COVID-19 affects opening for Northwest Arkansas farmers markets

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 1,320 views 

Farmers markets in the four largest cities in Northwest Arkansas are not expected to open as usual in light of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, including the Springdale Farmers Market that was planned to open May 2.

“Our market is very heavily produce-driven, and 100% of the produce is locally-grown in Washington, Benton, Madison and Carroll counties,” said Carol Butler, market manager. “Although many of our vendors have greenhouses, the majority of our produce is not ready for market until the first of May. Also, we have traditionally opened the market on the same weekend as the Cinco de Mayo festival at The Jones Center.”

But with The Jones Center closed through May 28, the market has considered opening at other locations. The opening is to be announced, Butler said.

Farmers markets are pivoting to a virtual market and providing curbside pickup, and some allow customers to order via mobile app.

The Bentonville Farmers Market has tentatively delayed its opening until May 2 because of the pandemic, but customers can use the Downtown Bentonville Inc.’s Farmers Market App to order products from the market. Product sales and use of the app rose significantly in February and March.

Customers who complete online purchases can pick up orders at the Downtown Bentonville Inc. office at 102 E. Central Ave. Customers can remain in their vehicles, text when they arrive and wait for a runner to deliver their order.

The Downtown Rogers Farmers Market also has postponed its opening because of COVID-19, and the division of the Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce offers a mobile app to allow customers to purchase items online and pick them up at a drive-thru location at 120 W. Poplar St., adjacent to the Rogers Historical Museum, from 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursdays.

The Fayetteville Farmers Market in downtown is postponed until at least April 25, but the city of Fayetteville noted that date is subject to change. Customers are encouraged to complete their orders online. The farmers market’s winter location at Evelyn Hills Shopping Center remains open Saturdays.