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High South Moments Celebrates Farmers’ Market Values

Taken at the Fayetteville Farmers’ Market in 1974 by photographer Art Meripol

Shopping at the farmers’ market is a ritual for me; in an effort to shake off Friday night and welcome the weekend, I find myself immersed in the myriad virtues of everything the Fayetteville Farmers’ Market has to offer.  First, there’s coffee–and maybe a croissant depending on my mood–followed by a slow, sleepy-eyed walk around the square to peruse the fresh, vibrant wares to complete the evening’s menu that is devised in real time, oftentimes updating and refreshing with every stop.  In fact, I don’t really qualify my time at the market as merely “shopping” because there are so many other things to do as I make my rounds.  The farmers’ market experience I recall from my childhood in Missouri has evolved into something altogether different today because it is teeming with cultural, social, and edible responsibility.

Taken at the Fayetteville Farmers’ Market in 1974 by photographer Art Meripol

Taken at the Fayetteville Farmers’ Market in 1974 by photographer Art Meripol

I’m energized by the sights and sounds of people chatting, live music playing, children exploring, and farmers and artisans making important connections with their community. There are days when food trucks are peppered throughout offering crusty bread, pastry, street tacos, biscuits and gravy, and in some very special places in the High South, crepes that are nothing short of culinary nirvana. In recent weeks I have planted a score of tomato, cucumber, and herb plants from the market that are now thriving in my backyard, guaranteeing my family and I a bountiful summer filled with homemade pickles, slow-cooked Romanesco sauce, and fresh pesto…for days.  The market follows me home, reminding me even in the comfy confines of my house that it will be there waiting for me next Saturday like an old, trusted, beautiful friend.

Taken at the Fayetteville Farmers’ Market in 1974 by photographer Art Meripol

Taken at the Fayetteville Farmers’ Market in 1974 by photographer Art Meripol

Taken at the Fayetteville Farmers’ Market in 1974 by photographer Art Meripol

Taken at the Fayetteville Farmers’ Market in 1974 by photographer Art Meripol

Crystal Bridges is elated to celebrate one of our region’s most beloved friends, the Fayetteville Farmers’ Market, with a lively conversation with several of the farmers that make it such an extraordinary place. I’ll be hosting this very special evening of High South Moments with Teresa Mauer, the Market Vendor Coordinator, and a panel of esteemed growers that include Dennis McGarrah of McGarrah Farms, Mark Cain of Dripping Springs, and second-generation muong farmer Pachee Lor of Sisters Sprouts. The museum is also proud to uncover a “pop-up” exhibition of archival images from the 1970s Fayetteville Farmers’ Market by famed photographer Art Meripol in the Great Hall.

In addition to the special display and discussion, guests will be treated to a singular version of homemade strawberry shortcake made from local berries and devised by museum chefs William McCormick and Melody Lane, as well as a rip roarin’ musical set performed by celebrated family band, Route 358.

So if it’s been a while since you spent time with one of your oldest, most trusted friends, why not do it in one of the most beautiful places in Arkansas, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art?  The Farmers’ Market is more than a mere ritual; rather, it’s a way of life in the High South.  See you there!

High South Moments: Farmers’ Market Values takes place Wednesday, May 15 at 6 pm. Get your tickets now!

 

This post was written by Case Dighero, Edible Culture.

 

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