Courtesy The Bison

The Main Street Searcy Farmers’ Market returned Saturday, April 17, bringing opportunities for local vendors and buyers to enjoy an array of fresh vegetables, bread, seasonal flowers, jams or jellies, and many home good products.

For many people who have lived in Searcy for years, it is a fundamental part of the week and allows time set aside for relaxing with family and friends. Freshman Maribeth Jones has been going since she was about 8 years old.

“It’s definitely an atmosphere of community because you know you are always going to see someone you know,” Jones said. “I think it’s made people more aware of local fresh foods or goods and is a good reminder of how much we do locally.”

Supporting local businesses is a theme for Searcy residents, as well as many Harding students, to stay connected with the community. The farmers’ market is another way for students to be more involved. Junior Katie Beth Sharp began going to the farmers’ market regularly when she moved to Searcy in 2020.

“It definitely made me more connected to people that I wouldn’t know in the area,” Sharp said. “I love going and talking to the vendors. By the end of [last] summer, I knew most of them by name.”

The long term effects of the farmers’ market go beyond the people who shop and also give a platform to the vendors. Anyone can ask for a space in the farmers’ market to sell their goods, from produce to products. It has also given many people a space to raise money for causes close to their hearts.

Joe Sledge is a local to the White County area who has been involved in the farmers’ market for almost two years. He sells produce and bread, known as SourJoe Bread, to locals. His daughter, Megan Sledge, often helps him with his bread and produce.

“His mindset when making the bread is to give back to others with the product and the profit,” Sledge said. “He has made many new connections and fresh friendships because of his involvement at the market.”

Sledge began selling at the farmers market to raise money for a mission trip to Peru and has continued his booth to give to other charities and missions.

“I have seen the farmers’ market do great things in our community,” Sledge said. “It is such a joy to watch people from all over town come together to support small businesses in the way that we do.”

The farmers’ market takes place every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon. and every Tuesday from 3-6 p.m. at the Courthouse Square in Downtown Searcy.