Did you attend last month’s markets? It seems like traffic picked up expontially at the end of May. Sometimes people say that May is not that exciting at the markets because the produce is not as abundant. If you agree with that sentiment, June is a great month at the markets because the produce starts to roll in and there tend to be more vendors each week. This month there will potentially be strawberries, peaches, apples, tomatoes, asparagus, and rhubarb, along with locally grown meat, eggs, cheese, and prepared foods. Don’t forget to check out the local coffee, wine, and beer as well.
At The Land Connection's Downtown Champaign Market, the season has really taken off. There has been great music and I’ve seen a lot of families at this market from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays. It’s a great place to get a slice of pizza and wander through enjoying the nice summer evenings in town, which can also be followed by a visit to one of downtown’s many fine establishments. This market has really grown and has found it’s footing in the last couple of years. I really like that their programming seems to be really inclusive and fun! The market Seedling program is a big part of that, and the Sampling Tent is always a great spot for trying new and different items. This is a producer-only market, so the produce and meat are from within a 150-mile radius, so you really can eat local. There are other items for sale, like prepared foods and some baked goods, although the Champaign market seems to have fewer crafts than the Urbana market. One of the great things that make this market so unique is that it is still growing so there are changes occasionally, but the vendors and the market staff can be responsive to community needs. If you haven’t checked out the Tuesday Market downtown, give it is a shot.
Urbana's Market at the Square market is definitely one that you want to arrive earlier for, if you want to beat the crowds. By about 9:30 a.m., the aisles are pretty crowded, though that does make it perfect for people watching. As the weather starts to get warmer it will also get hotter, so if you are a later market-goer, you might want to bring a cooler or insulated bag to keep your items until you make it home. We had a great time getting back into our Saturday market groove with a visit to the Central Illinois Bakehouse stand and the food trucks at the first (and subsequent) market(s). One of our new favorite things is to head directly to the last aisle to visit the UIUC Infant Cognition Lab tent for all the fun crafts and balloon animals. Such a fun experience! The last row of tents is always the community section at the Urbana market — don’t skip it because you never know what you might find! The Sprouts programming from May was great as well; if you have kids be sure to attend the Market on June 16th for another Sprouts events (free for kids). June 9th will feature an Art at the Market make and take craft, as well as music, and June 23rd will have some great library fun with Read at the Market. This coming week the Urbana market will feature a chef demonstration by Adam Wisnewski from Breakfast, Life and Dinner. This demonstration will begin at 8:30 a.m. and recurs every 45 minutes until 10:45 a.m.
Hope to C-U at the market!
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 or Main and Neil Street 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.
Photos by Jessica Hammie