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 The Long Way Home

Does it feel that your life’s become a catastrophe?
Oh, it has to be for you to grow , boy.
When you look through the years and see what you could
have been oh, what you might have been,
If you’d had more time…
(Take The Long Way Home-Supertramp)

The long way home…I’m not quite sure where I am going with this because, tonight, it has so many different levels of meaning for me.

As we all know, I grew up in the west end of my hometown. I lived in a little capsule of suburbia houses mixed in with big, old, rambling houses. Both of which I lived. The west end kids were a close, scrappy bunch, who banded together while building forever ties, and these are the ties that run deep in my heart, forever.

There did come a time in my west end life, that would force me to venture in other directions, take new friends, keep the old friends, and make new paths.

This was called high school for me. Back then, the west end, the east end, and the middle end?, all went to the same high school. Freshman year found me taking on a new life, new adventures, new friends. While the west end taught me how important my friendships with the boys were, high school brought me into my first real friendships with girls.

Thankfully, I met up and began a lifetime friendship with a group of girls who all hailed from both the east end, and the middle end. I was the only west ender. We began to carve our places in the hierarchy of high school, we crushed over boys, we grooved the same activities, we partied, some of us cheered, some of us were in band, and some were on student council. We were the girls of 1982, making our mark in high school, not knowing we would become life long soul sisters.

Over the next, um, well, oh…you know, a number of years, we all watched as we departed off to colleges, as we each took off for far ends of the United States. We watched marriages, kids, divorces, deaths, finding ourselves, losing ourselves, sending our own kids off to colleges, marriages of them, and as things always go, we all found our way back to our group.

But, as age goes, as time goes, it has become our norm, to begin comforting each other, as we watch the passing of our parents. When did we grow up? When did we watch our parents age? How do we deserve this love that each of us, unconditionally gives us, in this most amazing group?

Tonight found me at the side of one of our soul sisters. Her father has passed away, and most of the high school gang was on hand, from out of town.

I looked around, I comforted, and hugged, and smiled, and had tears, and then I departed. The funeral home was on the side of town where my high school coming of age happened, so, after I left, I took the long way home, and drove around old, familiar roads, thinking, remembering, and feeling so lucky to have built these amazing friendships.

The long way home,the paths we travel in life, the people, places, and things that are on that road that takes us through life, only to wind us around, right back where we started.

I talk about how much I value my growing up, my friendships, the paths I chose in life, and the people who love me, who shaped me, and who encouraged me. This is why I feel so strongly about this little market, this little community, this little bit of love, that we are able to bring to you, each week.

We all have had journeys, we all have gone that long way home…that is why you are all so important to us. Together, for these past years, we have all just been traveling’ on that long way home, with the one hope that we are that light, that shines you on your way.

Get your orders in, tonight…we are here for you until 10pm. Think about the love, think about the light, and think about this journey of local products, nutrition, and pride that we bring to you.

Make this market your little stop on your own long way home…

Cosmic Pam


Today, in my Super Bowl installment, let’s talk about pizza!! How easy, how yum, how creative can one food genre be?? So many ways to make a pizza, and so many people who love it!!

Have a variety of pizzas, have a pizza party where everyone makes their own, get creative or stay traditional!!

Today, I am including a creative pizza recipe from Charlene, of Swisher Hill Herbs! She got this recipe from Rachel Ray, and is sharing it with the market.

While you are reading this recipe, or even coming up with your own recipe, think about how many pizza ingredients you can get from this market!! Including frozen pizza dough in packages, or in pre-formed frozen crusts!

Think about the meats, garlic, dried herbs, greens, etc…you can get a large amount of products, right here, to start your own pizza fun!!

Go ahead…get your orders in, and think pizza!! It’s good for parties, a fun dinner at home, or whenever you need to feed your creativity in the kitchen!

That’s Amore!

