25 May Morrilton farmers market opens June 4
Main Street Morrilton’s First Thursday Farmers Market will start the 2020 season with a drive-through market from 4 to 7 p.m. June 4 in the city’s lot on the 100 block of Commerce Street in Downtown Morrilton.
New this year is the acceptance of funds provided by the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
The market planning committee has worked during the off-season to obtain eligibility in the SNAP retailer program, a long process that has included many training sessions and extensive research. The committee’s lead resource on SNAP education came from Conway County Extension Agent Shannon Autrey, who also served on the committee last year. “We are especially excited to accept SNAP benefits at our market now since so many in our community are experiencing economic hardship due to Covid-19,” said Autrey, a registered dietitian.
Committee Chair Kara Jones also expressed her excitement about the market returning for a second season. “The community has embraced our unique market, helping it to grow and thrive throughout the 2019 season,” she said. “It became an outlet for volunteering, education and community fellowship, which makes Downtown Morrilton shine.”
Current vendors who have committed to the June 4 market include Cedar Rock Acres, Green Acres Atkins, Big D Beef, Motown Cooking Mama, and Handmade and Homegrown. Shoppers can make purchases at the market or view vendor menus beforehand on the Facebook event page, First Thursday and Main Street Farmers’ Market, and pre-order items based on vendor participation. Menus and pre-order information will be posted as made available by vendors. Vendor applications are still open at mainstreetmorrilton.org.
Due to restrictions because of Covid-19, the June 4 farmers market will feature only local produce and farm items, locally-prepared food products and plants producing edible parts. The committee hopes craft vendors will be able to return for the July market if government guidelines allow. All markets are rain-or-shine events.
A market map will be posted to the Facebook event page the week of June 4. The committee’s plan is to have one point of entry and one exit. The City has permitted the temporary closing of Commerce Street to through traffic during market hours. Farmers’ market customers will be directed to enter the market at the intersection of Commerce and Moose streets and exit onto Division Street. Shoppers will be guided to the Express Lane for pre-order/pre-paid or given a menu of vendor items and prices and sent to the main drive-through lane. Walkers are also welcome to walk through the market in the vehicle lane. Walk-up customers must wear a mask, and all market visitors are encouraged to wear a mask for added safety.
Before approaching vendors, patrons will pass an information booth where they can ask any questions, obtain SNAP tokens by running their card, or run a debit or credit card for tokens to use same as cash needed. Autrey added, “Since the market itself was able to become a SNAP retailer, individual vendors will be able to offer their food items to SNAP participants without having to apply individually. This should make for a simple and positive experience for both shoppers and vendors.”
The First Thursday Farmers’ Market is hosted by Main Street Morrilton, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting Downtown Morrilton as the hub of community life, to instilling a spirit of community through various events, and to promoting historical awareness, preservation and renovation. Main Street Morrilton operates under the direction of Main Street Arkansas’ Arkansas Downtown Network Program.
For more information, visit mainstreetmorrilton.org or follow Main Street Morrilton on Facebook.