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Monday, December 22, 2014, 2:34 a.m.
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Focus on freshness

Batesville farmers market opens in historic downtown

By Angela Spencer

This article was published June 12, 2014 at 12:00 a.m.

cheryl-anderson-owner-and-operator-of-garden-girl-farm-fresh-produce-and-more-is-shown-with-a-variety-of-produce-at-her-stand-off-batesville-boulevard-anderson-is-one-of-the-vendors-participating-in-the-main-street-farmers-market-in-batesville-in-its-inaugural-season

Cheryl Anderson, owner and operator of Garden Girl Farm Fresh Produce and More, is shown with a variety of produce at her stand off Batesville Boulevard. Anderson is one of the vendors participating in the Main Street Farmers Market in Batesville in its inaugural season.

In a combination of revitalizing Batesville’s historic downtown area and celebrating local farmers and artisans, the new Main Street Farmers Market will be held throughout the summer and fall this year.

The market will open the 2014 season Saturday at the pocket park on Main Street. Vendors will be out between 8 a.m. and noon, and the market will continue the second Saturday of every month through November.

Cheryl Anderson, owner and operator of Garden Girl Farm Fresh Produce and More, is one of the individuals who has been working toward a farmers market in Batesville. Anderson delivers organic vegetables such as tomatoes, corn, okra and eggplant to various locations in Batesville, but the market will provide a way to bring more vendors together while attracting people to downtown.

“The pocket park gives us an opportunity to celebrate local farmers,” Anderson said. “This is a dream that is coming true. It’s a good feeling.”

The farmers market will give shoppers a variety of food and art. In some cases, it will reintroduce people to the downtown area. Joel Williams, executive director of Main Street Batesville, said both of those elements are important to the revitalization efforts downtown.

“It’s not just about getting people to the area,” Williams said. “It’s also about giving the people a good product.”

The mission of Main Street Batesville is to “promote the community of Batesville and citizens’ quality of life by maintaining and enhancing the historic downtown business district and by encouraging the preservation and revitalization of that district,” according to the organization’s Facebook page, and while the farmers’ market is not a Main Street Batesville event, it works into the organization’s mission by bringing people in and giving them good products that highlight local vendors.

“In terms of revitalization, this is something where people can go to historic downtown and get what they need at the farmers market, but then they might see some of the shops and restaurants downtown and say, ‘Wow, we haven’t been there in a while,’” Williams said.

Some vendors already have committed to be part of the market, Anderson said, and it will include locally grown no-spray organic vegetables and fruits, as well as local pastured chickens, beef, pork and dairy. Aside from food choices, the market will feature art, jewelry, music and children’s activities.

Anderson said it is important to ensure that the food items offered at the market are of good quality.

“There will be an agreement that questions what your practices are,” she said of the food vendors. “We’re going to go look at the farms.”

Of course, meeting farmers at the market gives shoppers an opportunity to ask questions about specific growing practices, as well as about living conditions for livestock.

“Getting to know your farmers is so important,” Anderson said.

In addition to food vendors and artisans, a variety of entertainment will be featured throughout the season, including music, free early-morning yoga sessions and cooking demonstrations.

In the spirit of celebrating historic downtown Batesville, the Batesville Area Arts Council will have its gallery open on farmers-market Saturdays. The gallery is at 246 E. Main St., and times and gallery events will be listed at www.batesvilleareaartscouncil.org.

Local growers and artisans who want more information on becoming a vendor or offering activities may call Jean Larson at (208) 869-1445.

Staff writer Angela Spencer can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or aspencer@arkansasonline.com.

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