Cosmic Pam

Thai Chicken Pizza
? 1 pizza dough, any brand
? 1/2 cup duck sauce or plum sauce ( look for this in the International aisle in your
? 1/2 teaspoon crushed SHH red pepper flakes.
? 1 package (2 cups) shredded provolone or monterey jack cheese
? 1/2 thinly sliced Red or Green Bell Pepper
? 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
? 2 tablespoons (low sodium) soy sauce
? 1 rounded tablespoonful peanut butter
? 2 teaspoons hot sauce
? 1 Tablespoon SHH Sweet Heat Thai Seasoning Blend
? 1/2 pound chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
? 2 tablespoons honey
? 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or cider vinegar
? 1/4 seedless cucumber, peeled and cut into matchsticks
? 4 scallions, chopped
? 1 cup bean sprouts
? ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1.Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2.Drain bean sprouts. In a medium size bowl mix, honey, wine or vinegar, add cucumber,
scallions and sprouts. Turn to coat evenly. Set aside to marinate.
3.In a bowl combine vegetable oil, soy sauce, peanut butter, hot sauce and SHH Sweet Heat
seasoning. (Use the microwave to loosen up peanut butter if it is too cold to blend into sauce, 10
seconds’ ought to do it.) Add chicken and coat evenly with mixture. Let stand while you prepare
pizza to bake
Form pizza crust on pizza pan or cookie sheet. Top with duck or plum sauce – spread it around
like you would pizza sauce. Sprinkle the pizza with some crushed red pepper flakes then top with
cheese and peppers. Bake until golden and bubbly, 15 to 17 minutes.
While pizza is baking, preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat, add chicken mixture, grill
chicken cutlets 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until firm. Remove from heat.
Top the hot, cooked pizza with chicken, drain cucumbers mixture and scatter over the pizza.
Sprinkle Fresh cilantro on top, cut into 8 wedges and serve

Happy Monday!!

Monday, Monday…

Have you grooved our market, yet? Do you have plans to make your Super Bowl viewing groovy? Do you plan to eat well, dine well, and make your life easy?

No matter if it’s for a party, a get together, dinner for one, dinner for two, or dinner for a full house, we’ve got it all to make it happen for you!!

Give us a look, give us a try, return for the umpteenth time…we don’t care, we just want your Monday kind of love…

We will be closing the market, tomorrow night, at 10pm. Make your list, and begin shopping…

Make it a Super week, all around…

Cosmic Pam

A Super Week

A Super Week is coming up, to proceed into a Super Bowl Weekend!!

We open this market, tonight, with a word from Swisher Hill Herbs, about Super Bowl Sunday!!

Remember, this week, you will have all week to order for your game plans!!

Take it away, Joe and Charlene…

Super Bowl Sunday Specials! Swisher Hill Herbs offers this week 10% off? Swisher Hill herbs,

Soups and Chili mixes, Meatloaf mix, Sloppy Joe Mix and So Simple Salsa Mix. Let’s get ready to
rumble! This week’s recipe will be our Super Bowl sheet with many quick and easy snack recipes!
Take Thyme,
Joe and Charlene

Hey, Now!

Remember, the market is about to close, at 10pm!!

Get your orders in!

As always, we appreciate the love!

Cosmic Pam

Guest Bloggin'

Good Morning!! Today, we have a Tuesday guest blogger!! A fellow music fan, a total support system for this market, along with the rest of the YMCA staff, and really, the man about town, these days, as he is very community driven, supporter of local endeavors…

Don’t forget…the market closes, tonight, at 10pm, so get your orders groovin’, our way…

Cosmic Pam

And now…guest bloggin’…

Hello, fellow Virtual Market community members:

This is what happens when you give Pam feedback about her wonderful blogs and and music references – she asks you to participate.  I’m happy to share my thoughts about our Virtual Farmer’s Market because it’s been a consistently tasty and helpful part of my weekly routine over the past four years of serving as the CEO of the Champaign Family YMCA.  Aside from my regular activities at the Y, I teach 3 group cycling classes each week.  I love cycling and I enjoy connecting with members in a group exercise setting.  

A group cycling class has much in common with the Virtual Market: both are communities filled with people who are seeking and finding healthy lifestyle choices; people who aren’t afraid to try something new or outside of ‘normal’ patterns of shopping or exercising.  Both cycling classes and the healthy foods I get from the Virtual Market help me hit a healthy ‘reset’ button and I’m very thankful for both!  I encourage each of you to think about your passions and develop habits that allow you to spend more time in passionate pursuit of the healthiest lifestyle you can imagine.  It’ll do wonders for your heart and mind and let you more deeply connect with your soul’s deepest yearnings.  I love picking songs for cycling classes that aren’t top 40.  I love creating song cycles for classes that help individuals feel a deeper connection to their ‘better selves’.  With that in mind, here’s a song from one of my favorite bands, a group of musicians who are criminally underexposed: 

“I Need More Love” by Robert Randolph and the Family Band:

