Saturday, August 31, 2013

Sustainable Saturday - Fayetteville Arkansas Farmers Market

Today, on our vacation in the southeastern state of Arkansas, we visited the downtown Fayetteville, AR farmers market that is celebrating its 40th birthday.

It was the first farmers market I had ever visited, back in - do I dare admit it? 1981.

It is still going strong, unlike the downtown farmers market in Binghamton, New York, where I work. Sometimes I wonder:  what will our future be, in Binghamton?

Binghamton, take careful notes.  When I first worked in Fayetteville in 1981, its population was 36,600 and Binghamton's (which I didn't move to until the mid 1980's) was 55,860.

Now, in 2013:  Fayetteville 76,900.  Binghamton:  47,376.  There are many reasons for this, but that would take an entire post (or more than one) to blog about. 

One of the things Fayetteville is doing right is their farmers market, which was voted #1 market in its category in 2012.  Fayetteville has a town square and this market went all the way around. (It's a 3 day a week market, incidentally, plus a fourth day in another location).

Some items for sale were not surprising at all, here at the end of August.
Greens (although lemon grass wouldn't have been sold in 1981-nor Thai basil.)

Tomatoes would have been sold - but not heirlooms, including the Arkansas Traveler (not pictured).

Peppers (not just as many colors)
The musical entertainment was no surprise.
But this was.  It was actually a complete, but pleasant, surprise to see who was selling a lot (not all of) the produce, because this was not part of the rural scene in Arkansas back in 1981.  It made me so happy to see that.

We enjoyed talking to several of the vendors.  And, what we found was, Binghamton has a lot to learn from Fayetteville, Arkansas. 

It must, or it won't survive.

3 comments:

  1. What a fabulous farmer's market...and wonderful that it is held 3days a week! That can only mean it is fantastically well supported. Huzzah!

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  2. I love the colourful selection of local produce! How wonderful for farmers!

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  3. Keep going. Binghamton will get there in the end. Persevernce, bloody mindedness and sheer seat of the pants luck are all you need :)

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