Only two Farmers’ Market Saturdays remain this year

Published 6:54 pm Saturday, July 15, 2017

As the days dwindle down to the last weekend, Farmers’ Market manager Sonny Hale can look back on what he said has been a successful summer season for the market and its vendors.

“It’s been an excellent year,” he said as he surveyed shoppers who ignored the heat and humidity of a Mississippi summer morning to shop for vegetables, jams, jellies, pastries and other items on one of the market’s final Saturdays.

The market’s summer season closes July 29, and it will reopen for its fall season in October.

“I believe we’ve topped attendance records this year,” Hale said. “We’ve had good attendance all year.”

Saturday’s event included something different — a parasol parade, with youngsters walking around the booths displaying parasols of different shapes and sizes.

“We had 16 parasols,” said Mary Louise Nosser, who organized the event.

“I thought it would be a good way to get people to come out to the farmers’ market and help business. We’ve had so much rain lately, that people have had to stay inside. I just wanted to show people that a parasol is nothing more than an umbrella. We had a lot of kids out here.”

Sales were slow but steady at the market as people walked around the booths, taking a good look at the wares up for sale. But despite the slow traffic Saturday, the vendors echoed Hale’s comments about the markets success.

“I’ve been coming since 2009, and this has been a good year,” said Bobbie Smith of Brandon, as she stood in her booth called “Forgotten Art,” which featured jellies, jams, relishes, pickled okra, peppers and watercolors and cards she designed and made.

“It’s been slow this morning, but I’ve been doing good business.”

Lou Brierley was a first-timer this year. “Business has been good and I’ve been impressed,” she said after helping a customer at her booth, “Catering by Lourdes.”

“It’s been fun, and I’ve met a lot of different people, and the social aspect has been so important.”

Another first-timer was Dog Trot Farms from Bentonia.

“Things have been good,” said Trey McLean, who with his wife, Phyllis, own the farm.

“We also go to Madison and Livingston. Our son and his family live in Vicksburg, so we’re here a lot.”

“It’s been very, very, excellent this year,” said Heather Burns, whose pastry booth, “Just Desserts,” has been a fixture at the farmers’ market.

Burns said she sends out emails to about 250 people to let them know she’s going to be at the market.

“I’ve seen a lot of people and have a lot of repeat customers,” she said. “I’ve seen people from 15 different countries, and one Italian family I’ve been seeing come here for years.”

Jason Cessna of Utica, another longtime farmers’ market vendor who sells Smith County watermelons, has been coming for 10 years, and says he has always done well.

“It has always been good; real good,” he said.

“I sit and look at all these vendors, and see the people at their booths,” Hale said. “It’s been a very good year.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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