All of the cold winds blowing
Through our neighborhoods
While my frustration’s growing
Through concrete, steel and wood
I need more love
I need more love every day of my life
I need more love every day of my life
I need more love every day of my life
I need more love every day of my life
I’m tired of feeling tension
Everyone’s talking black and white
When will something change me
And help me get my mind right
I need more love, I need more love
I need more love every day of my life
I need more love every day of my life
I need more love every day of my life
I need more love every day of my life
C’mon fill the room, baby
Take the shackle off of your feet
Let the love flow, say
I need more love every day of my life
I need more love every day of my life
I need more love every day of my life
I need more love every day of my life

Paul Waldsmith, CEO
Champaign Family YMCA
191 Community Drive
Urbana, OH 43078
office: 937-484-3549

English Rose

I’ve been to ancient worlds
I’ve scoured the whole universe
And caught the first train home
To be at her side.
No matter where I go
I will return to my English Rose…
(English Rose-The Jam)

Hailing back to my mod/new wave days with The Jam, for this lovely, slow, beautiful song.

Rose, Geranium, essential oils, are what’s happening in my life as your market manager.

I’ve loved oils before they became mainstream. I was the young little hippie girl using patchouli oils, musk oils, and rose oils.

My grandmother loved the scent of roses. She and my grandfather had the most beautiful rose garden. Beautiful roses that she would snip, and keep around her house. My grandfather would always send me off on my bicycle with one rose attached to it, to make happy.

My grandmother also kept rose oils, and rose sachets in her huge vanity/make up table where she would let me play dress up, and apply the brightest of the Avon red lipsticks.

Eventually, they would give up their home, and gardens, and porch swing, to move to a more manageable, smaller place. I remember the sadness of knowing that it was time for them to move, but also the sadness that my childhood memories, the place where I knew comfort and love, was leaving me.

I had just moved here from having been gone since 1982, when I left for college, and just kept running. Rambling around. I loved my travels, my adventures, all the people and experiences that I collected. But, I think the one thing that always kept me going, made me know that things would always be okay, was the thought of their house, their rose gardens.

When I returned, for good, to help them pack, help get furniture ready to be sold, or given to family members, I remember just sitting at the beautiful dressing table that my grandfather had so lovingly build for my grandmother. She had asked me to begin packing up her jewelry, her handkerchiefs, her lipsticks, her rose oils.

When I sat down, I opened the main drawer, to find two wrapped packages. One large one, with my name written in her handwriting. And, a smaller one, with my daughter’s name. Her only request was that I take them, put them away, and not open until sometime in the future. She also gave me her most beloved fur jackets and capes. (I know, I know, but she had worked, and saved her money, in the 1940’s, 1950s, and bought them, and I treasure them). I put the boxes and the treasures all in my dressing closet. My grandfather had also given me the beautiful dollhouse that he had built for my mother, which had been passed down to me, and so into that closet, I stored it all.

A few years ago, on a sad kind of day, I decided to open the package with my name. Inside were pieces of her costume jewelry collection that I had played with as a child. There were also her pearls, and a ring that I adored, and then, among the baubles, was a very old rose sachet and oil…all those years ago, and the memories came flooding back, and I felt so close to the woman who helped shape me. And, in turn, helped to shape my daughter.

All of this to say that recently, one of my new favorite oils to diffuse is geranium oil. You can get this, and many other oils, here, at our little local market of love.

Think about diffusing…ask Charlene for advice on the oils that she offers on our market. Since I have diffusing the geranium rose oil, I have felt a calm, the floral scent sends me back to my childhood, and I feel a happiness at the center of my self…

Anyway, I have included information about this particular oil. It’s not from Swisher Hill Herbs but it’s information that I found while researching this oil and it’s effects from diffusing…

Go ahead, while you are ordering all of the amazing products that we offer, order an oil…maybe there is one that will bring back the same memory for you…

Geranium oil (Pelargonium graveolens) is a beautiful, floral essential oil often referred to as “the poor man’s rose oil” for its similar properties and uses.

It’s sweet, rose-like aroma is long-lasting and potent. You need only a small amount or you’ll smell it for days.

It’s traditionally used for healthy skin (repair or rejuvenation), as well as widely known for its emotional support. It commonly promotes peace and a decrease in stress, especially in regards to releasing negativity, and is great for tension and overall well-being.

Primary Benefits:

Promotes clear, healthy skin.
Helps calm nerves, and lessen stress.
Promotes healthy hair,

Emotional Benefits:
Energetically, it’s said to help a person regain their trust in the world and in others.

This heart-center oil helps us to heal, tear down barriers, release anger, and manage overwhelming emotions. It might be good for a person who has been deeply hurt in the past and/or who struggles to open up or express their emotions.

