Farmers’ Market shuts down after winning season
Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 30, 2009
The Vicksburg Farmers’ Market closed out its second season on Saturday morning with a steady stream of people.
“I just think it’s great, because I love vegetables, and these are about as fresh as you can get,” said Mary Robbins, who carried a plastic bag full of fresh beans and okra. “I hope they get some greens here next year. That’s my favorite.”
Kristen Meehan, an organizer of the market, said she hopes to have Robbins’ favorite on hand, too, when the market returns to the corner of Grove and Levee streets next summer.
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“We want greater variety,” Meehan said. “We’ve been talking to the farmers about growing some different and new things.”
The second season exceeded expectations, said organizer Lamar Horton, both in terms of the number of vendors and those attending the Wednesday evening and Saturday morning events. At the start of the season on June 6, the Vicksburg market had 25 vendors — the most of any of the estimated 50 markets in the state, Horton said.
“We saw almost a doubling of vendors from last year,” said Horton. “We averaged about 15 vendors each year. We started off with about 25, but we dropped down to about 12 towards the end of the season. The smaller growers just don’t have enough produce to make it through the whole season.”
Walter and Kate Montgomery have been selling their homemade jams, jellies and preserves at the market all season. The couple said sales were steady all season, and added they’d most likely be back next year.
“I wish we’d get a permanent market that was open year round,” said Kate Montgomery.
The Vicksburg Main Street Program requested an additional $20,000 in funding from the city for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 to purchase a large covering for the market, but that request was denied. The City of Vicksburg provided about $6,000 for the market this year and $5,000 its first year. Horton said there have been some funds set aside for next year’s season, but it is not clear how much.
“We’re going to be happy with the money the city can provide next year, but we’re also going to work hard to get some grant money with the hope of being able to establish a permanent, covered facility,” Horton said. “To have long-term viability, I think what we want to do is evolve into a more structured organization.”
Meehan said exact dates have not been set for the third season, but speculated they would be similar to this year’s season. Both Wednesday evening and Saturday morning markets will return, added Horton.
“I think it’s been a real success, not just for the vendors, but for the entire community; they’ve really enjoyed and embraced it,” said Horton.
Another event will be during the annual Downtown Fall Festival, said Meehan, when at least 10 vendors will set up on the Crawford Square Plaza off Main Street with fall harvest crops and homemade goods.
Contact Steve Sanoski at firstname.lastname@example.org