Farmers’ Market opens June 5 in new location

Published 12:30 pm Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Though the location will change, the Vicksburg Farmers’ Market will be back for a third summer.

Work at or near the Levee Street Depot will bump the market from the lot it has occupied the last two years, but the Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen, meeting Monday, gave its OK for the market to open June 5 just down the street — at the Catfish Row Art Park, across from the Riverfront Murals.

“It’s hard to move something so successful, so we wanted to keep it in the same area,” said Kristen Meehan, one of the market’s volunteer coordinators. “Now we’ll still be at Grove and Levee — just on the other side of Grove.”

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Once again the market will offer produce from local farms and baked goods from nearby kitchens Saturday mornings from 8 to 11 and Wednesday afternoons from 4 to 7. Vendors who sell out of the backs of their trucks or need close access to truck beds will have spots in the parking lots, while other vendors will set up tables and umbrellas on the sidewalk, said Mary Beth Lasseter, another volunteer who has been with the Farmers’ Market since its inception.

Many popular vendors will be back, Meehan said — K-n-K Farms from Bovina, the Boyd Family from Edwards, Hinds County’s Ebeneezer Farms — selling beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, peaches, blueberries and other seasonal produce, along with Heather Burns and other pastry and bread makers.

“And ‘Watermelon Joe’ Cessna,” she added. “You just can’t get a bad watermelon from him. He won’t sell it to you unless he makes sure it’s just perfect.”

The Saturday market also features entertainment by local musicians, and a limited number of artisans and craft vendors.

The Art Park provides the advantages of maintaining the connection with downtown and Levee Street, and is convenient with electrical hookups, restrooms and handicap accessibility, said Lasseter.

“We’ve been really encouraged by the last two years,” said Lasseter. “It’s one of the more successful farmers’ markets in the state.”

The Art Park has limited space, however, and vendors are encouraged to register soon.

In 2008, the market started with about 20 vendors, tapering off as the summer wore on.

Last year many Saturdays saw 25 or more vendors set up tables or back their trucks in, pull down the tailgate and start selling. Attendance was tough to measure but increased from 2008 to 2009.

“All the vendors were happy,” Lasseter said. “There was definitely a more sustained customer base last year through the whole summer than in 2008.”

While vendor participation remains strong, the Farmers’ Market will have to make do with less this year. The City of Vicksburg, which has provided funds each year for supplies and advertising, cut back to $3,750 for 2010, compared to about $6,000 in 2009 and $5,000 its first year.

Vicksburg Main Street is also a sponsor, and its director, Kim Hopkins, serves with Lasseter and Meehan as volunteer coordinators.

The market runs through Aug. 28, rain or shine. Though organizers are “99.9 percent sure” the market will be at the park, the board of mayor and aldermen approved two backup options should a conflict arise. Those sites are behind the Old Court House Museum and on a privately owned lot near the Walnut Street parking garage.

Three projects are under way or expected in the depot area. The Corps of Engineers is building an interpretive center to the north, a water main in the area is being rerouted and a remodeling of the depot itself into a transportation museum and office spaces is planned.


To become a vendor:

• About 25 vendor spaces

• Contracts required.

• Cost $100

• Spaces assigned according to wares

• Download applications: or pick up at the Main Street office, 1309 Washington St.

• More info: call Mary Beth Lasseter at 601-634-9484, after 8 a.m.


Meeting Monday, the Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen:

• Approved minutes of the March 1 meeting.

• Adopted a proclamation joining Thursday’s National Day of Prayer.

• Opened bids for tree removal from Southern Tree Service and Asplundh Tree Expert Co. and for a type III ambulance from Taylor Made Ambulance, American Emergency Vehicles, Servis, Peach State Ambulance Inc. and Custom Truck and Body Works Inc. Offers will be reviewed before decisions are made.

• OK’d a police request to block Cherry and Jackson and Cherry and Grove streets on May 15 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. to facilitate the Community Rally Against Violence.

• OK’d police requests: $764.50 for food and for the community service department to provide clean-up after a Senior Crime Prevention Luncheon at St. Mary Center on May 13.

• Authorized Mayor-Pro-Tem Michael Mayfield to sign an agreement with Vicksburg firefighter Patrick Walker for paramedic training and certification.

• Authorized the mayor to execute the 2008 disaster Community Development Block Grant for a generator at the water treatment plant.

• OK’d a purchase of $14,825 to sole-source vendor Applied Concepts for five Stalker DSR 2A radar systems.

• Authorized a 90-day extension of code enforcement for one lot violation involving overgrown grass and structure repairs.

• Accepted a letter from Roy Choates of Pinnacle Marketing Group to convey certain properties back to the City of Vicksburg.

• OK’d a request for advertising in the Vicksburg Alumnae Chapter Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Jabberwock Souvenir Booklet.

• OK’d remaining allocations to the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce ($30,000) and the Vicksburg-Warren Retirement Development Program ($10,000).

In executive session the board:

• OK’d two new hires in the parks and recreation department and one in parks and recreation maintenance.

• OK’d one status change in the inspections department and one termination in the police department.