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Farm-to table: Market offers natural alternatives

Gia Berklund

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    From from 7am-12pm every Saturday, the Farmer’s Market lines up local businesses in booths to sell homegrown, natural foods. To complete the hometown atmosphere, a live band plays to the side while shoppers wander from table to table.

    “I’ve always loved the Farmer’s Market. It’s a change in pace from a large store like Walmart and the people are very friendly there. I’ve never had an issue with the quality of a product I’ve purchased there,” shopper Ladonne Obana said.

    Opening in 2003, the market offers local, fresh produce and unique crafts to tourists and locals. As many as 90 vendors offer their products at the market and ensure the authenticity of their product through a specific application process.   

   “We all have to submit an application and pay a daily fee for a space for our booth,” Top o’ the Mount Farm business owner Bart Petray said.

    The market not only provides locals with a S

aturday activity and alternative to supermarkets, but proves to be the main source of income for some local growers.

    “We have a website where we sell our goods and other venues that we sell at from time to time, too, but for the most part, Fort Smith’s market is where we make the majority of our profits. We like selling here as we have a lot of returning customers,” Petray said.

    For newer businesses, the market provides an easy starting point to entrepreneurs looking to broaden their clientele.

    “We sell a lot to local steakhouses and diners, but since we purchased a second greenhouse and have researched different options, [the Farmer’s Market] is our first experience selling to individual people and not another business,” owner of Hometown Harvest, a Poteau-based hydroponic produce business, Kevin Holcomb, said.

Farmers market

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Farm-to table: Market offers natural alternatives