Getting Ready For The Farmers Markets

JONESBORO (KAIT) Your local farmers market is still several weeks away from opening but its never to early to plan for the season.  The Arkansas Farmers Market Association held it's annual meeting today in Jonesboro.

Melissa Petersen is big on farmers markets. "It's an event we're starting with. Going to a farmers market is something fun to do on a Saturday or Wednesday or whenever they happen."

And she is all about the farmer selling more than just tomatoes.

"People buy from people not from companies, so I want the farmer to take every advantage of them being able to sell themselves to differentiate their product, to extend their growing season to specializing to educating their customer."

Petersen is one of several presenters today at the annual Arkansas Farmers Market Association meeting.

Presentations to over 100 participants ranged from growing specialty flowers to showcasing how your product looks in your booth.

The AFMA was organized to link up farmers markets all across the state.

Richard Klerk, Secretary Treasurer, AFMA, "Each one is very independent in the past but a lot of us have common issues and concerns that as a group the association hopes to address some of those and has addressed some of the issues. "

Petersen encourages farmers and customers to use the markets with five reasons to buy local.

"It tastes better, it supports farm families, it promotes a clean environment it promotes food diversity and it ensures we have food in the future."

AFMA members and markets are bringing locally grown food to the consumer. A step that is right in time with today's green philosophy.

Petersen, "People are thinking green now, it's a buzzword it's in peoples consciousness. Lets take advantage of it and eating local is the first and easiest step to living a green lifestyle."

So when should you look for your local farmers market to open up? I'm told it's right around strawberry harvest time.

The farmers market site in Jonesboro is located at the corner of Aggie Road and Stadium by Arkansas State University.