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 gochampaign.com. 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!
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!
Red carpet reminder
And the award goes to the Champaign Locally Grown Market! …Kidding but we wanted to send a reminder that the market continues to allow orders until Tuesday night. Use commercial breaks during the Oscars or wait til tomorrow if you have to but get your orders in soon!
It's the Ice Capades
Well not really but surely be careful out there!
Had to share a small success story that happened overnight. One of our great new customers Bob Munch replied by email that he was looking for a particular type of radish called a watermelon radish last night after the market opened. While I haven’t heard of it, I sent an email to our vendors to let them know. I awoke this morning to find that Lonny has already ordered seed and will work his magic to deliver said radish to the market. Does it get any faster than that folks? Thanks to both Lonny and Bob for working together towards success!
Please give us suggestions on what you want to see at our market as we would be glad to try! Stay safe out there and thank you for shopping with us!
Couple of Announcements…
Tonight we all sampled JC Grower’s Roasted Garlic Jelly and it is amazing. It was a true treat and is now available on the market site. It is two-thumbs up for sure! Also, Carla was invited to
speak to the Goshen Garden Club tonight so she has made it to the big time! Great job garlic friend!
While I’m not endorsing one school fund raiser over another, I thought I would share the news of the following. Please consider supporting their fund raiser which by the way also gets two-thumbs up as a healthy choice of fundraisers!
“The Mechanicsburg FFA is selling strawberries! All the proceeds go to the Relay for Life campaign. Half flat is $10 and Full flat is $20. Sale will run through March 1 and be delivered the week of March 18. Contact the FFA if you would like some strawberries.”(call the school for more details!)
While not baking loaves of Cosmic Charlie Breads, our very own Pam Bowshier is knee-deep in Oscar prep for the big event on Saturday evening in downtown Urbana. I hear there’s even a red carpet! I know she would love your support. Check with Pam or the Boston for more details!
Also the rumor mill is churning that Swisher Hill’s sheriff and boss lady are brewing up some new concoctions. I can’t share the details but let’s just say they are spicy!
All for tonight but we cannot thank our customers enough! Without you we wouldn’t be here! And you know, we have the best vendors too! Thank you, thank you, thank you! You guys work all day and have to work some more on market days so we really appreciate you! Thanks guys!
What a wonderful market tonight! Many thanks to our regulars and our four new customers tonight! You guys rock! Thank you to our amazing helpers Charlene and Pam, along with our fill-ins tonight Emmi and the Perry Family aka Oakview Farms! Let’s all hope Mark has safe travels home from that state up north with the impending weather!
It was a super busy night at the Y with the chamber event and we can’t thank you enough for all the samples from our dedicated vendors who found out at the last minute we were having company! Thanks a bunch guys! I’m opening the market early again this week so shop away and we’ll close back up Tuesday.
Please be safe if we get what they are calling for! May you each have a snow day and spend some time planning your spring garden or going thru a new seed catalog and dream! Thanks everyone!
Ohio is feeling more like Canada these days, eh? I say put on another sweater and an extra cat and stay home for the night! Anyway, just wanted you to know you have about 100 minutes left to order for the week, but whose counting? Get your wish list fulfilled and we’ll see you Thursday!
This just in!
Wow! Do I have some scoop for you! For a limited time only, X-Cel Feeds has just reduced their price on all Organic Feeds $2 each! What a great way to treat your animals to an organic option! The discount is already updated in their pricing so shop on! So cool! I know your chickens would be clucking at the news! (If you don’t have any, I’ll record mine and share;)). Thanks X-Cel!
Tell a friend, tell a neighbor!
As I attended an inspirational event yesterday which discussed the increasing demands on the world’s food supply, I was reminded that we are on the right track with this whole local food discussion. The best option is to grow your own of course, which many of you do. Secondly, and this is the part where we come in, you can purchase your food locally from trusted growers. We strive and will continue to strive to assist you with both of these options. By hosting events like farm tours and other educational opportunities, we will help you to learn more about producing your own if interested and growing a stronger relationship with those that can provide items for you.
Did you know that Champaign County used to grow almost everything: tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries…you name it! Harold Watters, a former local staffer with OSU Extension, said we would be amazed at how well many of those items did here. We know our soils will support these items but we have many other reasons they just aren’t grown here anymore. I would like to change this and encourage the growth again of these items. We’ll talk more about how I think we can learn to do this again later.
To do this though, we need to continue to support both financially and emotionally the growers/producers that we do have who already stick their necks out year after year, through drought and hail, changing climates, increasing input expenses, and more. Supporting a farmer means money paid stays here at home in our local economy. It doesn’t get shipped overseas. It circulates here and allows them to reinvest in us: maybe expanding into another vegetable or fruit, buying newer equipment that improves efficiency of harvesting an item, or just allowing them to repair something that was broken. Every dollar counts. With each dollar you share with them, they are helping us. I know it was overused for many years but as a science geek myself, synergistic relationships benefit both parties. That is what I think of when thinking about the relationship between the farmer and the consumer. Both are better with the other around!
So I’ll get off my soapbox and just ask you to share our website with a friend or neighbor. Tell someone why you feel supporting your local food system is important. Recommend a particular vendor and share your favorite items. As the bumper sticker says, “No Farms, No Food”. That is the truth. My guess is you ate something today, and I’ll bet you’ll do it tomorrow too, so please consider shopping local when at all possible. It matters.
Just a reminder the market is open and ready for you! Come support your many wonderful vendors just waiting to serve you!