By Joel Phelps
The Clark County Farmer’s Market is a hidden gem of commerce with an array of locally raised produce and meat products, as well as homemade baked goods and an eclectic mix of crafts.
This week, June 12-18, marks National Farmer’s Market Week. Beneath the shaded Farmer’s Market pavilion in Arkadelphia’s Central Park on North 10th Street, half a dozen vendors set up shop early every Wednesday and Saturday.
Among the vendors are Eric and Erica Hughes, husband and wife swine farmers who own Terre Noire Farms. They sell pork products — sausage, chops, roast, Boston butts, “pretty much anything that’s related to a pig” — from their pasture-raised pigs.
There is a steady flow of foot traffic from prospective buyers this morning, and each shopper returns to their vehicle toting a bag of the goods sold at the Clark County Farmer’s Market, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.
On the opposite corner of the market on this Wednesday is Donaldson resident Stacie Highsmith, whose bath and body business, The Herb Square, offers several lines of all-natural hygiene products. Her products include haircare, face care, salves, goat’s milk lotion, specialty soaps and shave soaps. This year she’s introduced a line of dog-care products like flea and tick spray and a spray she guarantees will calm an anxious pet. Highsmith makes all the products she sells by hand, using essential oils and herbs she’s grown herself.
The Clark County Farmer’s Market is open each Wednesday and Saturday from 7 a.m. until noon. The market generally opens in late spring as produce farmers begin harvesting their vegetables, and the market remains open until the vegetable season wanes. There are still vendors needed on Saturdays.
Across from her this morning is Summer Williams, a licensed wildlife rehabilitator who sells driftwood wall art and jewelry. Calling her shop Summer’s Crafty Creations, she sources the driftwood from creeks in the Alpine area, as well as from local rivers. The proceeds from her sales go back to rehabilitating wild animals — mostly birds, but also small mammals — and releasing them back into nature.
On this particular morning the produce stands appear to be a big hit among the shoppers. The Donaldson-based 5K Farm has a steady supply of customers waiting their turn to shop for tomatoes, green beans, peppers, cucumbers, blueberries, homemade jellies and hand-made crafts. The neighboring vendors, Lynn and Deborah Pye, brought a selection of potatoes, okra, herbs, gourds, okra, jams and jellies, home-baked goods and fresh eggs from Pye Farm in Shakertown.
The Clark County Farmer’s Market is a product of a Leadership Clark County class. Catrina Marshall, of Citizen’s Bank, said she anticipates the market will soon be re-introducing the hospitality table, where businesses can set up a booth and provide shoppers free items like coffee while promoting their business message. For more information on becoming a vendor or hosting a hospitality table, contact Marshall at 870-403-3476 or by email at email@example.com.
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