Editor’s note: Urbana’s Market at the Square is a sponsor of Chambanamoms.
Urbana’s Market at the Square opens for the season on the first Saturday of May. We got the scoop from Casey Shelton, a Champaign mother of three, on what it’s like bringing kids to the farmers market, and what shopping at the farmers market means to her.
Q: You are a busy mom of three kids, but still find time to make it to Urbana’s Market at the Square. What brings you out on Saturday morning?
We love doing things like this as a family and we think it’s important to teach our kids where our food comes from. There’s something for everyone! The balloons and donuts are a hit with our two oldest! It’s also a great time to get our food-truck fix.
Q: What’s your trick to get three kids in the car and to the farmers market? There’s got to be a trick, right?
Ha! They love going to the market! No tricks needed — just tell them we are going. They get to eat while we browse, so that’s fun for them. Although our oldest is 5-going-on-16 and has started enjoying sleeping in … so I suspect we’ll hear more and more complaints about early morning trips from him!
Q: What are your “must haves” when you shop Urbana’s Market at the Square?
Tomatoes. Always tomatoes. My absolute favorite thing is homegrown cherry tomatoes. Of course, the food trucks are a must!
Q: How do you incorporate local food into your cooking and please the whole family?
We purchase a lot of our vegetables from the market. I’m hoping this is the year we get our meat and eggs from there as well! We love to sauté and roast the vegetables we get from the market. The kids love them and it feels good knowing they are eating healthy and we know the food is grown locally.
This year our 3-year-old will understand more about the process of how we get our food. This is about the time we started this with our oldest son. We get to show him tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, etc, and explain this is what ketchup, fries, pickles look like before they are made into these other food items they like. It’s really eye opening for them!
Q: What’s something you currently want but cannot find at Urbana’s Market at the Square?
Kolaches. When we lived in Texas we lived close to a Czech community and we were spoiled on good kolaches. Perhaps surprisingly, kolaches are a pretty big thing in some parts of Texas.
Q: You come to Champaign via Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas. How does Urbana’s Market at the Square hold up to the farmers markets in the west?
The farmers’ markets in the towns we came from are extremely small. We personally know the farmers; my husband grew up with their children. There are definitely no food trucks and only a few vendors selling non-food items. This is one of the great things about the C-U area’s “little-big” micro-urban environment!
Learn more about Urbana’s Market at the Square at their new website and be sure to check out their Frequently Asked Questions page to get the 4-1-1 on the important things that parents need to know when children are in tow (like where are the bathrooms, what’s the parking situation, and how to pay).