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A farmers market has opened in Pea Ridge.

Opened for the first market Sunday, the market sold out of produce fairly quickly. The organizers plan to be open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays and Sundays on the grass north of the recycle bins behind EZ Mart off Slack Street.

Organizers Helen Williams and Cody Wise joined forces to form Farmers on the Ridge to host the farmers market.

"We had a pretty steady stream of people driving by Sunday," Williams said of the first event. She said both she and Wise raise produce. She makes ceramic items and Wise also sews and crochets.

"I do arts and crafts," Williams said. "We're really wanting to encourage people to shop locally. Make sure their voices are heard over large industries."

Some of the guidelines for vendors are in deference to the current state guidelines about the covid-19 pandemic. Hand sanitizer is available. Face masks must be worn by vendors when working with customers. Booths will be spaced at least three feet apart.

"We want to make sure if you come to market, that you feel safe enough," Williams said. "We're not asking customers to wear masks, but we are asking our vendors to."

The market was established to support activities in the Pea Ridge area that foster a sense of community and economic growth. Organizers hope to provide quality local products and promote continuing development of the farmers market and, by extension, the city of Pea Ridge.

The group hosts a Facebook page -- Farmers on the Ridge -- and is available by email at [email protected]

The market is "family friendly," Williams said, and said appropriate behavior is expected. There will be no profanity, smoking, foul language or other rude behavior permitted. Vendors are required to wear shoes and shirts at all times, according to the code of conduct.

There are three vendor categories:

• General Vendors: Those selling fresh garden produce and other items not considered food products including fruits, vegetables, garden produce, flowers, arts & crafts, herbs, soaps, body care, bath products, seeds, plants and pet products (not all inclusive);

• Cottage Food Producers: which are "home based" vendors selling food products cooked and prepared in their kitchen and meeting the special requirements established by the Arkansas Department of Health, such as baked goods, breads, rolls, biscuits, sweet breads, muffins, cakes (birthday, wedding, anniversary, etc), pastries, cookies, candy, fruit butters, canned jams or jellies, fruit pies; and

• Temporary Food Establishments: vendors selling manufactured or prepared food products and which require a special permit and are subject to special requirements by the Arkansas Department. It is the vendor's responsibility to ensure compliance with the ADH rules/regulations. Examples include: Fresh or dried meat or meat products including jerky, canned fruits, vegetables, vegetable butters, salsas etc., kolaches with meats, canned pickled products such as corn relish and sauerkraut, raw seed sprouts, bakery goods which require any type of refrigeration such as cream, custard or meringue pies and cakes or pastries with cream cheese icings or fillings, milk and dairy products including hard, soft and cottage cheeses and yogurt, fresh fruits dipped or coated in chocolate or similar confections; fresh vegetables, and juices made from fresh fruits or vegetables, ice or ice products, barbeque sauces and ketchups, focaccia-style breads with vegetables or cheeses, chocolate covered graham crackers, rice krispy treats, dried pasta, sauerkraut, relishes, salsas, sorghum, lemonade, juices, hot chocolate or similar beverages. (not all inclusive). Questions about requirements for specific food items should be directed to the Benton County Health Department at 479.986.1300.

"We really hope to attract more vendors and provide good, local produce for residents of the area," Williams said.


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