October is here, and this is the last month of our farmers' markets. Whether you've been visiting the markets all season long or you've yet to make it out (what are you waiting for?), you need to visit a farmers' market this month.

The Urbana Market in the Square is open every Saturday morning, rain or shine, from 7 a.m. to noon outside of the Lincoln Square Mall, and The Land Connection's Champaign Market offers Tuesday afternoon shopping from 3 to 6 p.m. in parking lot at the corner of Neil and Washington in Downtown Champaign.

What's there to buy at the markets this month? Winter gourds, pumpkins, apples, pears, peppers, winter radishes, tomatoes, bottled sauce, meat, cheese, and more. 


On a cloudy day, there are vendors under tents at the Urbana Market at the Square. The concrete has a weathered white arrow pointing away from the camera. Shoppers with bags face away. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

I walked through the markets this past week to see what was available.

An overhead photo shows a burlap lined basket with butternut squash, pumpkings, and colorful acorn squash. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

If you're looking for winter squash or pumpkins, the markets are overflowing this month.

A black basket is overflowing with small pumpkins of orange, white, and green colors. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.
In a black plastic basket, there are many pumpkins beside dark green acorn squash. There is a handwritten sign with the price above. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.
On the parking lot ground, there are large orange pumpkins beside a wire basket with smaller green pumpkins at the Champaign farmers' market. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

In plastic containers, red apples are on the left side and yellow apples dotted with marks are seen from above. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

You'll find local apples at both markets this month.

On the dark gray parking lot ground, wooden baskets are full of appples: red, yellow, and light red. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

If you're not really in the October spirit searching for pumpkins and apples, you do you. There's a lot of great seasonal produce that isn't one of these two fall favorites.

On a farm stand lined with burlap, there are winter radishes in both white and purple color with long, skinny roots with a bit of dirt. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.
On a two tiered table, there are square baskets of produce: sweet peppers, cherry tomatoes, and strawberries. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.
From overhead, there are two burlap lined baskets of potatoes. On the left, russet potatoes, and on the right, red potatoes. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.
A side view of the Sola Gratia farm stand at the Champaign farmers' market shows bell peppers, peppers, and potatoes. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.
In a gray basket, there are many light green streaked tomatoes. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.
On a black tablecloth, there is a small basket of fruit on the vine and two baskets of paw paws. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

I stopped by Berries & Flour table. In addition to fresh Concord grapes and paw paws, there were a variety of pantry goods made from foraged items. There were different jarred jellies and jars of flavored shrubs which are old-fashioned vinegar-based syrup from America's colonial era. The shrubs are infused with local fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices. There were rim packets for adorning cocktail (or mocktail) glasses with flavored sugars on the glass rim. She also sells wild cocktail kits with everything you need except sparkling water and spirits.

On white parchment paper, there is a tall, unfrosted cake with a crumble topping. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

I also picked up her one of the miniature cakes for $6. The flavor of the week was paw paw lime which sounded interesting. It had a banana bread texture: dense and crumbly. The lime topping was fantastic, and it reminded me of the sugary topping on my mom's blueberry muffins. The lime flavor was vibrant, and it was obviously a lime cake. Since it was unfrosted, to me, this would be best as a breakfast cake since it was lightly sweet much like a muffin. I will try any flavor that she bakes up because I have yet to have a Berries & Flour dessert that I didn't enjoy.

In the parking lot at the Champaign farmers' market, there is a red tent with local hot sauce makers Weird Meat Boyz. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

At both markets, you can find Weird Meat Boyz selling craft hot sauce, salsa, and Bloody Mary mix. The duo recently won the Judge's Choice Award at The Land Connection's Artisan Cup & Fork event last month.

On a butcher block counter, there are two jars: a small jar with red sauce and a large round jar with salsa. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

The local hot sauce company released new items this week, and I wanted to try two of them. I bought the new hot sauce ($12) and the new salsa ($14). The flavor of this new hot sauce is made with gochujang king peppers, Korean melon, and rice vinegar. This one was so different than the other sauces they offer, and I loved the zing from the peppers and the sweetness of the melon. Both the peppers and the melon in this sauce were sourced from Humbleweed Farm, a woman-owned market garden in Champaign

The large jar had WMBz's fire-roasted salsa which was made with tomatoes, onion, garlic, pasilla and ancho chiles, cilantro, lime, and mezcal. This salsa was pretty good: smoky with a great lime flavor. To be honest, I think it could use a little more salt, but the chiles and tomatoes speak for themselves in this thick salsa. It's not as spicy as the other WMBz sauces which makes this a great option for anyone who eats salsa. It's great on tacos, burritos, chips, or even scrambled eggs. I like that the Weird Meat Boyz keep making different flavors and different products.

On top of three parking spaces at the Urbana farmers' market, there are blue tents with blue checkerboard tablecloths covered with baked goods and bread. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

There is always a long line for Central Illinois Bakehouse's blue tent anytime I see it, no matter which market I'm visiting. But when I was there on Saturday morning, there was no line for Central Illinois Bakehouse — and so, of course, I had to stop by and pick up some bread and maple bacon cronuts. 

Rows of packaged bagels fill the image. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Bagels, sliced bread, baguettes, pretzels, and more line the tables.

Inside a clear plastic case, there are Halloween themed cookies ghosts, spiderwebs, and scary faces. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

There are seasonal cookies, scones, and rotating flavors of cronuts. My favorite is the maple bacon cronut, and it is a great Saturday morning treat — but these spooky cookies are, too.

In front of the Sola Gratia farm stand at the Champaign market, there are two shoppers picking out produce. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

When I picked up some pumpkins from Sola Gratia Farm on Tuesday, I saw a sign that said they were beginning sign ups for their 2022 CSA. If you're interested in a season-long share of produce for next year, talk to Sola Gratia Farm or check out our CSA guide from earlier this year.

In the parking lot at the Urbana market, there are many whit tents on the sides with a large walking space in between. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.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.

On a sunny Tuesday afternoon, shoppers are shopping the vendors at the Champaign Farmers' Market. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.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.