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State of the Market Address

Good afternoon,
We aren’t having market this week because the Art, Pray, Love event is happening in the parish hall. Art, Pray, Love is the annual art show held by St. Peter’s Episcopal Church to benefit their Guatemala mission trip. The annual art show and silent auction features premier Arkansas artists. Tickets are now available for purchase at the church.

I thought I would take this opportunity to write a State of the Market Address, similar to the President’s State of the Union Address. I’ll break it down into 3 parts:

Our Past: Our market was started by Cody Hopkins in the spring of 2008. A few years ago, Cody passed the torch to Carissa and Steve. It is now our pleasure to serve our Members and Growers. Since our inception, our goal has been to connect our local Growers with people who are searching for naturally raised food. To that end, we have been successful as evidenced by the enthusiastic people coming to market each Friday to pick up the meat, vegetables, eggs, etc they ordered a few days prior. We have enjoyed watching our Members turn into friends, and also watching their babies grow up. We love to have kids and pets come and visit on Fridays.

Our Present: We currently have over 20 active Growers providing over 500 products each week, and depending on the season, we see between 50 and 70 Members each Friday. If you arrive early on Fridays, you see tables overflowing with the orders for the week. Here’s how the market works: Members can place orders from Sunday at 6pm until Tuesday at 10pm. By 6am Wednesday, I have emailed each of the Growers with the ordered items, which they will gather and deliver to St. Peter’s on Friday between 9am and 2pm. Steve & Carissa arrive at noon and set up tables and organize the orders. At 2pm, our volunteers arrive and conduct inventory. Customers start arriving at 3:30pm and the local food that was ordered online a few days ago is taken home by our wonderful Members to become healthy meals for their families.

Several of our Growers have been with us from the beginning, and we get new applications every month. We are very selective when approving new Growers, with quality and consistency being key factors in maintaining our market. In our efforts to grow our customer base, we have tried several types of advertising, and have found that our current members are most effective in spreading the word. Please talk to your friends and co-workers so they too can enjoy the benefits of eating local, healthy food. Just ask for a few flyers you can post at work or school.

In the past 10 years, we have never increased our fee structure to Members or Growers. Statistic show that only 12% of your food dollar makes it back to the people growing food purchased at supermarkets, while we return a whopping 87% directly back the local families growing our food! Our products may cost a little more, but that money goes directly to the people keeping us healthy. When our Growers wake up early each morning, their first thoughts are to tend to the animals or vegetables they are growing for us. It’s hard work, but we support their way of life and appreciate all they do for us.

Our Future: We are very optimistic that our market will continue to attract discerning shoppers who want more than what Big Agriculture offers at the supermarket. Our members want tomatoes that actually taste like tomatoes, and fresh, free-range eggs with orange yolks instead of the pale yellow ones that are several weeks old by the time you take them home. For those folks, we work hard to bring you the best every week, year-round, in a convenient online experience.

Several of our Growers are in the process of expanding their operations with high tunnels and low tunnels, both of which extend the growing season, which is why we have broccoli, radishes and lettuce in the middle of January! Several others are planting and harvesting more due to the increased demand.

We are looking forward to an awesome 2019 and we are so glad you all are along for the bountiful season of eating healthy!

With profound humility,

Have a great week, and we’ll see you next Sunday when the market opens. Be safe!