Local farmers gathered at Saracen Landing early Saturday morning to bring the community a heap of organic, freshly-grown options for their dinner tables during the Saracen Landing Farmers Market’s grand opening. They also honored some fellow farmers and patrons who had recently passed.
The Saracen Landing Farmers Market set up shop under the pavilion located at Saracen Landing at 6 a.m., displaying tables overflowing with fresh produce, including sweet potatoes, cabbages, peaches, blackberries, jalapeño peppers, herbs, natural health remedies and even health education pamphlets.
According to Interim Director of the Pine Bluff Parks and Recreation Department Trudy Redus, the farmers market is in its 46th year of operation. The market has been housed at Saracen Landing since 2007.
“And today we’re honoring three of our farmers that we lost last year,” Redus said.
Spread amongst three different tables, three ribbons were hung to commemorate three fellow farmers who regularly participated in the Saracen Landing Farmers Market.
“We lost Mother (Katie) Carpenter and Mr. (Billy) VonTungeln,” Redus acknowledged, pointing to a booth that was once manned by Mr. VonTungeln. “And we also lost one of our dear patrons, she’s on a lot of our advertisements, Mrs. Letha Hobbs.”
A ribbon honoring Hobbs was placed beside a booth run by the Carpenter family, the one she frequented during her years of visiting the farmers market.
Terry Carpenter, one of the Carpenter family members running their booth on Saturday, said he began farming as a child about 20 years ago.
“I started with the family, that’s where I started at,” Carpenter said. “And then I just went out on my own.”
Today on his own farm, he raises cucumbers, greens, squash, blackberries watermelons and cantaloupe to name a few — all are present at his farmers market booth.
Saracen Landing Farmers Market isn’t just for those with a green thumb. The open-air market featured multiple booths promoting sexual health awareness, providing feminine hygiene products, pamphlets and health remedies made from plants, fruits and other natural ingredients.
Dr. Bombay’s Products Inc. were among these booths. They offered products that guaranteed to “rejuvenate, detoxify the body, relieve gastrointestinal ailments, improve memory, normalize excess body fat, and nourish the blood among numerous other health benefits.”
All products sold by Dr. Bombay’s Products Inc. come from fruits and plants and are meant to provide people with a natural alternative to prescription and over-the-counter medications.
“We’re just taking what God gave us, and using it to help others,” said Robin York, while explaining the different oils and supplements decorating the Dr. Bombay’s Products Inc. table.
The Haritaki fruit, a popular product sold by the company, is said to nourish the heart, liver, and spleen, promote longevity and youthfulness, and even clear vision when dissolved in water and sprayed into the eye, according to York.
Their most popular product, Neem Oil, hails a list of benefits including healing serious skin problems, arthritis, asthma, and bronchitis, detoxifying the immune system, and cleanses the blood. The Neem Oil retails for $10 and can be ordered via their website.
“I’m not in this for the money, that’s why it’s only $10,” York said. “I just want to spread God’s gifts.”
Aside from fresh produce and dietary supplements, farmers market shoppers enjoyed song selections by the Pine Bluff Community Band, directed by Jerry Williams. Zumba was also on the list of activities to promote a healthier lifestyle.
The Saracen Landing Farmers Market is open every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday beginning now through October.