Farmers’ Market draws hundreds

Published 12:15 am Sunday, June 14, 2015

Good times: Connie Coleman and Charles Grant share farming stories.

Good times: Connie Coleman and Charles Grant share farming stories.

An estimated 400 people showed up at Vicksburg’s Farmers’ Market Saturday morning to purchase fresh and local fruits, vegetables and other treats from vendors off Washington Street.

Sonny Hale has managed the farmers’ market for four years and said customers began arriving before 8 a.m. Hale said this is the biggest crowd and the most vendors he has seen in four years.

“You’ll notice these people out here a lot of times will run into people they haven’t seen in years,” Hale said. “It’s a place to gather. Not only to sell fruit and fresh vegetables but a place to get together.”

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The farmers market sets up every Saturday in May, June and July from 8 a.m. until 11 a.m. The market is in the peak of its spring/summer season. As it continues to get hotter and produce continues to sell, the crowd will start to thin out.

Farmers work hard and bring their freshest produce to the market. If customers are interested in the work a farmer does, they have no issue discussing their work to an inquiring customer.

The vendors practice truck farming, where farmers pick the crops in the field and truck it to the market.

“They’ll take a few minutes of their time and tell you what they used to grow it with and if it has pesticides in it,” Hale said. “They picked it Wednesday, sold it today and it goes to the table tomorrow. No nutrition lost due to travel.”

Hale said having the market downtown is convenient to a lot of people and downtown Vicksburg as it attracts people to the area.

The shoppers enjoyed themselves as they walked around buying peaches or watermelons from one stand or sampling local honey at another.

Connie Coleman set up a table at the farmers market Saturday to sell her own brand of honey titled ”RC’s Honey.”

Her husband started harvesting Russian bees three years ago. He started with seven hives and now has 75. Most of their honey comes from the apiary in Clinton.

The Coleman’s were lucky enough to have honey their first year with only having seven hives. It was not a lot and they gave it away or sold it to members of their church.

After the first batch of honey, Coleman’s husband started researching regulations and formed the business.

This is the first season Coleman has sold publicly. When the season started she bought booth space for the year from Hale and has done well.

“The first week we were here we had record sales. We’ve been very fortunate,” Coleman said.

They do not say their honey is organic because in order to do so, the bees would need to be trapped under a special net.

“I don’t know anybody who can do that because you don’t know where that bee has been foraging all day long,” Coleman said. “You don’t know what kind of plant it’s touching, you don’t know if it’s touching a plant that’s been sprayed. So you can’t really say organic honey, at least we can’t.”

The Coleman’s honey is unpasteurized and has a warning label on the bottles to keep them out of reach of children under 1-year old.