Driving through Arcadia recently, you might have seen a sign and some preparation for the “Arcadia Farmer’s Market.” It’s just west of the Round Barn at Highway 66 and Division Street. The Arcadia Farmer’s Market opens Saturday, June 9.
It signals the promise of a Route 66 corridor Farmer’s Market Tour for towns east of Oklahoma City, including Arcadia, Luther and Wellston. Each town is planning Farmer’s Markets to give local gardeners and small farmers and producers a place to sell and have the wider community visit and enjoy fresh and local produce.
In Arcadia, vendor space is avaialble for 10 x 10 booth spaces for Oklahoma resdients who provide their own tables and chairs. Canopies will be provided. Call Lori Seagraves for more information at 405-226-0346 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
When the Arcadia Farmer’s Market opens Saturday, guests can expect to shop for locally-grown vegetables, herbs, plants, homemade ice cream, Amish products, lemonade and baked goods, organizers said.
“I have wanted to do something attractive and beneficial for the Town of Arcadia on this corner for some time,” said Linda Simonton, one of the organizers.
The Arcadia Farmer’s Market is slated to be open every Saturday from 8 am – 1 pm through October 27, 2018, organizers said.
Meanwhile, down the road, Wellston and Luther are organizing Farmer’s Markets. According to the Oklahoma Agritourism Department, there is room for all.
“We are far from seeing saturation in Farmer’s Markets,” said Meriruth Cohenour, Oklahoma Agritourism Coordinator. She said that many smaller communities that are close together will coordinate their efforts to maximize the opportunity for everyone, and accommodate local producers.
She said the state’s most recent data is from 2014 but at that time, the economic impact of the Oklahoma Agritourism industry was $64 million. Cohenour said it keeps growing with about 400 attractions state-wide, from Farmer’s Markets, to guided hunts to wineries, festivals and more.
When it comes to farming, many factors come into play to dictate when fresh vegetables and fruit are ready, despite our best-laid plans. There’s rain or lack of rain, pest control, having time to pick and sell, and other challenges. Isn’t that what makes it fun? It’s worth the effort as more and more Oklahomans are supporting eating local for freshness and nutritional value. Our local towns are getting in on the growing trend by giving our local gardeners and farmers a stage to sell their produce while sharing our smalltown way of life with those in the “big city.”
The Wellston Farmer’s Market is scheduled to start on June 16 and be open every other week. Details about the Luther Farmer’s Market at Josephine’s Cafe will be announced soon.
Cohenour said that the best way to promote Farmer’s Markets is through social media, cross promotion (“You talk about our Farmer’s Market and I’ll talk about yours!”) and good old word-of-mouth advertising. We would humbly add, there’s also notifying your local news source as well!
There is much room to grow in Agritourism especially in the sector regarding growing local foods. “We are working on a project for 2019 that will help connect producers with consumers that are wanting to buy local food. More on that to come this winter hopefully,” said Cohenour.
The Market Development division of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry has several programs that can help new producers find the resources they need to be successful. OK Grown is specific to farmers markets. Made In Oklahoma serves companies that have created a product such as BBQ sauce, yogurt, soap, salsa etc., and Oklahoma Agritourism is available for those who are inviting the public onto their property to experience agriculture.