Tuesday, May 30, 2017

TOP STORY >> Farmers market in Sherwood has several vendors

Leader staff writer

The crowds and the breezes under the Sherwood Farmers Market Pavilion at Sherwood Forest ebb and flow as late afternoon turns into early evening on Tuesdays.

About 13 vendors shelter under the 5,000-square-foot open air cover and many offer samples to entice potential customers, estimated at 300 over a three-hour period.

The breeze “is lovely,” says shopper Elizabeth Scesniak.

The Sherwood Farmers Market is inside the Sherwood Forest complex at 1111 W. Maryland Ave. and is open Tuesdays from 4 until 7 p.m. until September.

Jerry Hamilton, who is working a booth for Hardin Farms of Grady and Sheridan, reports brisk sales, as do Susan and Anna Franko, a mother-daughter team working the Humble Crumble Bakery booth.

Hamilton says, “It’s going great.”

Susan Franko recommends the cinnamon rolls, adding, “They are famous.”

Even without her prompting, the bakery’s homemade rolls, lemon poppy seed bread, granola and Susan Franko’s own Mexican salsa are going fast.

They say the crowds come in fits and spurts, and believe they see more right after the market opens, then around 5 p.m. and again around 6 p.m. Perhaps as people get off work they stop by, Susan Franko says.

Although the market has been open for the past five weeks, it’s a first visit for Scesniak and her husband, Gene, and their little Bichon Frise, Carmel, who seemed to enjoy the natural setting as much as other shoppers’ attention.

The market is dog friendly.

“It’s clean, and the hours are perfect. We will definitely be back,” Elizabeth Scesniak says before turning to Hardin’s table that included early garden offerings like kale, lettuce, leeks, a variety of spring squashes and almost ripe tomatoes. There are also homemade pickles and pecans.

The 13 vendors are a mixture of arts and crafts, while others offer fresh produce. At the moment, there are more arts and crafts vendors like Simply Sonia of Jacksonville, says Korey Malloy, Sherwood Forest and Farmers Market manager.

But Malloy believes that will change because it’s still early in the growing season, and once farmers have more to offer, the number of produce vendors will grow.

Weekly booth rental is $15 per space inside the pavilion.

Malloy says Sherwood used to have a farmers market, but it fizzled out a couple of years ago, but he believes the pavilion and the other amenities gives them the opportunity to make it successful.

Markets like this are a popular trend, and Malloy says he researched what’s working at other markets, besides, he adds, “People like fresh and like to talk to the farmer who grew their food.”

As well, he says, “We have room for growth, but I’m pleased with the way things are going so far. It’s fantastic.”


David Killebrew, Sonia’s husband who is working the booth, also believes the market will pick up as word of its existence spreads and as more vegetables, fruits and berries begin to ripen.

Nonetheless, Killebrew says about the customer traffic flow, “It’s been pretty steady.”

Malloy estimates he’s seeing about 300 shoppers each Tuesday.

The Roots and Refuge near Jacksonville has a booth part farm produce, offering fresh eggs, and part homemade offerings, such as breads. Its farm is near Jacksonville.

The booth is operated by farm owner Jessica Sowards and her 11-year-old son, Jackson Whitaker, and she reports good sales.

Sowards is also a Sherwood Farmers Market board member, and she says about the location and the hours, “It’s wonderful…The facility is beautiful, and I believe the farmers market will continue to grow as we move into the farm season.”


In addition to the farmers market, Sherwood Forest is hosting Food Trucks in the Forest every other second and fourth Thursday of the month.

“We want people to be able to enjoy a variety of cuisines and the atmosphere here,” Malloy explained.

There are picnic-style tables for diners, as well as a variety of central Arkansas food trucks, Malloy hopes to provide entertainment for the diners.

For more information about the Sherwood Farmers Market or the Food Trucks in the Forest, call Korey Malloy at 501-835-8909 or visit www.facebook.com/SherwoodFarmersMarket/.