It’s a comeback year here in Fayetteville.
After slipping from a solid third place to finish No. 5 in last year’s America’s Favorite Farmers Market contest, Fayetteville voters made a strong early push in 2012 and powered through to the end of the season.
And by “powered through,” I mean we crushed the competition.
Voting ended at midnight Monday in the nationwide contest and winners were declared Thursday morning.
Fayetteville claimed the top spot in the Large Market category with 1,439 votes, nearly 70 percent more than last year’s winner, Las Cruces Farmers & Crafts Market in Las Cruces, N.M., and almost twice as many as St. Paul Farmers Market, who came in third place this year.
The contest, sponsored by American Farmland Trust, was instituted to raise national awareness about local farmers markets, the role they play in supporting local farms, and the importance of protecting American farmland.
Winners in the other categories were Winter Garden, Fla., in the Medium Market category with 31-55 vendors; Sulphur Springs, Tex., in the Mid-sized category; and Arlington, Wash., in the Small Market group, with fewer than 15 vendors.
Congrats are also in order for Fayetteville’s Sunday Botanical Garden of the Ozarks Farmers’ Market, which took No. 4 in the Small Market category, and to Bentonville, Ark. for coming in at No. 11 in the Large Market group.
The four national winners in each category – small, mid-sized, medium and large – will receive a promotional package to help grow their market that includes national press, postcards, totebags, flyers and more.
Top 20 winners in the Large Market category
1. Fayetteville Farmers’ Market – Fayetteville, Ark.
2. Las Cruces Farmers & Crafts Market – Las Cruces, N.M.
3. St. Paul Farmers Market – St. Paul, Minn.
4. Baltimore Farmers Market – Baltimore, Md.
5. Hernando Farmers Market – Hernando, Miss.
6. Shreveport Farmers Market – Shreveport, La.
7. Kenosha Harbor Market – Kenosha, Wis.
8. Lexington Farmers Market – Lexington, Ky.
9. Aptos Farmers Market – Aptos, Calif.
10. Palafox Market – Pensacola, Fla.
11. Bentonville Farmers Market – Bentonville, Ark.
12. Ballard Farmers Market – Seattle, Wash.
13. Orlando Farmers Market at Lake Eola – Orlando, Fla.
14. Muskegon Farmers Market – Muskegon, Mich.
15. Burlington Farmers Market – Burlington, Vt.
16. Eagan Market Fest – Eagan, Minn.
17. Iowa City Farmers Market – Iowa City, Iowa
18. Haleiwa Farmers Market – Haleiwa, Hawaii
19. Clarksville Downtown Farmers Market – Clarksville, Tenn.
20. Omaha Farmers Market – Omaha, Neb.