We are so lucky here in Arkansas that, no matter where you live, you’re probably not very far from a source for fresh produce and other farm fresh goodies. Even if you live in one of our larger cities, farmers markets set up shop a couple of days during the week (usually Tuesday and Saturday) from April through October, and the freshest picked of nature’s bounty is brought just about to your doorstep!
But even without farmers markets, you can often find produce stands along our rural highways, as well as you-pick-em farms and orchards – you can’t get any fresher than that!
Arkansas boasts several hot spots for growing particularly delicious fruit and vegetables. Towns nearby put on festivals around harvest time highlighting the best of the season’s crops.
- Our growing season starts off with a bang with the Cabot Strawberry Festival in April.
- Then there’s the Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival in Warren and the Purple Hull Pea Festival (and World Championship Rotary Tiller Race) in Emerson in June.
- The Johnson County Peach Festival (the oldest festival in state) is in Clarksville and the Altus Grape Fest in July.
- The first week of August has two watermelon festivals – one in Cave City and the other in Hope, as well as the Tontitown Grape Festival.
- The Arkansas Apple Festival in Lincoln AR (NWA) and the Weiderkehr Weinfest are held in early October.
Pick Your Own
This Arkansas.com page lists the U-Pick Farms all around the state, and I’m happy to let them update the links here so I don’t have to! Here’s another site provided by farmerdirect2you.com with some other options. And the granddaddy of them all, pickyourown.org, has listings for farms in other states besides Arkansas, if that interests you!
Local Farmers Markets
As far as established farmers markets in the larger cities – there are way too many to list here, and you probably already know where they are in your local area. (In case you’re curious, here’s a terrific website, Arkansas Grown, that lists many of them as well as other whole food sources all over the state!)
We are already more than halfway through this year’s growing season, but there’s still a lot of good eating left to come. I encourage you to #shoplocal #buylocal and support your local farming operation. Nobody said it better than Paul Harvey in his “So God Made The Farmer” tribute. Thank a farmer today!