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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Take A Walk On The Wild Side

She said, hey babe, take a walk on the wild side,
Said, hey honey, take a walk on the wild side…
(Lou Reed-Take A Walk On The Wild Side)

So, good evening, market customers…It’s just your market manager, on this beautiful Tuesday evening, reminding you that we close the market, this evening, at 10pm, and we want you along for the fun. Get your orders in…

And, while we are taking this walk on the wild side, I thought this song and lyric would be the perfect launching pad for my jump from my usual healthy eating, down into the rabbit hole.

First, this song…so many fun memories of parties, clubs, this song, a tale of flowers being sent to me, with only this song lyric on the card, sent from an old friend, who wanted to ask me to junior/senior prom, but alas, I had already received a prom date, minutes before the flowers and card. If only he had been a few seconds speedier.

But, that just all sums up my love of Lou Reed, and this song. And, I suppose it serves as the background music for this dark tale. I mean, every leap into the dark gets a background song, right? Every entrance deserves a song, every exit deserves a song.

As I wrote in my first installment, it was December, dismal, full of decision making time, full of question asking time.

I had come to the end of my shop lease, after two years. While I loved my little shop, I had reached a point of exhaustion. I was burning the candle at both ends, and then burning about 20 more ends. Busy, stressed out, trying to keep up with a physical shop front, wanting to take back my gypsy ways, sad that the vibe all around had shifted. When I was making the decision on renewing my lease, I made the quick response of no. Just no. I was good with the decision. But, after I was firm on not returning, I started to look around, and got that bittersweet feeling where you know it’s the right move, but it’s still sad, all in all.

So, there you have me, at that point. Add into it my other businesses of Cosmic Charlie and Hippie and the Farmer. One was doing great. One was not getting the love that it needed from me. My baby, my first business, my heart and soul, Cosmic Charlie, was taking a back seat, because I had been so over committed. Then, it seemed like out of nowhere, there were food naysayers, all around me. Mocking, questioning why I do what I do, wondering why it’s so important to believe that we are what we eat, and to be honest, the bad vibes were getting to me. I felt them from our market customers, I felt them from bread customers, I felt them from everyone.

Suddenly, everyone seemed to have something to say, about what I do, work for, believe in, strive for…and, for the first time in nine years, I let it take me down.

I was tired of everyone proclaiming one of the mass produced food services, around town, as the second coming. I was tired of fighting the good fight, the local fight, the clean fight. I wanted to throw in the towel, but my little fighter voice told me…not just yet.

So, I closed up shop, moved my stuff into my studio/office, regrouped, relaunched my branding, my businesses, and decided that the only way I could once and for all put the naysayers at bay, was to take that walk on the wild side.

And there it began…New Year’s Day 2017. My vegetarian/real food/slow food/whole food went on a date with my alter ego…the processed food/fast food/preservative food from origins unknown other half. I mapped out my plan, and wanted it to take me until April 1.

This tale is not about me sitting in the dark, gorging myself just to prove a point. I took it one day at a time, one meal at a time, and decided that I would eat like the naysayers had been bullying about. My journey was going to be a day to day tale. I was going to take my eating habits from television, ads on the internet, the quick grabs at grocery stores, and the fast food lanes of assorted dining disasters.

I began on New Year’s Day…and, I remember that I kicked it off with a processed food breakfast. I was sure it was a breakfast that most busy people would just grab and think nothing about. I kept hearing about no time to make a decent breakfast. It was too expensive to eat healthy. Nobody cares about breakfast. Well, I ALWAYS cared about breakfast. I made time to make it from healthy food. I made time to stock my pantry, fridge and cabinets with things that would help me start my day. But, I was going down the rabbit hole, so I started that day with a Little Debbie Honey Bun, coffee, and did keep my banana. I figured bananas must be like the fast food fruit to these naysayers who had no time.

So, there I was…coffee, banana, Little Debbie. I had been seeing more and more commercials, on the COOKING NETWORK, about busy moms handing out prepackaged bags of Little Debbie treats to the kids for breakfast on the road to school. I thought, well, okay!! If kids’ minds were fueled by this for school, I would fuel me with it.

Day 1…who knew this first breakfast would be the first addiction, and the one that would begin the journey of my tale of odd skin and hair problems, and, in month 3, my biggest eye opener of unwanted fat from processed sugar.

My new way of breakfasting was pumping me full of refined sugars, empty fuel, fat calories, a rollercoaster of sugar highs and lows, and hunger pains before the mornings were over, leading me to binge on more empty food, just to get me to the next bridge of food hell…processed lunches.

But, let’s stop, right here…the Little Debbie addiction didn’t just stop after a few mornings. And, the damage was not known, immediately. It didn’t take long, but it was after every other red flag was waving that I was on the road to a food trip of crash and burn proportions…

Let’s end this installment, right here…

Let’s use this time to make decisions, at this last hour…let’s not go the Little Debbie highway to hell, and let’s take a moment to order from our market.

In the next installment, you will learn how just my morning dabblings, sent my hair and skin into a complete freaked out mess. And, we have not even left the breakfast horror, yet.

