FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Every Saturday in the Historic Downtown Fayetteville Square, thousands gather to support local farmers and vendors, along with enjoying live music and food trucks.
In a few weeks, it will become the Holiday Market with additional holiday-themed decorations, crafts, baked goods, and much more. On this week’s Adventure Arkansas, 5NEWS Meteorologist Michelle Trotter shows us what you can expect.
Since 1973, The Fayetteville Farmers Market has been bringing Northwest Arkansas fresh, locally grown produce and locally made goods every Saturday in Fayetteville Square.
“It wasn’t always this big, you know, right now we can handle up to 70 vendors on the square, the busiest time of the year. They started with 6 pick-up trucks and a parking lot somewhere, then eventually the partnership with the city of Fayetteville allows us to be here in a public space,” says Teresa Maurer, who is the Market Manager for the Fayetteville Farmers Market.
They have a variety of different things at the Farmers Market including fruits and vegetables, flowers, artwork, fly traps, live music on every corner, plus if you get cold, you can grab a hot coffee while you walk around. You can even bring your furry friend with you, too.
Maurer says every vendor is either from Washington, Benton, Carroll, or Madison counties.
“We have a board that’s eleven people elected from the market members, so you actually have to apply and go through a review a process to be a member of our market, so if it’s a farm, I have to go out a make a farm visit, verify that it’s all local because we are 100% local,” Maurer explains.
On a good weekend, Maurer says the Farmers Market brings in about 5-10,000 people to the square, which really has helped rejuvenate the area.
“The dollars you spend here circulate in NW Arkansas, it’s not leaving the area, you know our makers that are buying the materials, they are buying materials locally, the farmers, you know that money goes back to help them with their costs,” Maurer says, “so we have gotten estimates that the dollars spent at the farmer’s market may turn over as much as 4 or 5 times in the community.”
To celebrate the holiday season, starting the first weekend of December, the Farmers Market will transition into their annual Holiday Market.
“Our farms that may not have products this time of year will often bring baked goods or crafts or other things like that, so I would say there is a higher proportion of crafts at that time, that’s also the best time of year for our local makers to actually do good business so I would say if you were walking around on a normal Saturday, you would see you know 2/3 farm and food-related and 1/3 crafts, but in December there will be a little bit you know headed more in the craft direction,” Maurer says, “The other thing is that there is more Christmas themed items, so we have a homemade, handmade, wreath maker, you know we have people that bring more decorations in line with the holiday, so that’s kind of what makes it distinct, some of our bakers will do more Christmas related based cooking.”
And if you can’t make it out to the square on Saturdays, there’s a new online market that is open year-round.
“So when this market closes down on the 3rd Saturday of December, our online market will keep going, so that’s now a year-round service, which is really great, you order from Sunday to Wednesday, you pick up from the Fayetteville Library on Thursday afternoon, so it’s very convenient, people have still appreciated not having you know less contact,” Maurer says.
To learn more about the Farmers Market and their online market, click HERE.