The Weblog

The local foods movement is alive and well in Champaign County! Here are some updates on other projects while we finalize our virtual market:

Local Producers Map:
Our local producers map is ready for publication and you will soon be able to find it on Copies will be distributed around the community, in the local telephone book, and other “hangouts”. The guide lists the location and contact information for nearly 50 local producers within our county. The map was a project of the Local Food Council and printed with the help of some local sponsors including the Monument Square District, Champaign Bank, the Community Improvement Corporation, the Chamber of Commerce, the Farm Bureau and others. It is a great start to finding a local source for Champaign County’s finest!

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Get your flapjacks ready!

The Stadler’s of Valley View Woodlands announce the arrival of the first syrup of the season! A small batch has been gathered, evaporated, bottled and is ready to leave the shack! Awesome job Mother Nature! Thank you for the start of what we hope is a hearty season of syrup blessings! Great job guys!

The Harlem Shake

Good day friends! I have nothing new to report other than the volunteers of the market have no plans to perform the Harlem Shake for you contrary to popular gossip. We could practice up on our foxtrot or salsa but no shake shall be forthcoming! I do have a special update for you to be revealed later if I get a few free minutes! I think you will enjoy the new offering but we’ll see! Don’t forget the market is open for business!


Don’t forget the market is now open on Thursdsy evening! Shop away folks!

A friendly reminder!

Please remember to pick your order up tonight from 4:30-6:30 at the Y so our wonderful volunteers do not have to track you down! We have to jump through a lot if hoops to do that and at our age, it just isn’t pretty. First, the warm-up suit doesn’t fit and sometimes the hoops even get stuck around my middle…geesh, just please pick up your orders!

Precious Time with Katie

I can honestly say I really haven’t spent much time in a greenhouse. However that changed Friday during the thaw of the ice event when I spent a few afternoon hours with Katie Hoover. I could not believe how nice and summery it was in there. I realize obviously it would be warmer but I had no idea how it would make me feel to be in there. It was a very happy place, full of bright potential and… color. The contrast was the ice just outside the plastic walls which kept folks hunkered down inside their homes and our children home from school for a few extra hours of most-likely brain-stunting video usage. Blah!

We played in the dirt and talked about life amongst the blooms and it felt like a different time of the year. It was sort of puzzling to me as the plants which produced like in late spring did not know it was only February. I felt like they were being tricked somehow.

While Katie worked up flats and slowly shook the tiniest of seeds into their new soil home, I cut shoots from their mother plant to begin life anew on their own. It seemed so harsh but Katie promised me they would be fine. Pruning always seems to be hard for me to do even though I know it is how new life begins. I can’t stand to do it to my fruit trees, and give that job to the husband, but feel like this is the year I have to get tough and “just do it”. I’ll keep you all posted on that later.

Let’s just say I wish for everyone to find a greenhouse, especially on the bleakest winter day, and peek in for an out-of-body experience. You see nature’s beauty when you’ve forgotten how pretty things can be. You smell the work of nature in the air and on your blackened hands. You feel the warmth of the sun, whether real or slightly man-made. Take a few minutes to experience a greenhouse this late winter day.

If you need a suggestion, I can highly recommend Franklin Park Conservatory to help aid the winter blahs. Especially now as they have their orchids and a fantastic exhibit featuring art made of waste materials found in public waterways, beaches and streams. It’s amazing how beautiful the female artist makes it look even as she is highlighting the destructive force of littering and plastic on our world. It’s a beautiful use of plastic, if I might put those two words in one sentence.

Have a wonderful day and keep watching for signs of spring, either man-made or real!

Everyone jump for joy!

If you needed something to be excited about this rainy Wednesday, I’ve got it! The market closed last night with one of our biggest weeks yet! We added new vendors who I’ll brag about later today and awesome new customers too! We couldn’t be happier that the market continues to grow and support our wonderful communities! Even better, the customers gain more options to eat healthier while the growers continue to be financially rewarded for their hard work! Thanks to everyone for working together on such a great common goal!

Tick, tock!

Just a quick FYI that the market closes tonight at 8 pm! Please get your orders in soon! We will miss seeing you Thursday if you don’t! That would make all of our volunteers very sad and you don’t want to be responsible for that, would you? Is my sad attempt at humor working? Probably not, but we do enjoy seeing every one of you!

One more...for our neighbors to the south...

I also should pass along the Master Gardeners of Clark County are planning their 5th Annual Garden Fling on April 6, at Kenton Ridge High School, 4444 Middle Urbana Rd. Doors and vendors open at 8:30 am with programs beginning at 9. It is a full day of gardening programming with topics like invasive plants, tree planting, backyard greenhouses, seed to plant, container planting and back-by-demand, ask the experts! For more info, visit or call 937-521-3860. Sounds like a great time!

Announcements, announcements!

It’s time to highlight some of the great resources available in our county and the hard work of the group known as the Master Gardeners. We all know Charlene Stapleton needs to be thanked personally for the heavy lifting she does but what better way than to support their programming! Check out the following classes and continue the joy of life-long learning!

Come Wednesday, March 13, from 6-7:45 PM for “Vegetable Gardening the Organic Way” taught by Jan Dawson and Andy Reinhart who have gardened organically for 25 years. They use hoop-houses and raised beds to work their magic. They are awesome folks and a world of knowledge! You will not want to miss this I promise!

Are you free on Wednesday, March 27 from 6-7:45 PM for learning about Earth Box Container Gardening? Come learn from the experts and get handouts on how to DIY! Plus free seeds will be given away!

Make plans on Wednesday, April 10 from 6-7:45 for “Let’s Talk Water: Rain Gardens and Rain Barrels”. Come for ideas on how to better utilize rain water and conserve this wonderful resource!

Join Charlene Saturday, April 27 from 10-11:30 am for Make-it-take-it class and herb sale! Herb gardens in a container! Bring gloves and a small trowel and they will furnish the plants, soil, container and handouts! Class fee is $25 for this one and class is limited to 25. Register at 937-653-3811 and all proceeds go to projects like the butterfly program for the county elementary schools, Market Street Community Garden and distribution of materials. Herb plants will also be got sale at this session.

All programs are taught at the Champaign County Library and are an awesome way to fill your brain! I know I have left off some of the details that can be found in yesterday’s Urbana Daily Citizen. If you need more details, feel free to email me or contact Charlene Stapleton directly as my hunch is she is teaching all these sessions. I could be wrong but she is at home working on her cape as we speak. She is Superwoman, you know? I’m not sure I am supposed to share her identity but the cat has been out of the bag for years! Thanks for all you do for us Charlene! You make our community a better place because of your elbow grease!

The sun is out!

The sun is out…must be a great day to go shopping at your favorite online market website! Remember to get your orders in before tomorrow night!