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Statewide Homegrown 0

Visit a Farmers’ Market Before the Season Ends

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School has started, and leaves are beginning to change colors, signs that there are just a few more weeks before local farmers’ markets close for the season.

Farmers' Market Bentonville Arkansas

This past weekend we visited one of my favorite farmers’ markets in the state on the Bentonville Square. While there, I thought to myself, “why do I love this so much?” As we walked around, I thought of eight great reasons to enjoy a farmers’ market before the season ends. There are just a few more weeks to spread some local love.

1. Buy from LOCAL farmers. Local farmers have long been the economic backbone of most communities in Arkansas. With agriculture being the No. 1 economic driver of the state, farming is not going anywhere. Buying from a local farmer drives local economies and makes a lasting local investment.

2. Connect with friends. A local farmers’ market is a great place to run into friends or plan a meet-up. Whether you establish an intentional interaction, or it occurs organically, slow down, introduce your family to each other and share the conversation. Maybe even stick around a little longer and let the children play at a nearby park. Most rural towns host their farmers’ markets at a local park or community center, so a park is often nearby.

3. Enjoy a great cup of coffee. My first stop at a farmers’ market is always a coffee spot. And thankfully, so many options usually abound. This time it was a mobile cart with nitro cold brew and dairy-free cream. But walking a farmers’ market is much more enjoyable with a cup of joe in hand.

4. Experience good food from LOCAL vendors. Next is something for breakfast after a cup of coffee, and the farmers’ market has so many options. A breakfast burrito is usually my preference, but cinnamon rolls, energy bars, handmade bread, or even tortillas are great options.

5. Buy handmade Christmas gifts. It’s not too early to start Christmas shopping, and unique handmade wooden and leather gifts, soaps, home decor, or furniture are all great options. Local makers often have items that could fill stockings or buy a unique gift for that hard-to-buy-for person on your list.

6. Try a new vegetable. Here is your big chance! Maybe it’s a bitter melon, colored carrots or peppers, fresh herbs, a random leafy green or a crazy mushroom. Usually, you can buy one item or a small bunch of something without maxing out your produce budget. Use this unique opportunity to ask the farmer how to cook with your new treasure or adequately prepare it.

7. Meet a LOCAL artist. Find great things to decorate your home and get ready to host guests for the holidays. There is nothing more personal than choosing a piece of art for your home or office and exchanging it from the hands of the artist himself. Ask the artist about their work. Does it have a story or unique inspiration?

8. Get outside with your family and dog. This is the best reason to go to the farmers’ market. Make the most of beautiful weather and chill mornings. Make memories and build traditions. This everyday stuff is the thing children remember most as adults.

Do you have a great farmers’ market in your community? Tell us about it in the comments. And search here for a list of farmers’ markets in your area.

Check out some farms and farmers we love:

Cover image courtesy of Main Street Searcy Farmers’ Market.

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Keisha (Pittman) McKinney lives in South Arkansas with her husband and sweet Boxer, Bailey and one-year-old son! Keisha is passionate about connecting people and building community, seeking solutions to the everyday big and small things, and encouraging others through the mundane, hard, and typical that life often brings. She put her communications background to work as a former Non-profit Executive Director, college recruiter and fundraiser, and Digital Media Director at a large church in Northwest Arkansas. Now she is using all of those experiences through McKinney Media Solutions and her blog @bigpittstop which includes daily adventures, cooking escapades, #bigsisterchats, the social justice cases on her heart, and all that she is learning as a #boymom!

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