The market on top of the mountain is a common phrase in Heber Springs, Arkansas. Over the last few years, it has become a not-so-common experience. This small little market, now known as The Ozark Country Market, has become one of my family’s favorite places to visit. The hidden gem has great offerings all times of the year; this fall was no exception. As my family started our path to the Market, my toddler was quite excited to see the indoor goodies, pumpkins, and what the owner calls her “fluffy-puffy flowers”.
As soon as we arrived, my plans were to start inside and then move to the outdoor display. But once the smallest member of the family saw the flowers, pumpkins, and wagons; there was no going inside. We grabbed a wagon and slowly made our way through the beauty before us. As the wagon squeaked behind we found ourselves touching pumpkins, taking pictures, and kissing flowers (because being gentle to the flowers translated to kissing them for a toddler). The vast choices made it difficult to pick just one flower or just one pumpkin. Finally, we narrowed down our selections and made our way inside.
When we entered the Market, we felt an atmosphere full of love, and family. We were inevitably greeted with a cheerful “howdy, how you doin’?!” On this trip, the owner was there to greet us on our adventure. I felt the warmth of her smile and the happiness of her heart as the folks walked through her squeaky screen door. Part of the reason we included this in our family day had a lot to do with friendship and family love. I have never worried whether my toddler was welcome, as he dominated the tiny shop cart on every visit. I know this place cares about my experience; not just my purchase.
I believe one of the reasons I go so often is to catch my own version of the owner’s musical gifting. I have heard tales of the entire Market, customers included, singing “Build Me Up Buttercup” as the owner pulls the red guitar right off the wall! This visit, I left the music opportunity on the wall for there were not enough voices beside my own. I was more focused on my fluffy-puffy flowers on the porch and the goodies to browse.
Once inside, as always, my son ran for the child-sized cart. He returned telling me he wanted to help mommy shop. I began looking through all the Market had to offer with my family by my side, but I soon found myself alone, as they departed toward the old-fashioned candy shelves. I was not bothered being left alone to wander. Being someone who has grown up on a farm and produced everything from honey to crafts, the Market is a treat for me. I value local and they only carry Arkansas items and Amish goods.
The owner has handpicked each product, whether it be a food item, houseware or artisan-ware. She starts in the town of Heber Springs and includes quality items from all over our wonderful state. As I was looking through the assembled gift baskets, soaps, candles and the healthier goods, the corner of my eye caught a glimpse of a cart overflowing with goodies! Our smallest shopper had selected way too many candies including his favorites; gummy bears and tiny marshmallows shaped like moons and stars. The cart had begun to burst with the toddler selections and I could do nothing but laugh. I slowly made my way over to reign in the boys of the family!
Once we reunited, we continued to look through the Market discussing all the various talents our state possesses, and completely forgot about our wagon sitting on the porch! Time had somehow slipped away inside these walls. Our family was laughing with fellow shoppers as we enjoyed each other’s company. If time allowed, I could spend hours upon hours, and still miss some of the treasures. We snapped a family picture in front of the sweet-tooth section.
The Ozark Country Market has a deep history. As someone who loves stories, I stuck around to hear the humble beginnings. If you slow down enough and desire to see hints of history, you will find the hidden tales. For once upon a time, “Van’s Fruit Market” was well-known by the locals as a place to find canned goods, dried fruits, and flowers. As a tribute to the beginnings, a nice little hint can be found on the 1941 Chevrolet beauty resting in the front. Not only does the rare wartime truck provide an eye-catching representation of the owner’s passions; but she has also paid homage to the builder of the Market with the existing signage on the door. It’s a classic tribute to be forever part of the Market.
After we made our purchases, we relaxed on the porch to watch the fellow shoppers. We tore into the ‘mallows and gummy bears as we relaxed. We met new folks coming from faraway places. It was quite an adventure in our small town and another fun trip to the Ozark Country Market.
We went in search of those cute pumpkins and the “fluffy-puffy flowers” fed “liquid love” by the owner, the Ozark Mountain Girl. But we are overjoyed with anticipation of the holiday season. The Ozark Country Market brings Christmas cheer in its own unique fashion, with the experience on the forethought of every decision and décor selection. Our most recent visit revealed the completion of the holiday happiness including snowmen, garland and trees. If you did not have the time this fall to sneak off to the market on top the mountain in Heber Springs, I do hope you will make plans this upcoming Christmas Season. Feast your eyes and fill your ears. Come without an agenda, come without a plan, just come. Fill baskets, wagons or just your hands; but do not forget to request the red guitar to come down from the wall to bring the Christmas classics to life. You will more than likely find us wandering through the Arkansas talent and treats as the cart overflows with tasty selections.
“I am not in the business of selling food or flowers, I am in the business of making people happy.”
~Kathy Brown, Co-owner, The Ozark Mountain Girl