Farmers markets to open

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Organizers for one area farmers’ market have an answer to the late spring, incorporating crafting and educational sessions with the sale of produce and poultry.

Chester Farmers’ Market and Poultry Swap opens today from 8 a.m. to noon, for its second full market season.

Vendor fees already had been nixed as a way to entice more gardeners and small farmers to join the out-of-the-way market, and hot breakfast items are available as something different for customers, said organizer Lynnette Mikesell.

This year the market also will have “featured” tables that give visitors a chance to interact and learn something new.

With winter and the cold weather still lingering, many gardens have yet to see much produce, Mikesell said. The featured craft and educational tables will give people another reason to visit Chester’s market, she said.

A free children’s crafting session for Mother’s Day will be held today. On May 18 Danny Brewer, vice president of the Western Arkansas Eastern Oklahoma Beekeepers Association, will be offering education on the importance of bees and how to get started in beekeeping.

“I think it will be great throughout the summer to have people come and educate us,” Mikesell said.

There also will be a handmade quilt raffle, with raffle tickets being sold through June 15.

Chester’s market is starting to build some steam, Mikesell said, but organizers continue to look for ways to finance it until it becomes self-supportive.

A fundraiser called the “Cool Down Creek Bowl” and involves disk golf played in the creek in Chester is being held Saturday, May 11.

Donations of $20 to play with lunch included are being accepted, with a portion going to the Farmers’ Market Pavilion Build Fund. Participants can meet Willie Williams at the farmers’ market field across from the Chester Country Café at 9 a.m. on the day of the fundraiser.

Chester Country Café offers the on-site hot breakfast and coffee, and there is plenty of parking. The market is held in a field, which Mikesell said contributes to a down-home, neighborly feeling. People from the area often show up just to socialize, she said.

“Being a small town encourages that neighborly, friendly atmosphere,” Mikesell said.

Included in the market is a poultry swap with various farm birds and animals, which is fun for kids, she said.

Other markets in the area are starting their seasons this week, as well and Dyer city officials said they are looking into starting a market.

Van Buren is holding its market every Wednesday and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Van Buren Public Library. For information contact Hilda Daugherty at (479) 474-2270.

Alma will hold its market every Saturday starting today from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., and may also expand to opening on Sundays. For information contact the Alma Area Chamber of Commerce at (479) 632-4127.

Cedarville will open its market today and will be held inside due to weather. Free hot dogs, chips and drinks will be served for opening day. A flea market has been added to this year’s market, which will be held from 7 a.m. to noon every Saturday through August.

Chester Farmers’ Market will be held every first and third Saturday through October, weather permitting. The market is located off exit 34 from Interstate 540.

For more information, e-mail farmersmarketchester@outlook.com, call (858) 361-3430.or go to Chester Farmers Market and Poultry Swap on Facebook.

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