Market Watch: October 2022: Food and Drink: Smile Politely


It’s pumpkin season in our final weeks of outdoor markets. We only have four more opportunities to visit the Urbana market in the square on Saturday morning, and the Champaign market will be open for three more Tuesday afternoons. The last dates for the 2022 CU market season are Tuesday, October 25 and Saturday, October 29.

Video by Matt Fanelli.

This month, take a Saturday morning or Tuesday afternoon to visit the markets. Wander the aisles of bakers, farmers, brewers and food trucks for delicious finds. The end of the season may mean less choice, but it’s the best time to show up at the market to support those who provide food and drink to our community. Buy the last tomatoes, peppers or whatever is on sale at the end of the harvest season.

This month, eat the latest of the bounties from our CU outdoor markets.

Outside at the Champaign Market, there's a Stango beef pie held in a paper bag.  Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Buy a beef pie ($6) at the Stango Cuisine market stall. I love the spicy flavor of the ground beef and the warm handmade pastry made by Chef Mubanga Chanda. In both markets, the Zambian restaurant offers this beef pie, donuts, chicken pie, vegetable pie and freshly squeezed ginger juice.

At Urbana Market in the plaza, Meyer Produce has a pumpkin table and pumpkins for sale in the parking lot.  Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Pumpkins and cooler weather are the epitome of fall vibes, and you’ll find the best selection of pumpkins at the Saturday Market in Urbana. Meyer Produce has a nice selection of pumpkins in the first aisle.

On a white circular plate is a pumpkin cookie from Central Illinois Bakehouse.  Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

If you want a pumpkin cookie, Central Illinois Bakehouse is for you. This gorgeous frosted cookie ($2.50) has a regular sugar cookie flavor, so even if you’ve already overloaded with pumpkin spice this fall, you can still enjoy it.

Diamond's Homestead sells pumpkins at the market.  Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Find pie pumpkins and unique varieties at the table at Diamond’s Homestead, which is located in both markets.

A close-up image of leek microgreens in modular packaging.  Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Pick up some microgreens while you visit Diamond’s Homestead. I usually choose the radish microgreens, but this Tuesday I bought the leek microgreens ($5) and was impressed. The leeks had an aromatic onion flavor without the bite. Even my kids thought it was good.

A variety of pumpkins and squash are for sale by Moore Family Farm.  Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

If you want pumpkins of all shapes and sizes, stop by the Moore Family Farm at Urbana Market in the Square. These mini pumpkins are $1 each and look festive as fall decorations.

Peppers from Moore Family Farm are on sale at Urbana Market.  Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

While waiting to buy my pumpkins, I saw these huge peppers near the same farm and must have had some. The large peppers were beautiful and tasted great in a salad.

An overhead view of two large boxes of red apples for sale at Urbana Market.  Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

It is also the season for apples in the markets. Apples make a great snack – and an even better pie filling.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

I know I’ve written about this orchard before, but I’m a huge Weinzierl Fruit fan. These apples are wonderfully crunchy and sweet, and I can’t get enough of them. In October, look for the orchard apple variety called Ludacrisp.

Instead of buying the apples by the box, this Tuesday I bought a bag ($20) of Pixie Crunch. The seller said it contained just over four boxes of apples, so it’s a bargain if your household consumes a lot of apples. Bringing the bag back to the market for an apple refill will subtract $2 from the price.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Sola Gratia Farm offers a good selection of products. If you don’t know what to cook for dinner, this stall is worth getting inspired. Find vegetables grown by Urbana de Sola Gratia at the Saturday and Tuesday markets.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

My new market favorite is lettuce from Kountry Fresh at the Saturday Market. The lettuce is grown in an aquaphonic greenhouse in White Health, Illinois and is picked just before market, so it’s super fresh. My sampler bag ($10) contained four varieties of lettuce: romaine, butter, bibb, and summer crisp. Now that I’ve tasted the lettuce picked in the morning, I’m now obsessed. Luckily the lettuce will be there at the Saturday market for the rest of the month (and at the winter market).

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Triple S Farms sells antibiotic-free and hormone-free beef, chicken, pork and turkey. Meat is sold frozen, so this month is a great opportunity to stock your freezer for the winter. I picked up bacon, chicken breasts, and a sirloin steak last weekend, and I’m a fan. The chicken and steak had good flavor and thawed easily, but the bacon? The bacon from Triple S Farms was absolutely amazing. If you’ve never had bacon from a local farm like Triple S Farms, this is the month to try.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

On Saturdays, right in the middle of the market, try Six Red Chairs Bakery. The French Baker makes many baked goods, but I love the Spicy Molasses Cookies which are made with delicious hygge spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Spicy Molasses Cookies are two for $4 and taste like fall.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

CU markets are still full of delicious finds. Be sure to visit the outdoor farmers’ markets this month, as the market opening in May next year will be long.

Urbana Market at Square Infos

The Urbana Market has been in continuous operation since 1979. The market runs from May 7 to October 29, every Saturday morning from 7 a.m. to noon, rain or shine. It is located at the corner of Illinois and Vine in Urbana.

Payment methods : Cash, credit, debit or SNAP.

SNAP/LINK: Vendors selling LINK-eligible foods accept LINK tokens. Please visit Urbana’s Market at the Square website for details, or the on-site information tent.

Car park: Free parking is available in the parking lots surrounding Lincoln Square Mall and the lot south of Illinois Street. Bike parking is also available at the entrances to the mall and in the bike corral area after entering the market off Illinois.

Pets: Pets are not allowed. Thank you for respecting the rules of the market and leaving your doggie at home.

Social media: You can follow the Market on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Sign up here to receive weekly market emails.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

The Land Connection Champagne Growers Market

The Land Connection Champagne Farmers Market is in its seventh year. The Champaign Market is open on Tuesdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. from May 17. The Champaign Farmers Market will be held in the M parking lot in downtown Champaign in Neil and Washington.

Forms of payment: Pre-order, cash, credit cards, debit cards or SNAP/EBT cards.

SNAP/LINK: All eligible providers accept SNAP benefits through the LINK token program. Please visit The Land Connection website for more details.

Car park: Metered parking is available in the M parking lot or on the Hill Street parking deck.

Pets: Dogs on a leash are welcome.

Social media: Follow The Earth Connection on Facebook, Twitterand Instagram, or see the website for more information.

Top image by Alyssa Buckley.


Comments are closed.