Fort Smith’s MovieLounge hosted an old-fashioned Farmers Market on Saturday (April 6). Featuring a wide-array of produce, homemade treats and apparel, the event provided market-goers with the opportunity to support local enterprises while enjoying delicious foods and fun activities for the whole family.
A dozen local vendors, including some area farms and ranches set up shop in the MovieLounge’s parking lot. Each showcased their products, which included in-season vegetables, such as winter lettuce and kale, as well as organic, anti-biotic free prime cuts of beef.
In addition to the traditional farmers market selections, the event featured homemade jewelry and clothing, as well as educational children’s books and toys. Local bakers served up a variety of delicious cupcakes, specialty breads and granola.
While browsing, guests dined on delicious brats and grilled corn fresh from the smoker. Cooks from the MovieLounge and from food distributor Ben E. Keith worked the grill as shoppers lined up for lunch.
MovieLounge chef Blythe Beck was also on-hand visiting with guests and vendors. An award-winning chef, Beck is recognized as one of the best in the business. Before coming to MovieLounge to serve as executive chef, Beck starred in the Oxygen reality show, “The Naughty Kitchen with Chef Blythe Beck.” A native Texan, she has worked as the head chef as some of the state’s most famous eateries, and appeared on nationally televised programs such as NBC’s Today show.
Beck was pleased with the response of the crowd and from the vendors present.
“I have been talking with several of our local farms and I am excited because some of them are going to be providing us with food for the restaurant. Investing in our local community is really important to us at MovieLounge,” she said.
The Farmers Market was open to the public and admission was free. Families were welcome, with special activities, including a bounce-around set up for children to enjoy while their parents shopped. Musical entertainment was provided by local group “The Dixie Darlings.”
Wild Things Farm in Pocola was among the vendors included in the event. Known for their seasonal produce, the farm believes local markets help their business.
“It’s good advertising for us,” said owner Cathie Greene. “While it is hard for me to leave the farm and all we have to do there, it is good for us to get out in front of people like this, too.”
The event was the first of its kind at MovieLounge, but organizers plan to make it the first of many to come.
“We hope to do these every quarter,” Beck said. “The whole point is to help us really get to know the community and everything it has to offer. This definitely helps us see all the great products our local farms have so we can incorporate fresh, local products into our menu.”