LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — It’s no secret this time of year many of us look forward to shopping at our local farmers’ markets!
Spending your weekend mingling and shopping for delicious local foods— it doesn’t get much better than that.
Well, we might all get a little taste of that soon.
The Bernice Garden was slated to kick off the farmers’ market season on April 19, but work needed to be done on how this could be re-envisioned safely.
Now, Executive Director Lori Ducey said plans are in place and this weekend they are ready to make a comeback.
“We couldn’t just let the farmers’ market stop altogether, we had to figure out some way to keep the community going,” she said.
Comradery with a side of fresh local food, that’s what farmers’ markets serve up every spring.
“This time of year, everyone looks forward to the farmers’ market starting to kick off,” Jay Lee of JV Farms, said.
Ducey said this year that launch had to be a tad later with some creativity mixed in.
“With everything going on with COVID, we couldn’t have a market the way we normally do it where it’s more community, everyone’s close together, the idea to talk and mingle,” she said.
Instead, Ducey said it’s a drive-thru market for pre-ordered items purchased from these 7 different vendors: Park Hill Foods, JV Farms Homestead, Sweet Crumb Bakery, Seven Petals Garden, Geek Eats, Pup Eats Dog Treats, and Hidden Heights Microgreens.
“The farmers will be arranged in the parking lot, so we will have social distancing and distance between them and they’ll be wearing masks and gloves,” she said.
Buyers will come in from Daisy Bates Drive and out onto Main Street.
Vendors like Carlin Baker-Long, owner of Park Hill Foods, will be ready to hand over your goodies when you pull up.
“There are farmers and people who are really dependent on this and they’re hurting because they don’t have a way to get their merchandise to the consumer,” he said.
Farmers like Jay Lee, of JV Farms in Bismarck, get 80% of their sales directly from these markets.
“It’s how we collect money from our farm products and sell the product to the consumer, so it’s extremely important in our life,” he said.
Ducey said the Bernice Garden wants to support small-scale farmers and keep that sense of community alive.
“We wanted to make sure we were doing something to make sure the community knew, we are still here for them. We’re still all in this together and this is how we start,” she said.
The farmers’ market will be Sunday, May 3 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Reach out to each vendor individually to see when to pre-order by.
According to Ducey, the farmers’ market will run this way for Mother’s Day on May 10.
After that, each week the Bernice Garden will re-evaluate to see what is possible.