Complimentary Oils
Geranium essential oil blends well with all essential oils. Depending on your uses for this oil, substitutes may include: Frankincense, Ylang Ylang, Lavender, Rose, or Bergamot essential oils.

How to Use Geranium Essential Oil:

Traditionally, geranium oil uses these application guidelines. Click the banner to understand what each symbol means and to learn how each is used safely and effectively:

Your Sunday Weblog!

Today’s weblog comes from our new vendors at Dugan Road Creamery!!

Get to know them!! They also sent pictures that cannot post to the weblog site, but I will be adding to their Grower’s Page!!

Get excited!! They are bringing their products in just a few short months!!

Cosmic Pam

Nelson Dairy was established in Urbana, Ohio in 1988. The farm has been in constant operation since that time. However, that is not the beginning of the family farm. Chris Nelson has been in the dairy industry his entire life following in his father’s footsteps. The family farm is currently in its fourth generation with hopes that the fifth generation will stay involved in the dairy industry, only time will tell. In the fall of 2015, Chris and Joyce made the difficult decision to down-size their herd due to the tumultuous industry. Keeping the family farm profitable has been a struggle for many local farmers inside the dairy industry and agriculture in general.
With some imagination and the desire to develop a niche market of their own, The Dugan Road Creamery was born. The creamery will begin production in late spring 2017. The initial offerings will include fluid cream line milk (with gallon and half gallon quantities available) and yogurt (with quantities still being determined).
So, what exactly is cream-line milk? It is pasteurized, just like milk at your local grocery store, but the biggest difference is that the milk is not homogenized. Homogenization is the process after pasteurization where the milk is mixed and the cream line (or fat content) is permanently mixed into the body of the milk. This high-pressure process breaks down the fat molecules so that they can dissolve into the milk, preventing separation. It has been hypothesized that this process can also reduce some of the health benefits of milk consumption. Dugan Road Creamery products will be made with a minimal amount of processing (pasteurization-only) resulting in milk as close to nature as possible.
We look forward to providing more information on both the humans and cows behind our product in future blogs. We hope to show our customers that we provide quality dairy products while upholding the strictest standards of animal welfare, land eco-sustainability, and product quality. We welcome any comments, questions, and visitors to the farm as we begin this new adventure. Thank you for helping to bring our family farm from conventional to sustainable.

Chris, Joyce, and JD Nelson
Dugan Road Creamery

A Special From Swisher Hill Herbs

Swisher Hill Herbs Special this week is SHH Sweet Heat Thai Seasoning blend at 20% off regular retail price $5.50 now $3.95. The e-mail recipe of the week Is – Thai Chicken Pizza and wraps. This pizza is a touch of heat, deliciously sweet with the cool flavors of the toppings Cucumber, green onion, bean sprouts, honey and cilantro .
Take Thyme,
Joe and Charlene

And She Was

The world was moving she was right there with it and she was…
The world was moving she was floating above it and she was…
And she was…
(And She Was-Talking Heads)

Cue up the 1985 club scene!! Lately, I have been revisiting my time spent in the 1980’s. There was a very specific time frame, when I spent a whole lot of my time in the new wave club scene, groovin’ to the tunes of bands like The Talking Heads.

This song was always such a fun, danceable, floaty kind of song, and, for right now, in this very time of my life, the lyrics that I have chosen are summing up my life. I feel like with all of my business changes, and my decision to stay on as your market manager, have all been the spot on, totally right, on point decisions to be made.

With all of the changes, I have introduced all kinds of new avenues, new adventures, new business, and new followings. I feel, well, like I am floating around, and having the time of my life. Like all the links are falling into place. I am finally letting myself be me, again. Not trying to be anything that isn’t me.

Just like this market…it floats, happily along, happy, vibrant, not trying to be a grocery store, not trying to be a big box retailer, not trying to offer things that come to us from all over the world.

Our market floats along because of it’s happiness and popularity from being nothing but within our community, or very close to our community. We are proud of how we operate, we are proud of our vendors, our market, our mission…

Each week, I open the market with such excitement, such passion for what will transpire for that week.

Being your market manager allows me to watch the sales, the interactions between vendors and customers, and it allows me to be a part of this food movement, that I am so passionate about.

The world was moving, she was right there with it, and she was…

The market continues to move and groove, and I am right there with it…

I open the market, tonight, for the week. Grab your list, sit down, this weekend, and place your orders, so you can jump on this market groove, this market world, and be right there with it…

All the cool kids love shopping this market, they are right there with it…

Cosmic Pam