Neosho Farmers Market keeps an American tradition alive
In an American tradition that dates back to the Colonial period with roots in the Old World, the Neosho Farmers Market is a local event. It will end another successful season on Saturday, on the same day as the annual Neosho Fall Festival. This marks the 11th season for the local farmers market, which continues to grow each year. It's open from May to October.
"It's the tail end of our 11th year. It's going strong -last year was a breakout year and this year despite all the strange circumstances, we've actually grown more this year. It's affected it positively. People find it a less anxious option than the traditional shopping options with it being outdoors," Scott Hall, Market Manager, said.
The final market will be Saturday from 9 a..m. until noon. For the first time this year, a midweek market was also added on Tuesday afternoons from 4-7 p.m. from July through September. And, by popular demand, it will be back next summer.
"It went really well," Scott Hall stated. "That's something people have been asking for years. We finally had a critical mass to support that with enough produce vendors to make a good showing and it went really well. It's during peak season, when they're harvesting twice a week."
The Neosho Farmers Market is a producers only market, which means that vendors must grow or make what is sold. The Market is the best local source for fresh, local produce, all-natural and pastured meats, handcrafted goods, farm-fresh eggs, local honey along with handmade garden, kitchen or food-related goods, even the occasional fresh flowers or growing plants. There are breakfast and lunch specials and live music with local musicians.
Some offerings are ready to eat and there are several picnic tables available to do just that. Hot egg rolls and fried rice are available along with cinnamon rolls, fresh made lemonade and more.schedules.
After a reorganization about five years ago, the market, under Hall's guidance, has grown.
With a location in the heart of downtown Neosho just a block from the historic Neosho Square, a block from Big Spring Park, and across from the Neosho Newton County Library, the Farmers Market is easy to find and very accessible. Parking's not a problem with a city lot on the same corner of Spring and Jefferson Streets.
It is truly a local market as well, drawing from the Neosho and surrounding area. That includes Newton County, Missouri or Jasper, Lawrence, Barry, McDonald Counties in Southwest Missouri, Ottawa County in Northeast Oklahoma, or Cherokee County in Southeast Kansas.
"Everybody here is from Newton County or any of the counties adjacent so everybody here is super local It's a combination of healthy options and there's an increased awareness of supporting local," Hall said.
In the spring, the market opens with a variety of spring greens and other early produce. By fall, customers can find pumpkins and other seasonal items. People come for the produce and return for more along with the other offerings. Some may want the honey or the soap while others crave the home baked pies or the farm raised chicken. Many if not most are return customers.
"We have seen more regulars this year than we ever have," Hall commented. "I get familiar with them from seeing people coming and going."
All ages, from tots in strollers to senior citizens, the customers come each week. And, although there are some other Farmers Markets in the region, Neosho's remains strong as well as popular.
"I think that's because we're open air," Hall said. "And we have a lot of diversity in what we offer."
Just because this season is drawing to a close doesn't mean it's over, either. An annual vendors roundtable is coming up and on the first weekend in November there will be a Handmade Holiday Market.
Hall said, "A couple of weeks after we close our growers get together for a round table planning meeting for next year. Our growers are collaborative and they want to make sure they get requests all year for things they didn't grow and choose wisely, make more diversity at the market for next year."
As for the Handmade Holiday Market, item sold must by 100% handmade, which makes it unique and a true artisan craft show.
"The first Saturday in November will be a holiday market," Hall said. "A lot of food vendors will be there, also artists and vendors, although not much in produce, though. It's too late in the season."
The Handmade Holiday Market will take place on Saturday, November 7 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the same location, the corner of Spring and Jefferson Streets in downtown Neosho. It provides shoppers an opportunity to buy handcrafted, unique gifts for the holidays.
Those who miss the last day of the season can look forward to the Handmade Holiday Market in November or to next year, when the market will open on the first Saturday in May for their 12th year.
The tradition of farmers and rural folk bringing their homegrown produce, meats, and handmade items to town to sell is still strong in Neosho, Missouri, a city nestled on the western edge of the Missouri Ozarks, within easy driving distance of Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma.
The mission of the Neosho Farmers Market is to offer the community healthy, locally-grown, sustainably-produced foods and quality handmade goods from an area network of farmers and producers.
The Neosho Farmers Market is held on the northwest corner of Spring and Jefferson Streets in downtown Neosho, one block west of the historic Neosho Square from the first weekend in May until the first Saturday in October annually.
For more information about the Neosho Farmers Market, visit the website: