially as the season goes on) and dog treats (my dog really loves the peanut butter treats from Cousins Dog Biscuit Co, so I’m glad we can get those year round!). Generally at the beginning of the market there isn’t too much produce because of the cold temps, but there are local flower arrangements and occasionally some greenhouse produce so it’s possible you might find some really nice squashes or other winter produce.
This week, Meyer produce is scheduled to attend the market so there will be some produce if you are interested in it checking out. Because this market is a little smaller is isn’t as overwhelming as Market at the Square and it’s a bit easier to dash in and grab something quickly. I have a tendency to swing by Common Ground Co-op as well on my way out to round out my market selections, so if you are a regular Common Ground customer its easy to check out the market on your Saturday morning shop, and if you aren’t you might give it a try if you are interested. The other thing I really, really enjoy about the Middle Market is that you can swing into Art Mart really easily to grab a good cup of coffee and enjoy the warmth of Lincoln Square Mall while you browse. Winter in central Illinois tends to keep people cooped up to avoid the cold, so it’s nice to have some indoor options to get out a little. If you can manage to get out of your nice, warm bed and get out the door on a Saturday morning, head on over to Lincoln Square mall for some market fun.
Cost: This event, like all the Urbana markets, is free and open to the public.
Payment: Most vendors accept cash. A few may take personal check or credit cards, but that is less likely. There is an ATM in Lincoln Square mall in case you run short of cash.
Parking: Parking is available for free in all the lots surrounding Lincoln Square Mall.
For more information about the Middle Market, check out the Urbana Business Association website.
C-U at the Market!
All photos from Facebook.