Brian Chilson

The Little Rock Farmers Market is returning to the River Market on Saturday, May 1, after shutting down operations for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the press release, this will be its 47th season highlighting the state’s meat, farm-fresh produce and locally prepared cottage foods. The 2021 season will run on Saturdays from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. through Sept. 25. Ottenheimer Hall, the River Market’s dining hall located at 400 President Clinton Ave., will welcome back its vendors on May 1 after being shuttered for a year as well. Ottenheimer will remain open throughout the Farmers Market season and its hours will be 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Mon.-Fri. and 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat.

The Farmers Market website says it will be updated no later than April 15 to reflect current state guidelines and restrictions and how they impact the number, types of vendors and general Farmers Market setup. It looks like masks and social distancing will be in effect. From the website:

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  • Face coverings will be required to enter the market.

  • The number of shoppers will be limited in order to maintain social distancing.

  • A Central Entrance / Exit location will be located in the River Plaza

  • Entertainment as well as arts and crafts will not be included.

  • As always, free parking is available to Farmers Market patrons in the central parking lot off Ottenheimer and in the River Market parking deck. Market Managers wearing red Farmers’ Market polos can provide shoppers with a complimentary parking pass. Special parking for elderly and disabled patrons is available in the central parking lot as well.

  • Shoppers will be required to maintain social distancing of six feet and follow directional and spacing markers throughout the market.

  • Well behaved pets are welcome but short leashes are encouraged.  Please pickup after your pets!

  • To encourage safe shopping, patrons are asked not to linger too long at their favorite vendors.

  • And of course, shoppers are asked to stay home if they don’t feel well, are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or believe they have been exposed to the virus even if they’re not feeling symptomatic.

More from the press release here:

Since 1996, the Little Rock Farmers’ Market has made its home in the River Market’s two outdoor, open-air pavilions overlooking Riverfront Park and the Arkansas River. It has become a Central Arkansas tradition.

Many produce vendors at the Market accept SNAP benefits (look for the signage at their booths). The Market also is a proud participant in the Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB) program, where patrons can have up to $20 worth of SNAP tokens matched for free to use at the market. SNAP tokens can be purchased, and DUFB questions answered, at the Farmers’ Market tent in the River Market.

In conjunction with the opening of the Farmers Market on May 1, the River Market will host festivities for 501 Day, a new celebration of all things Central Arkansas. Local businesses are encouraged to show their “501” pride with special 501-themed offers, activities and merchandise. Visit Celebrate501.com for more information.

Parking is always free for Little Rock Farmers Market patrons. Visitors are invited to park in the lot behind the market as well as in the River Market Parking Deck at 2nd and River Market Avenue. Special VIP parking is available for senior and handicapped individuals. Just enter the parking lot off Ottenheimer and President Clinton Avenue, and the parking attendants at the kiosk will be happy to direct you to a nearby and accessible parking spot.

The Little Rock Farmers Market is sponsored by the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau.

For more information, call the River Market at 501-375-2552. Follow it on Facebook here.

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