It’s that time of year again, July! The market is bursting with produce as mid-summer arrives in Central Illinois. Right around Independance Day watermelons, peaches, and carrots finally come in season and the variety at the market takes off. If you are ever curious about what produce you can expect at the markets on a given weekend, you can always check out the seasonal produce chart from the Urbana market. It’s a great tool to see what you might be able to expect at the market, although produce supply is always weather dependant. This month the markets are jam packed with events, produce, and fun; both markets have a lot to offer so stay tuned!
The Urbana market runs this Saturday as usual and will feature a chef demonstration with Emily Dupuis from Harvest Market. This weekend will also feature a bike ride that will depart from the market at 9 a.m. This is a “Life is a Cycle” event sponsored by the City of Urbana. If you are interested, you can find more information at their website. There is a small registration fee if you are interested in the ride.
On July 8th, The Society for Creative Anachronism will provide a free medieval art opportunity for all market patrons with Art at the Market. There will also be a free music performance by The Young and the Fretless, which sounds delightful. The 15th brings back Sprouts at the Market, which will feature a decorate your own tote bag craft and $2 voucher for kids to make their own purchase from the market. Sprouts programming is free for kids aged 3 to 8 and starts at 9:30 a.m. on the third Saturday of the month. Read at the Market rounds out a very busy month at the market on July 22nd with balloons and the magic reading rug. In addition to these scheduled events, there is a rotating cast of buskers and performers each week so there is always some live music happening. One of my kids favorite activities is the balloon animal stand, but so far this year we haven’t managed to catch that one.
Champaign's Tuesday market also has many events planned this month. There will not be a market on July 4th in observance of Independence Day, but the market will return on the 11th. The 11th is also triple link Tuesday, which is provided by a grant for LINK card users. This great program helps to up the amount that LINK users can spend at the market. The last Tuesday of the month is always the Market Seedlings programming, which has been really fun so far this season. The berry superheroes from last week were very entertaining, so I’ll be looking forward to the next Market Seedlings on July 25th. The Champaign market also has many chef demonstrations and they have been attracting more performers, so there is always something fun happening. They are also still looking for performers so if you want to take your synthpop keyboard act on the road, sign up! In terms of vendors, The Pop Stop has become one of the more popular vendors as the weather has gotten warmer — be sure to check them out for some fun flavors. The Champaign market is also still looking for volunteers, you can e-mail them if you want to learn more about volunteer opportunities.
Urbana’s Market at the Square
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.
Parking: Parking is available in parking lot M off of Neil Street, or in the Hill Street Parking Deck.
Pets: Dogs are welcome at this market, but must be leashed.