The markets are at their best this month. Fruits are abundant as well as leafy greens and a plethora of vegetables from local farmers. Plus, there are bakers, restaurants, and food trucks with their own delicious offerings at both markets. If you haven't been to the farmers' market yet, what are you waiting for?

Let me take you through some of what I saw at both the Champaign Farmers' Market and Urbana's Market in the Square.


At the Champaign Farmers' Market, there is a couple walking and looking at the vendors of the market. The man is pushing a black stroller, and the woman in a yellow dress is carrying a baby. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

The Tuesday market in Downtown Champaign, hosted by The Land Connection, was as lively as ever. Families, couples, and individuals walked through the market looking for something to catch their eye.

At the Urbana Market in the Square, patrons browse the market for produce to buy. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

In Urbana, the early risers (who were there right at 7 a.m. for market open) had first pick of all the produce.

At both markets, I noticed more people masking than last month. With rising cases around the country and our community, masking is becoming more common. Masking is required for individuals who are not fully vaccinated.

Two folding tables are set up beside each other, making one long rectangular counter for Meyer Produce to lay out the produce for sale at the Champaign Farmers' Market. Behind the tables, there is a vintage bus that is beige and light yellow. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

You can find Meyer Produce at both markets, and the produce out for sale looks just as good that cute yellow bus.

On a table, there is a large bunch of purple romaine with several other produce varieties in the background. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

You can really veg up your life with leafy greens, potatoes, tomatoes, blackberries, and more from the market. 

Many square, clear plastic containers contain cherry tomatoes of orange and red colors. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

There is no reason to buy tomatoes from the grocer this month. Tomatoes are in season, and they are sold at almost every farmer's table.

In square, blue containers, there are red cherry tomatoes waiting to be sold at the farmers' market. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Perfect for salads, pizza toppings, or just popping into your mouth as a snack, tomatoes taste amazing right now.

In a large gray container with holes for draining, there are large beefsteak tomatoes with green bits at the stem. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

There are so many tomatoes at the market this month. It's time to eat some tomatoes, okay?

In a plastic, purple container, there are several large dark purple eggplants, stem up, waiting to be sold. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

These eggplants were huge, and they look like they would make a hearty meal with some marinara and Parmesan.

On a white folding table, there are two tiered gray shelves holding onions for sale at the farmers' market. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

I love buying my onions and garlic at the markets. The dirt reminds me of where my food came from, and I find the garlic from the market has much more flavor than grocery garlic. If you haven't had locally grown garlic, give it a try this month.

In two giant black plastic containers, a mountain of fresh green beans sits waiting to be sold at the farmers' market. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Look at this huge pile of green beans. Do you like green beans? Go get some.

On a white folding table, there are small plastic square containers of berries waiting to be sold at the farmers' market. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Berries upon berries. I bought a basket of these blueberries for $6, and we ate them with yogurt for breakfast for a few days. They were perfectly ripe and burst a sweet flavor.

In a large gray box, there are yellow apples waiting to be sold at the farmers' market. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Hungry for apples? The markets have lots of locally grown apples right now.

In a rectangular gray container, red apples with a little bit of yellow color are piled up waiting to be sold at the farmers' market. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

How 'bout them apples? 

In a gray container, there are several pears stacked on top of each other waiting to be sold at the farmers' market. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

I'd never seen pears at the market before. I don't know if I wasn't looking, but this beautiful pile of pears caught my attention.

A pile of corn on the cob with the shuck on fill the frame of the photo. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Sweet corn is for sale at the markets by the literal truck-full. 

In an overhead shot, there are several peppers in square containers ready for sale at the farmers' market in the parking lot in Downtown Champaign. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Peppers are plentiful as well. If you are curious about the spice level, ask the farmer. They'll be a good help picking the right pepper for you.

On a white folding table, there are two large gray containers holding bell peppers. On the left, there are white bell peppers, and in the container on the right, there are red bell peppers. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

You can also pick a peck of bell peppers.

