NASHVILLE—Seven Montgomery County residents toured the Southwest Arkansas Farmers’ Market Friday, February 22 and heard first-hand tips on how to make the proposed Montgomery County Outdoor Market a success.
Debra Bolding, market manager for the Howard County project told the group that while location is important, establishing rules for operation and showing what growers can expect will help keep the project on track in the beginning and as the market grows.
Growers will want to be a part of a successful operation and will spread the word. In addition the participation of local residents who bake bread and desserts will add much to the event, she noted.
Creation of a successful farmers market will require a lot of coordination in the early days but will offer rewards to both those marketing produce and products as well as a good place for area residents to purchase locally produced fruits and vegetables. Those fresh items will give a healthy alternative to products packed and shipped into the area.
While the Montgomery County Outdoor Market is one of the goals of ARCO, a three county coalition between Montgomery, Scott and Polk counties, it has been a dream of local organizers for several years. Pat Smith, who is spearheading development of a demonstration garden located on Lucerne St., near the old courthouse annex, said the garden is already being developed.
“We want to show local residents that a good organic, low maintenance garden can be built relatively inexpensively,” Smith noted.
Other projects in Montgomery County will include development of several new festival events as well as the monthly outdoor market, according to Kaye Shrout, county chair of University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.
Shrout, along with Maryanne Davis, Pat Smith, Laura Relic, Brad McGinley, Marge Skinner and Derwood Brett spent time with Bolding, Rita Rector and Jean Ince in Nashville Friday where they also toured the demonstration garden, which Is located at the site of Howard County’s farmers market.
While in Nashville, the group learned of the necessity of having bylaws to ensure that each grower and vendor knows what is expected of him.
All state guidelines on packaging and proper storage of fresh eggs and vegetables will have to be observed. In addition, all baked items as well as jellies will have to be labeled with content information.