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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It is Tuesday everyone!

You know what that means, right? The last day to order for Thursday’s market. You have until 8 PM tonight when we shut it down. Step right up and don’t be shy! Enjoy the sun!

What a beaut!

Wow is it grand outside or what? Beau-ti-ful! I’m writing to remind you the market is open and awaiting to be used. Please check it out and seek something new or different for your table.

I have been a total slacker in reminding those that plant their own garden that the calendar is upon us for a couple of plantings. I always take my father’s advice, who took his father’s advice, and planted his peas on St. Patrick’s Day and his potatoes on Good Friday. Time seems to have flown by this spring and I have yet to get a thing in the ground. I will have to play catch-up for certain, at least to make my father’s schedule which is a good one to follow and one that I hear many others do as well. They grew their food because there were no groceries close by or money to spare. It sustained their families (and those they shared it with too) unlike these days when I can really call it a hobby instead, although we still do a lot of sharing!

Speaking of sharing, don’t forget to consider planting an extra row for donation to a shelter or pantry for those in need. A few years back we helped to promote “Plant a Row for the Hungry” which started as a project of the American Garden Writers I believe back in 1999. The purpose is just to remind folks that planting a bit extra can go a long way and what better food to share than healthy, fresh, homegrown goodness from your garden! Anyway, please consider others when you start digging in the dirt this year and in the future. Our suggested donation site is the Caring Kitchen in Urbana but any pantry will be glad to see you coming, especially with nutritious offerings which are so needed.

It is a good time to get your cool weather crops in the ground which are cold tolerant, even to frosts. I picked up a flat of brussel sprouts last night, some kale and cabbage too. I am not sure when I’ll have a block of time to get them in but hopefully in the next few days. You’ll want to hold off on anything like your tomatoes or peppers until after our last frost date (used to be May 17th I think but I’ll confirm that for us) those will be good to put out too. Even if it is just planting in a container, try something new. True growth happens by stepping out of our comfort zones and “expanding horizons”! Now if I can just get rid of the new rabbits I keep seeing….

As my technical helper advised (my ten year old daughter did this for me), be sure to add our market to your home screen so you can go right to us anytime. Go to the website toolbar, find the square with the arrow coming out of it and click it. Select the option “add to home screen” and name it something of your choosing. The icon should pop up with your other icons for easy shopping.

Have a great week and we are so glad you are with us!


Good eve!

Good evening shoppers! All went swimmingly at the market tonight thanks to the Charlene and our newest helper Michelle Comer of Homecomer Traditions. You know Michelle lovingly as “The Pretzel Lady” around this neck of the woods. She does more than that but my personal addiction is indeed her pretzels! Thanks Michelle and Charlene for the awesome job!

Thank you to all the vendors and customers who are perfecting our new changes that help the process flow better. We are really trying to get things to work with fewer hands as all our vendors are busy growing their businesses in many avenues. Thanks again to Pam and Mark for staying with us as long as they did! We will miss you both for certain!

Some updates on things…don’t forget it is flea market weekend and many of our vendors will be selling there too. As I stopped by Katie Hoover’s home tonight at nearly 9 PM, she was still in the kitchen baking brownies and goodies with plans for a few more batches until bedtime. She should be in her same spot in the corner of the horticulture building I believe. Swisher Hill Herbs (Charlene and Joe as we know them) will be out there (4-H building last I knew near the restrooms) and I know they were prepping tonight too. Also look for Jared with his honey (I think he is still in the merchant building). ( I apologize if I left someone out, or gave you the wrong building, but that was the last I knew so be sure to message me if I did and I would be glad to help spread the news!)

We have some exciting news too that Swisher Hill Herbs are now offering live plants for the 2013 planting season.  In addition to their selection of herbs and veggies they have added scented geraniums and for the cat lovers “cat grass”. Sounds awesome!

For those curious about the maple harvest, both Connolly’s and Valley View report great syrup seasons and are both done boiling. While I only got to visit with Marc briefly tonight, Shirley Connolly said they had a record year and had run out of storage space for syrup! Luckily they were able to help out and share with a producer in Wisconsin who needed some due to their weather! I’ll be looking forward to some creative recipes in addition to my pancakes! Yummo!

I had feedback from our friend who was collecting the survey of shopping habits of local food and she was glad to report that we had a huge turnout from Champaign County! Great job everyone!

Thanks again to Shannon and Beth with the Y for being so assertive in making a positive impact on the market. Paying directly to them frees up the money box job for us and while you might have had a bit of a trip around the lobby, it really makes things easier for us and our volunteers.

Have a wonderful weekend and thanks for everything tonight!

Thank you!

Thanks for a super market this week! We so appreciate you!


Please hurry if you are planning to get an order in this week! Four hours to go as the market closes tonight at 8! Also, exciting news to share that if you do order this week, you will be paying at the front desk area! Please remember to BYOB…bring your own market bag to help green our market!

Find us!

Thank you!

Sorry to bother but...

Did you know there were fantastic recipes on our market website? They are even sorted by what is in season! Head on over to to see the great maple syrup recipes currently in the peak of freshness! You will be amazed at what you can make at home! Vendors are always encouraged to add more recipes so stop back often throughout the growing season!

BYOB Thursday!

I bet you thought that was going to be “bring your own bunny” but really it is your market bag! We’re streamlining your shopping experience and are heading to zero-waste! Please help us reach that goal by bringing your own bag to market pickup! I know we have provided ones in the past, but we are growing up and need to discontinue the waste they were causing. Thank you also for checking your order at pickup! All of this is an effort to reduce the work by market volunteers and optimize the process! We appreciate your help on this and will see you Thursday! ! !

Are you ok?

Hello market shoppers! I have yet to hear from many of our regulars and hoping you are all ok! I know you might have too many leftovers in the refrigerator but please remember we are here to serve you and time is running out to shop this week. The market closes tomorrow evening at 8 pm. We miss you and hope you didn’t get packed away with the Easter decorations or left town with Mr. Bun E. Rabbit! Come on over at and see us!

Good eve!

To everyone celebrating Easter today, I hope it was a wonderful day for you and yours! Just a note that the market is open and ready to help you restock your kitchen!
Find us at!

Back again!

Hello friends and thank you for a great market tonight! The market is open again to serve you! Enjoy your evening and just be sure to tell your friends about us. Order by Tuesday evening and know we appreciate you!