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Sweet corn season is now.
Festivals for eating ears of the delectable grain abound.
If you are cooking or preserving it at home, here are some ideas.
ATWOOD – The Apple Dumpling Festival gets under way at 3 p.m. Friday.
The festival, which is in its 15th year, will once again offer the Apple Raffle. Only 200 apples will be sold at $5 each for a chance for participants to win half the money collected. The winning apple will be drawn at 9:30 p.m. Saturday. Apples can be purchased at the Chamber of Commerce booth near the main stage.
Bill Bagby calls his business Tiny Greens Organic Farm, but with it he's gone green in big ways.
Foremost among those is the underground cement building in which sprouts and baby micro-greens are grown, some hydroponically, and some in the company's own compost mix.
URBANA – Shirley Splittstoesser's idea of fun may seem like work to some folks.
She loves to cook, then write about cooking and teach it to others.
"Cooking truly has been my hobby," she said.
Growing up on a farm in Minnesota, her idea of a good time was "cooking up a storm. My sister never understood it, but it was fun to me," she said.
MONTICELLO – Monticello Main Street is seeking vendors for its eighth annual Monticello Celebration on Oct. 4 in downtown Monticello.
Main Street is looking for vendors of art, antiques, crafts, pottery, photography, basketry, jewelry, herbal products, candles, garden items, among other items. The vendor hours will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
MAHOMET – Whether you order the quiche, bison burger or chicken pot pie, the dishes on the cafe menu at Burt and Nancy Asbill's Mahomet store, First Fruits Produce, share at least on thing in common: ingredients fresh from the family's 50-acre farm, located just up the road.
The Asbills run what Nancy thinks is the only "food-to-table" cafe in the area. The dishes served at First Fruits Produce use food that is picked daily, allowing the Asbills to offer items such as a vegetarian sandwich made with locally grown veggies, hamburgers served on made-from-scratch buns and chicken pot pie that uses free-range chicken from the family's farm.
MONTICELLO – Community members are lining up in front of the Sager Farms booth to purchase fresh peaches, blueberries and blackberries at the Farmers' Market in Monticello each week.
Other visitors stop to buy a homemade pie or big chocolate chip cookie. Fresh flower bouquets are for sale, and fresh vegetables from squash to tomatoes to eggplant are stacked on tables ready for purchase. The Farmers' Market in Monticello each Thursday is a popular place to stop in after work or to spend a summer afternoon.
MAHOMET – JT Walker's Restaurant and Sports Bar on Main Street in Mahomet is now open.
The staff at JT Walker's will include about 40 employees. Executive Chef Mark Bradford's experience includes running the Little Bear saloon and restaurant in Evergreen, Colo. He also was the youngest executive chef for the Denver Press Club from 2005 to 2006.
With the cost of gas, airfare, food and everything else going north, many Americans are staying put and spending less on entertainment.
That doesn't mean, though, that you have to park yourself in front of a television set. There are plenty of things to do for free in East Central Illinois, among them concerts that would carry a pretty hefty ticket fee in most cities.
With their creaky stairs, coal-fired furnaces and windows open to the elements, railroad towers offered few of the comforts of home.
Sometimes they didn't even have running water.