I am going to go order…will you all join me?

Cosmic Pam

Going Down The Rabbit Hole

And if you go chasing rabbits, and you know you’re going to fall…
(Jefferson Airplane-White Rabbit)

First of all…I hope that all of our lovely market customers and vendors had smashing Easter weekends!! The weather was beautiful. Perfect for ushering in the season.

So, now for the title, lyric, theme for today’s and a series to come, through my Weblog writing.

While it would make sense that I am carrying over the Easter groove with the whole White Rabbit song pick, it really isn’t. If you see the lyric, and the title of Falling Down The Rabbit Hole, you know I am about to lead you on a trip…a journey…a series of disturbing Weblogs.

Yes…I am getting ready to unveil my own undercover adventure that I began on New Year’s Day. An adventure that I chose to keep entirely to myself. I knew that if I were to utter even a word of it to those closest to me, my best pals, anyone at all…they would call me crazy, they would not let me hear the end of it if my mission failed, and well, basically, they would have pulled me out of the rabbit hole. But, I was determined to fall. Determined to go undercover to once and for all, prove that I really have been right, all along. That I am not crazy. That all of these years in the local food scene, all of the time spent in baking, preaching nutrition, fighting for the markets that I have managed, to have only real food, locally produced food, knowing your food, standing behind the slow food movement, to grab organic when local is not in season, to shun processed food, fast food, bad food, empty food, really was the way to go.

You see, in December, I was facing so many negative forces, all at once. I was doubting what I have been doing. I was getting feedback, much like I always get feedback from naysayers that the way I eat, the way I run markets, the way I bake, the so called expense of eating good food, real food, slow food was not feasible, and that food was just food.

For nine years I have listened about how people can get bread for .99 at one or more of our local stores. I have stood in front of people talking about this market, only to be told that I know nothing of what I am talking about. I don’t even remember what really started to wear me down, but I know that I closed the door to my shop, the end of December, and decided to start my dark journey, so that I could bring you my findings. And, I also knew that if the naysayers were really right, and that food didn’t matter, then I would have to seriously consider stepping away from all that I believe in and support.

So yes…I went undercover, falling down the rabbit hole of my secret life of a processed eater. I had to do it in private, I had to shop in secret, and I had to hide what really became an addiction. I have a very known face, personality, car, and local platform. I was not going to let my public witness my grocery shopping experiment or my fast food experiment. It was hard lurking in the shadows. But, I gave myself a three month experiment, ending on March 31.

In my Down The Rabbit Hole Weblog series, I will take you down that path, that hole, and then how hard it was to come back out to my regular way of eating, my regular health, my food budget, etc.

The results were not pretty…and, this is why I believe, even more, in the importance of this local food movement, and this market, as well as my other businesses.

I became your poster girl for bad food. I took one for the team, just to prove, once and for all, that my stand is not for nothing…

So, with this entry to the series…get your orders ready for the week. We always seem to get busy over a holiday, and forget to order. We close, tomorrow evening…don’t be late…

Cosmic Pam

Happy Thursday!

And, happy beginning to the holiday weekend…

We hope that you all have an amazing Easter celebration with family, friends, neighbors…whoever you spend it with, whatever you are doing, and with whatever love you bring to it, we hope you enjoy!

It is Thursday, and I am opening the market, once again, for a week of ordering fun!!

Make sure to take a bit of time to get your orders in!! We are the little local online market that rocks the county, each and every week!

Think local, think nutrition, think affordable, think food that is good for you, think real food that comes to you, fresh from the source…

Cosmic Pam

Hey, Now!

Look at the time!! You have one hour to still get your orders in!!

It’s nice seeing all of the familiar faces that are returning, this week!!


Cosmic Pam

Tuesday Reminder!

Good morning, little local market of love customers!!

It’s Tuesday, and you know what that means!! It’s time to get your orders in before, well, you know the tune…before Tuesday’s Gone…

Get your list ready, grab a few minutes, and place your orders!!

Don’t forget…we have all the tell tale signs that spring is here, and also don’t forget…it’s Easter!! Order up!!

I was also thinking, what a great Easter basket idea for someone, some family, someone living on their own, a neighbor, a co-worker…put a basket together of all locally grown/produced items!!

Soooooo….get your groove on! We are here to help!!

Cosmic Pam

Waiting For The Sun

Can you feel it now that Spring has come? That it’s time to live in the scattered sun…”
(The Doors-Waiting On The Sun-Morrison Hotel)

The sun is certainly shining on us, now! Yesterday, and now today…the beauty is all around! Sun, warmth, growth, green, planting…it’s all happening. Everyone and everything is all waking up from a mild yet still the very winter months.

With that, we will also begin seeing excitement in the market as the seasonal vendors return, and in exciting news, I spoke with Dugan Creamery, yesterday, and they are about 2-3 weeks from the market!! Yay!!!

JC Growers have been busy on the farm, and house painting, but will be back, soon!!

Swisher Hill Herbs have added more and more live plants and herbs!!! Signs of spring!!

We have a new vendor, Just Ducky, with duck eggs!!

