Last farmers’ market of season bittersweet

Published 6:16 pm Saturday, July 28, 2018

P

art of my Saturday morning was spent at Vicksburg’s last Farmers’ Market of the season.

It was bittersweet. Getting up early and heading to the farmers’ market downtown is such a great way to start a weekend. And our farmers’ market is filled with vendors selling everything from fresh produce to homemade jellies and jams to French pastries and breads.

The last farmers’ market signals the dwindling days of summer — at least according to the calendar. We Mississippians know we have many days of summer’s sweltering temperatures remaining. But it will only be a couple of weeks before the kiddos head back to school. The one good thing of the nearing of the season’s end is we are only 19 days away from the Red Carpet Bowl on Aug. 17 and football!

Saturday morning my mission was buying tomatoes and I headed to the closest vendor. The young man behind the stand was wearing a Mississippi State t-shirt and cap and said his tomatoes were Mississippi grown in Decatur. I bought four pounds of the most beautiful tomatoes I’d ever seen.

After the tomatoes, I headed over to the stand run by a woman from Hermanville, who calls her business Bee Charmed, and bought some honey.

When I got home, I grabbed a couple of tomatoes out of my bag, cut them up, sprinkled on some salt and pepper and had a wonderful, fresh lunch. And good lawd! Those tomatoes were oh, so good. Mississippi can produce a tomato, can’t she? So juicy, acidy and delicious. I could eat them like apples.

When I was at the tomato stand, about four others were standing there, picking out their tomatoes, too, putting them into sacks. However, one gentleman had a large box and was filling it up with tomatoes.

“You must have a restaurant,” one shopper commented.

“I sure do,” the man said.

He was Chris Bullard of Main Street Market Cafe. Another tomato customer began asking him about his restaurant. Bullard, not bragging — although he would have every right to — told the man about the food he prepares. Everything is made from scratch and locally sourced when possible, as evidenced by those tomatoes he was picking out and putting in his box. Many of the dishes served in the restaurant are his original recipes. I loved listening to him talk. His New Orleans roots linger in his accent.

I had never met Bullard, but know his wife, Sally, from eating lunch at Main Street Market Cafe. It is one of my favorites in Vicksburg. Their soups — particularly the black bean soup, in my opinion — and lunch specials are just fabulous. I told him and the other shoppers so.

Walking back to my car I thought about just how truly blessed we are here in Vicksburg. I drove home through downtown and watched people walk up the sidewalk and in and out of shops and restaurants.

Our restaurants in downtown alone are the envy of many so communities. From the legendary Walnut Hills to Rusty’s and Roca to the Historic Klondyke — and so many others — we have something for everyone.

Don’t let the season end without taking a stroll downtown, visiting the shops and stopping in for a meal at your favorite restaurant.

Jan Griffey is general manager of The Vicksburg Post. You may reach her at jan.griffey@vicksburgpost.com.