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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Last call!

Hurry up! Last call for orders this week!

Did you see him?

A man was at my house this morning…an unwelcome guest I would add. Jack Frost, that is.

There were days I used to hurriedly scurry around in the dark just prior to sunrise throwing old sheets and blankets on top of everything in the garden on this innaugural morning. I would water down anything else I couldn’t cover, seemingly spraying my clothes with just as much water as the garden, hands freezing and teeth nearly chattering. Now, with a few pretty big changes in how I am spending my mornings, that frenzy is simply not possible. Jack Frost crept into my garden and left his mark without a response from me. Strange…very strange.

With changes in our lives this school year, I am looking at things differently I guess. One could site the line “For every season…” and focus on the need for our upcoming time to rest from the toils of ground. One could also just say that our foci change and life shifts a bit. I am at peace with the damage I know he has done to my tender plants who were hanging on for one last show. More important things are in view and I cannot physically change that nor do I want to. Fall brings many changes and this year I will embrance it as that is my only option. Hmmm….seems strange to even admit but there is nothing I can do to change it. Nature happens.

As we keep an eye on the calendar and look forward to the upcoming holidays that will be here before we know it, I won’t discuss Mr. Frost much now that he showed his face once. His impact will be noticeable and sad for some, refreshing for others. It will soon be time for days of baking and decorating to replace the hours spent in the garden and the useless act of mowing the dreaded grass, which if we had more hands would simply be more space to plant edibles for some of us.

I know our vendors noticed Jack’s visit too, some preparing to defend their gardens with a better plan than I. Some, are looking forward to the break from the season of orange, yellows and green. The kids are looking forward to playing in the snow and skating while I am looking forward to finally reading the books I just didn’t get to all summer.

Shorter days and colder nights change us in many ways but one thing is for certain. Whether we want the change or not, it is going to happen. Whether we choose to react to it or not, it is going to happen. The seasons come and go and we will need to adapt. Sometimes that is hard and sometimes it just happens as a result of other things on our radar. This pattern follows other patterns and we simply must adapt.

I finish this morning with well wishes and comforting thoughts of a working furnace or fireplace, a cozy blanket and a cup of your favorite delight. I wish you happiness as we head into a new season full of potential and memories of yesterdays. May your gardens have given you all the nutrients you, your families and your friends could have wanted. We thank them and Mother Nature for sustaining us and we too look forward to days of rest. Until spring, our sweet gardens…we will see you soon. But not until we have dog-eared every last page of those seed catalogs with dreams of the covers of Better Homes and Gardens!

Have a wonderful day and be sure to order before tonight at 8 pm as the market will be closing for another week! Please spread the news of the market to all of your friends and families, coworkers and peers so we can grow, and grow, and grow, and grow…without ever a frost to worry!

Monday, Monday...

Good morning! I’m sure you had a busy weekend but are already hard at it…whether that would be getting kiddos ready for school, yourself ready for a busy day of work outside the home, or any combination of both and more. It was a beautiful fall weekend and I hope it continues. I hear we could see some of that “white stuff” later in the week and I really just want to shut my eyes over the whole topic! Trust me, the vegetable vendors are watching the weather even closer than you and I!

As you know, Monday is for starting the work week and for reminding you the market closes tomorrow night at 8 pm. Please make sure you take a few minutes in the next 36 hours or so to check out our offerings. We still have PLENTY of wonderful items for you.

Enjoy your Monday…find a memory from summer to carry you through any mist or slush that comes later in the week. And remember, this too shall pass!

Good day friends!

The market is once again open for business! Thanks again to Swisher Hill’s Charlene and Joe for helping to run the show! I hear we had a special cameo appearance from Mark Runyan of Oakview Meats. There are good things that come from the delays brought on by the rain during harvest time! Thanks guys! Have a wonderful weekend and please spread the word of the market to your friends and family! Our vendors are so awesome and we want the rest of the world to know it! Enjoy!

Hello Virtual Market Shoppers!

Good afternoon! Although rain has started to fall, it is still a great day to live in an area that is so abundant with local food options. Rain is needed to replenish, refresh and renew so I say let it fall. Plus, I would much rather see it now than in a month or so when it will fall as white snowflakes. I am so not ready for that!

A few reminders today for everyone…Swisher Hill Herbs has asked us to pass along a couple of reminders. So here we go!

There are only two more Saturdays to shop at the Champaign County Farmers Market in downtown Urbana before they close for the season! Be sure to head out this Saturday and next to support them before their year ends. They are located behind the Municipal Building on Locust Street between Market and Water Street and sell from 9am-1pm. Many smiling faces will be ready to serve you and happy to see you before they pack it up until spring!

