In another month summer will be coming to an end and fall will be upon us. Here at the farm we have already started lettuce, radish, beet, and turnip seeds in the aquaponic system. As our tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers play out in the hoop house we will begin planting our winter hardy crops.
This summer has been an amazing season for us and the Pittsburg County Farmer’s Market in McAlester. The Pittsburg County Farmers Market has seen a major turnaround this summer. With the help of several community organizations and other groups we have been able to create a growing farmers market. The city of McAlester along with several organizations with the city have been a tremendous help. The Choctaw Nation has also been a vital partner over the past year. It seemed as if some of the things we wanted to do wouldn’t come to fruition but they have.
Just over the summer we have been able to organize a large community event at the farmer’s market on the first Saturday of each month from June through September. There has been live music, bounce houses, ice cream trucks, cooking demonstrations, arts and crafts from the area. We also were fortunate and were able to host the McAlester Discovery Museum every month and also had two Choctaw Princesses that came every month to help us out.
The city of McAlester also fixed a large pot hole in our parking lot and repainted parking spaces and directional arrows for cars to follow helping with the flow of traffic and safety. The city also put a cross walk in from the street across from us to make it safer for pedestrians to come to the market.
The Choctaw Nation provided us with several new tents, tables, and signs for the market. They also were able to pay for the local radio station to come to the farmers market to do a live remote the first Saturdays in June and July.
The McAlester Chamber of Commerce was able to sign an agreement with the farmers market so that we can now accept SNAP/EBT benefits. Without the Chamber stepping in and helping us with this we would not have been able to get the needed equipment for another year or two.
With the farmers market making huge strides to improve our market we have seen an increase of foot traffic at the farmers market and that has helped all of the local farmers. Our vendor participation is up and the community is wanting to be more involved in supporting their local farmers. I am excited to see if this momentum continues into the fall and winter.