We welcome back, Rocky Ridge with their egg selections!

We said, Hello, to End of the Road, last week, and enjoyed their amazing spinach, loose leaf lettuce blend, and look forward more of their products!

Hippie and the Farmer put their first out of four gardens in, last week!!

I ran into Beth from Harrigan’s Harvest, and while the asparagus is not yet ready, we all know that it’s worth the wait!!

And, with the ushering in of spring, we also welcome the upcoming Easter holiday!! You know you will need to get your Easter dining plan, together, and get your market orders in!!

It’s all around us…let the spring sunshine take control…

Cosmic Pam

Magnolia Wind

I’d rather not walk through the garden again
If I can’t catch your scent on a magnolia wind…
(Magnolia Wind-Guy Clark)

A very windy day, leading into a very windy evening. I was out in the wind, all day, and while I can handle the wind during the day, night time wind truly scares me. The noise, the brutal force, all of it. So, I have a few key songs that I sing to get me through it. This is one of them, and how fitting, with the name. Just a soothing tune, old, and covered by many artists.

As I am ending my day, I am having a glass of wine, reflecting on the day, happy and excited to be a part of my businesses, this market, our community, and all of you. The wind may come and go, but all of this, all of you, that is my constant.

Tonight is a perfect night to sit, as I open the market, and get my orders in. It’s cold, windy, and not much going on, so I am thinking ahead to the week, all that I have going on, and let’s not forget the upcoming Easter holiday!!

Think of what you may need from our market for your festivities!! Think about making your Easter dinner, Easter breakfast, Easter lunch, all from local items!! How beautiful a celebration to have a spread of nothing but local beauty.

Also, as we move into spring, and then summer, I want you to really think about your food, where it comes from in your shopping, and how it can be improved. Healthy, wealthy and wise…buying local, eating local, supports your health, your own personal wealth, because it’s so cost effective to eat from food that is grown in your local community, and the wise…more and more studies supporting how real food, whole food, non-gmo food, local food, natural food, organic food, not only improves your health, but it also improves your brain power. Your body needs food. It needs good food. It needs food that you know it’s origins…think about getting your food from us.

I will now let the wind take over, and also hoping that the wind blows you into our market…go ahead, let the windy night help you order…

We are your constant…

Cosmic Pam

Well, now...

What’s it gonna be, baby? Yes or no?
(A bit of play on lyrics of Confessions By The Dashboard Light…Meatloaf)

But, yes, really…we are less than a half hour before closing, so what’s it gonna be?

See you at the 10pm closing time…

Cosmic Pam

We Are Live!

In my market glancing, as I prepare to make my purchases for the week, I noticed the smiling offerings of the first live herb plants from Swisher Hill Herbs!!

Yay!! Another sign of the change of seasons…and, as I always say, from way back in my Grateful Dead days, live versions are amazing versions!!

Cosmic Pam


Oh, mirror in the sky
What is love ?
Can the child within my heart rise above
Can I sail thought the changing ocean tides
Can I handle the seasons of my life…
(Landslide-Fleetwood Mac)

Good morning, little local market of love customers!! It’s a windy, rainy morning, but definitely has spring blowing around, out there.

The change of seasons is upon us, the time for growth, of hope, of new beginnings. Maybe it’s in the produce growing season, maybe it’s in your own personal growth, maybe it’s in the dawn of a new day…however you look at it, it all changes in the spring. The seasons of life…

I returned from a long weekend vacation, up in the mountains of Tennessee, with a large group of my sorority sisters. We are the sisters who spanned the years of 1982-1986. The band of us who helped to colonize the chapter, on that campus, and the first pledge classes, to bring the needed growth, in the beginning. Without the pioneer attitude, hard work, constant care, and constant attention to growth, and moving forward with vision, we never would have gotten the chapter off the ground. And, in the year 2017, that chapter is the strongest on our alma mater’s campus…strong in numbers, strong in academics, strong in social awareness, strong in community.

As I sat around the table, in the cabin, one night, over bottles of wine, boxes of old pictures, laughing over old memories as we made new memories, exchanging life stories, sharing battle scars, rejoicing in our triumphs, and mourning now the loss of four of our fellow sisters, we hugged, we smiled, and we all agreed on one thing…

The strong bonds that were planted in the beginning of our journeys, way back in 1982, kept us strong, taught us about life, taught us to have a strong appreciation for the plight of fellow women, and for an undying love that brings us back, every couple of years.

I seem to apply this theme in all that I do. The planting of the seeds, the constant care to facilitate growth, the outpouring of both love and heartache to nurture, and then the constant care to continue the growth, and the ability to sustain through solid roots and bonds.

I have seen it, also, in this market. The seeds were planted, years ago. The growth took off, the constant love from you helped to carry it, and now, today, we continue to see the strength from all of our efforts.

It is Tuesday, the market will close, this evening, at 10pm, we have our End Of The Road family back on, and as the weeks unfold, we will see the return more of our seasonal growers, the part of his market family, that is essential to our growth.

Take a bit of time to shower us with love, today…it only makes us stronger…

Cosmic Pam