And, as the holidays near, Swisher Hill Herbs are ready for you! They have put together 5 new culinary gift sets. In appreciation for their customers, all of their gift box sets will be packed absolutely FREE for the holiday season! Check it out under the Gifts category, then select Swisher Hill Herbs Gift Sets. They will also do special orders! Contact them at and they can assist you in your selections. They thank you for your business! (from Joe and Charlene Stapleton, Swisher Hill Herbs)

It is Thursday so don’t forget your order tonight if you ordered this week! Also be sure to give Charlene and Joe “a huge hello” too as they are filling in for our Cosmic Pam (who was last seen installing an oven in her car…not really but she if she could do it, we know she would!). Thanks to each of them for all the volunteer hours they give to us each week and beyond.

Don’t forget that the market opens up again tonight after all the goodies are dropped off, packed up, picked up and toted home!

Happy eating!

Tuesday, Tuesday, Tuesday...

As you can imagine, it is beginning to be quite difficult for me to come up with something new or catchy to tell you it is Tuesday. Tuesday means the last day of the order cycle so I find that by reminding you, you tend to remember to shop with us: No reminder and our vendors faces are frowns; A reminder and we are all happy, happy, happy.

Happy because you are: supporting the local economy, eating fresh options, eating items that you generally know the face of who grew them (or baked, etc.) and happy because you know it IS making a difference in our local food scene. The vendors are happy too since they are being rewarded for taking a chance on a dream of business ownership: maybe a hobby, maybe part of a bigger plan, or maybe even something Cosmic! Our vendors are just like you and me, except they are working their plan and planning their work on the local foods scene.

So today, in my Tuesday reminder, while I am fresh out of talking camels and phrases to make you giggle, I can tell you, both customers and vendors, that we are glad you are here. Eight o’clock tonight will be here before you know it so make sure you plan to log on, check in, and make a difference by shopping with us.

We would love to see you Thursday!

Fresh Harvest Farm Tour

Good morning, happy campers! It is another fun start to the week and I have exciting news! Fresh Harvest Farm is planning to welcome each and every one of us, this Saturday, October 19, from 2-4 pm! Jeni and Doug are busy getting ready for company and plan to show us their aquaponic facility. They grow multiple kinds of lettuces and herbs along with perch who help with the heavy lifting too. The science of aquaponics is so cool!

For anyone who has yet to try all the great lettuce varieties, basil and more, you simply must! I’ll remind you again as we get closer but be sure to put this on your calendar! It will be fun for sure and SO educational!

Don’t forget their lettuces, as well as all of our items, are available this week but only until 8 pm tomorrow night when the market closes. Shop now and get the best selection of our options!
Have a wonderful week!

Here we go again!

Once again, a fabulous market had by all! Much thanks to all the vendors who delivered and all of our customers who picked up such splendid fare! Awesome job everyone! Thanks to our Cosmic Pam for driving the bus! Have a great evening and remember… The Market Is Open!!!!

Last call!

Hurry! 5 minute warning!

I don’t even though if you could log in that quickly but I’ll give you that chance….

Have a great evening!

The leaves are a' changing...

Good morning virtual shoppers! What a bright and sunny morning we have on our hands! We can certainly feel that brisk fall air about us, can’t we? My husband actually asked me this morning if I left a window open last night. Silly guy!

As you know,(and without the funny camel having to tell you), today is not Wednesday but rather Tuesday and the market closes tonight at 8 pm. Please make sure all orders are completed by then.

I might point something out.. even though some of our summer specialties are gone for now, you can still get many, many nutritious and delicious items. I have heard so many good compliments about the lettuces and basil from Fresh Harvest Farms. If you have not tried them, you simply must! A big shout out to Jeni and Doug for delivering to us from just north of us. Thanks guys!

Also, I know our superstar Cosmic Pam is busting at the seams. She is on a growth curve that is sky-rocketing out of this planet! More to come on that but congrats Pam! Your hard work for us is so appreciated too! Thank you for helping us grow with every loaf of your cosmic greatness!

I also hear Rue Farms will rejoin us after November 1st! We have missed Matt and Jeanne and we will be waiting. The farm and volleyball have kept you long enough: it is truffle time guys and we are in need!

Also, as I made a pot of Swisher Hill’s chili over the weekend, I just have to say how good the seasonings, dips and mixes are from Charlene and Joe. I felt a cold coming on but knew their white chicken chili mix would help. Pair their mixes with a can of chicken from Oakview Meats and you have a meal in minutes but one that is good for you!

Don’t forget the hour is upon us tonight! “Don’t be late, remember 8!” (o’clock that is!) I think that might even make that funny camel laugh! Have a wonderful day!