On a table, there are several square paper containers of peaches. Behind the table of peaches, there is a sign reading Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Peach season started last month, and it continues in its peachy glory. There are a few places at the market to find peaches. I like peaches in salad — and also in cobbler.

At the Urbana Market in the Square, there is a warming case of hand pies with handwritten names of the flavors of hand pie. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

I love seeing what farmers have grown, and I also love to see what prepared food restaurants have for the market. (Ya girl is hungry.) You can find Stango Cuisine at the Urbana Market in the Square. Stango's restaurant is located in the Lincoln Square Mall, but on Saturdays, the restaurant has a table under a tent at the market selling beef pies, chicken pies, veggie pies, beignets, and freshly squeezed ginger juice. 

On a white plate, there is a beef pie from Stango Cuisine. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

I ate a veggie pie ($5) and a beef pie ($5) for breakfast, and my favorite was the beef pie. If you haven't had one, it's a Zambian hand pie with crumbled ground beef inside a flaky pasty spleckled with salt flakes. The inside had a thin layer of meat with a delicious, flavorful bite. The crimped edge was extra crunchy and so good. The tasty pastry was an amazing way to wake up my mouth on a Saturday morning.

A photo of the case of cronuts sold by Central Illinois Bakehouse featuring the four flavors of cronut for sale that day. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Central Illinois Bakehouse is at both markets, but on Saturdays in Urbana, there are cronuts. What is a cronut? It is a croissant mixed with a donut. The Bakehouse had several flavors available when I visited: churro, Boston cream, raspberry lime, and maple bacon.

A maple bacon cronut sits on white circular plate with a silver border. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

After I fell in love with the maple bacon sticky bun from Central Illnois Bakehouse that I included in my July list, I had to try the maple bacon cronut from the Bakehouse. Stop the press. This was amazing, and dare I say, better than the sticky bun (which I loved so much). The cronut was fresh af, just soft and layers upon layers on the inside. Outside, the cronut was covered in sugar and drowned in a layer of the super sweet maple frosting, topped with bacon crumbles. My god, this salty-sweet flavor was just incredible. The cronut layers were buttery and melted in my mouth with the maple frosting, and the bacon sprinkles gave salty bombs of flavor and texture. Don't get just one. Get at least two because you will want another.

There are so many tasty snacks, fresh produce, and more at the markets this month. It's a good month to take a trip and see what you can find.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Urbana’s Market at the Square Info

The Urbana Market has been in continuous operation since 1979. The market runs from May 1st to October 30th, each Saturday morning from 7 a.m. to noon, rain or shine. It’s located at the corner of Illinois and Vine in Urbana.

Forms of payment: Credit, debit, or SNAP is preferred. Cash is accepted, but vendors may not provide change to reduce the spread of the virus.

SNAP/LINK: Vendors selling LINK-eligible foods accept LINK tokens. Please visit Urbana’s Market at the Square website for specifics, or the information tent on site.

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 your doggo at home.

Social Media: You can follow the Market on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Sign up for weekly Market emails here.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

The Land Connection Champaign Farmers’ Market

The Land Connection's Champaign Farmers' Market is on their seventh year. The Champaign Market is open on Tuesdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. starting on May 18th. The Champaign Farmers' Market will take place in parking lot M in Downtown Champaign at Neil and Washington.

Forms of Payment: Pre-ordering, credit cards, debit cards, or SNAP/EBT cards are preferred. Cash will be accepted, but vendors will be instructed not to provide change.

SNAP/LINK: All eligible vendors accept SNAP benefits through the LINK token program. Please visit The Land Connection website for specifics.

Parking: Metered parking is available in parking lot M or in the Hill Street Parking Deck.

Pets: Leashed dogs are welcome.

Social Media: Follow The Land Connection on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or check the website for more information.

Top image by Alyssa Buckley.