Sunday, March 06, 2011

Spinach, kale, lettuces, oh my!

Last fall, I don't think I ever really sufficiently explained to that old man running the truck farm on Hwy. 19 out of Eminence how grateful I was for his incredible produce. I bought boxes of his potatoes, his greens, his cantaloupe, tomatoes, onions, whatever else he sold, all for a song. I should have paid him in ways other than currency--like Goatsbeard Farms chevre, an 06 Norton, or that fancy chocolate made here in town that I can't afford for myself (but have bought as gifts). I'm a sucker for truck farms, and the man on Hwy 19 sucked me in with his plywood signs. I follow any signs painted in cheap acrylics or tempera paint that read: "Tomatoes," "Collards," "Fresh Trout." I pull over every time, and I pay with a stupid check riddled in all of my personal information because I don't wait tables anymore and, therefore, never truck in cash anymore. I even pay for Forest Service campsites with stupid checks, even though as a part-time cashier I know what an utter headache and hassle checks are to process. I need to wait tables again, (the money's better anyway) or work a coffeeshop. Cash trumps checks anyday, but I could adapt to a barter system like the one I subsisted on in graduate school...

Mid-March brings the beginning of farmer's market season! Undoubtedly ushering in the coming of spring more than tornadoes across the Central Plateau or the peepers and chorus frogs in farm ponds, those truckbeds full of boxes of hothouse lettuces, fresh eggs, cheese, spinach, hard squash and trout, they all signal spring.

Farmer's Markets are now common across the Ozarks, as most communities have them at least one day a week, sometimes twice, from May-October. Many farmer's markets aren't registered with the official Dept. of Agriculture site, or advertised online, since a lot of them are like a pickup game in basketball, always serendipitous when you drive through town on a Wednesday afternoon or a Saturday morning, but not well known outside the local area. Most farmer's markets ramp into gear in late April when everything from spinach to morels can be purchased. At least one is open year round: Stockton on the Springfield Plateau:

Stockton: Saturdays 9-12, open year round at the Southern Trades Building

Early to mid-April openings include the following:

Ava: Saturdays 7-12, Ava Square

Cabool: Wednesdays 1-6, Gateway Park

Carthage: April 3-October, Wednesdays and Saturdays, 7 am in Carthage Square

Dora: Saturdays 8-12, Hwy. 181 next to Roy's

Fair Grove: Wednesdays 3:30-7, Wommack Mill

Mountain View: Saturdays 7-12, West Park

Ozark: Thursdays 5 pm to sellout, Ozark Square

Rockaway Beach: Saturdays 8-2, Hwy. 176 E

Springfield: Greater Springfield Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays 8:30, Sunset and Glenstone

Springfield: Commercial Street Tuesdays 4-7, Saturdays 8-12, Jefferson and Commercial

West Plains: Saturdays 7-12, Wednesdays 11:30-4, Washington and 2nd St.

Willard: Saturdays 1-4


Sylvia said...

Thanks for the list of farmers' markets. There are also markets in Eureka Springs (Thursdays) and Fayetteville, Arkansas (Saturdays; opens April 23).

Allison Vaughn said...

Eureka Springs and Fayetteville have everything--good restaurants, good wine lists, sandstone woodlands. Arkansas Ozarks are terrific.