Fi­nal farm­ers mar­ket caps off year of growth

The Weekly Vista - - Front Page - KEITH BRYANT kbryant@nwadg.com

A cool Sun­day marked the end of sec­ond sea­son for the Bella Vista Farm­ers Mar­ket.

“I’m very proud of what we’ve done this year,” mar­ket man­ager Samantha Mosher said, “we’ve grown.”

The main fo­cus, she said, has been get­ting the word out with signs and by so­cial me­dia, among other meth­ods.

The mar­ket has also got­ten more ven­dors, she said, bring­ing a wider ar­ray of goods to the ta­ble. There has been live mu­sic ev­ery week, she said, with lo­cal per­form­ers playing in nu­mer­ous styles for ven­dors and at­ten­dees alike.

One of those per­form­ers, Bella Vista res­i­dent Samantha Hunt, sang and played her gui­tar dur­ing the mar­ket.

“I love playing the farm­ers mar­kets, be­ing part of the com­mu­nity,” she said. “It warms my heart to be a part of this.”

She’s been playing in the area since 2009, she said, and also plays in a band called Honey Shuf­fle.

The mar­ket is espe­cially fun, she said, be­cause she gets to watch peo­ple while she plays. She sees ven­dors barter and trade their goods and it’s not un­com­mon for pro­duce to turn up in her tip bas­ket.

While Hunt played, Keith and Julie Stephens kept an eye on their son, 2-year-old Matthew Stephens, who was wandering around in a mon­key cos­tume.

They wanted to take him

trick-or-treat­ing, Keith Stephens ex­plained, but they also wanted to check out the farm­ers mar­ket, and this let them do both at once.

This is the fam­ily’s sec­ond time at a farm­ers mar­ket, he said, but he ex­pects to come back as soon as the mar­kets open again next year.

“We love it,” he said. “We’re en­coun­ter­ing fruits and veg­eta­bles I’ve never seen be­fore.”

He’s re­cently tried Jerusalem ar­ti­chokes, he said, as well as Thai pep­pers — which proved par­tic­u­larly warm. Stephens said he loves to cook and it’s al­ways fun to ex­per­i­ment with new foods.

It’s also im­por­tant, he said, to ex­pose his son to new and dif­fer­ent foods. With any luck, he said, that could help him be less picky down the road.

“All the veg­eta­bles and stuff look good,” he said. “We’re go­ing to pick some out here in a minute.”

Fur­ther down, Rogers res­i­dent Linda Woods sells home­made cloth­ing along­side paint­ings by her late hus­band, Travis Joe Woods Jr.

“This is my fun job,” she said. “I waited ’til I turned 65 to get a fun job and this is it.”

She loves mak­ing cloth­ing, she said, and the mar­ket pro­vides a pleas­ant place to sell her wares.

She sells her hus­band’s paint­ings, she said, in part to help re­mem­ber him. Af­ter he passed away, she said, she was the only one who saw his art.

“I thought I’d give it a shot and see what other peo­ple think,” she said. “And other peo­ple love it.”

The ma­jor­ity of the sales, she said, go to char­ity, par­tic­u­larly eques­trian char­i­ties. He was a big fan of horses, she ex­plained.

Woods said this is her first year at the Bella Vista mar­ket and she’s en­joyed it.

“I hope other peo­ple will come here, cause they’re miss­ing out if they don’t,” she said.

Keith Bryant/The Weekly Vista

Koua Xiong’s sun­flow­ers were up for sale on the end of his ta­ble at the Bella Vista Farm­ers Mar­ket.

Keith Bryant/The Weekly Vista

Matthew Stephens, 2, went trick-or-treat­ing at the farm­ers mar­ket’s fi­nal week­end while his par­ents, Julie and Keith Stephens, browsed pro­duce.

Keith Bryant/The Weekly Vista

Linda Woods’ home­made cloth­ing, some adorn­ing dolls, was up for sale at the Bella Vista Farm­ers Mar­ket.

Keith Bryant/The Weekly Vista

Samantha Hunt of Bella Vista stands with Hal­loween­themed decor and plays her gui­tar dur­ing the farm­ers mar­ket.

Keith Bryant/The Weekly Vista

Stephanie Hoff­man tries a vir­tual re­al­ity pod, one of this year’s ad­di­tions, dur­ing the farm­ers mar­ket’s last week­end.

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