Farmers’ market on again

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A second summer of readily available, locally grown vegetables is on the horizon.

Vicksburg Farmers’ Market, a popular attraction in its debut, will be back for a 2009 season, said organizer Mary Beth Lasseter.

With opening day scheduled for June 6, local growers are reminded that vendors are needed. Even local gardeners who expect to harvest a surplus of produce and flowers are encouraged to sign up.

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“Our Farmers’ Market last year was so far above expectations I can’t even describe it,” said Lamar Horton, market volunteer. “We had the largest number of vendors when we opened last year out of all the markets in the state.”

Regulations and applications are available online at Vendors should be sure to check the guidelines at the Web site because they have changed a little since last year, Lasseter said.

Space can be reserved for the full season or by the week, with seasonal spaces sold for $100 and weekly spaces on a space-available basis for $10.

In 2008, most market vendors came from within an hour’s drive of the city, from areas in Tallulah, Utica, Copiah and Warren counties. They sold fresh-grown watermelons, peaches, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and many other produce items.

In addition to fruits and vegetables, some vendors offer home-baked breads and pastries and homemade jams, jellies and other treats.

Last year’s market proved popular enough to warrant opening twice a week, Saturday mornings and Wednesday afternoons, and featured live entertainment by local musicians. More than 1,000 visitors attended the opening, though those numbers declined as the season wore on.

Entertainment will be back this year, Horton said, along with popular vendors. Two of the largest have already signed up to return, and another major grower who has been selling in Jackson will also be in Vicksburg this summer.

That shouldn’t scare away the smaller ones, he said. “There’s a niche for them and plenty of room for everyone.”

The market will be open through August, rain or shine, from 8 until 11 a.m. Saturdays and from 4 until 7 p.m. Wednesdays, in the lot at Grove and Levee streets across from the old Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Depot.

Catfish Row Landing, with the riverfront murals, splash fountain and park are nearby.

The market is sponsored by the city and the Main Street Program, which once again will act as the umbrella organization, Main Street director Kim Hopkins said.

The city will provide about $6,000 for the market this year, primarily for advertising and supplies, Horton said.

Farmer’s markets have grown extensively in recent years. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that more than 4,300 farmer’s markets were operating throughout the nation in 2008, with 49 in Mississippi.


Contact Pamela Hitchins at