Arkansas Farmers Market Guide

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Find a Local Farmers Market in AR

Just about everybody knows nowadays that Arkansas farmers markets are among the best places to find great local produce. They're also great places to interact socially, taste test new, fresh ingredients before you buy, and even watch cooking demonstrations and entertainment on most occasions.

Arkansas farmers markets highlight the products from local farms and other agri-businesses, and they also occur in your own home town, so you don't have to journey far to find them. They've been going on for years in some locations, but they've become more popular in the last few years, so you should be able to find one not far from home!

The Benefits of Farmers Markets in Arkansas

The benefits of shopping at your local Arkansas farmers market are many. First off, you are assured the produce and other items are as fresh as they can be, as they come straight from the farm to the market. The majority of crops for sale at these markets are naturally grown, so you know your friends and family won't be eating anything except farm-fresh goodness.

Also, Arkansas farmers markets are good for the environment. Farms contribute oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from the air, which will help reduce global warming, and usually, farmers don't have to drive too far to the market, so the environment gets another boost from using less fuel and contributing a lot fewer emissions into the air.

Often, rates are cheaper at farmers markets, too, because the farmer doesn't have to mark up his prices to make money from a wholesaler, who marks up the prices again prior to them getting to the supermarket. So, you are actually paying less money for a much better product, and who doesn't like that?

These markets benefit Arkansas farmers, as well, given that they have a weekly (or daily) market to attract customers, plus they do not have to ship their products days or even weeks in advance at wholesale prices, so they make a better profit, too. It's always safer to purchase from local AR farms, considering that the money stays in the local economy, and that means more jobs and earnings - all from buying fresh local produce!

Finding Your Local Arkansas Farmers Market

Farmers markets usually run from late May or early June through September or October, based on where you live and your climate. Actually it all depends upon the growing season in your area and when farmers can get their first products to market. Arkansas farmers markets are such a big deal now, that typically local newspapers will print a schedule of markets in your area as the season is about to begin.

Often, you will find a schedule from your local Cooperative Extension or county agricultural board, too. They've become so popular, in fact, that some communities get to enjoy several farmers markets every week, so it pays to shop all of them and choose the ones that provide the produce and other products you like the best.

What to Look for at a Arkansas Farmers Market

You will be sure to find local Arkansas farms offering their wares at good prices, but there are a few things to look out for. Make sure the produce is ripe and hasn't been sitting out in the sun too long, or has been damaged in transport. Most booths will give you a free taste of whatever you're looking at, so you can check out new flavors and crops you might not have had a chance to experience before.

Some farmers may even supply you with recipes and other ideas on how to serve their products, too. At the really big markets, organizers may bring in free entertainment, arts and crafts booths, and other amusements to bring in the crowds, and they may even provide play areas for the kids, too.

Look for other items at your farmers market, too. Sometimes local meat, cheese, and dairy producers bring their wares, and big markets are more like a county fair, with food booths, information booths, and even games for the whole family. So, check out a local Arkansas farmer market or two, and come home with everything you need for a healthy, hearty dinner.