Farmers’ Market thriving in new location with new offerings, expanded vendors
Farmers’ markets encourage a sense of community. They are a gathering place for locals to catch up with friends and enjoy the outdoors while also taking advantage of buying fresh produce and homemade goods.
A farmers’ market has been offered in downtown Vicksburg for more than a decade and has grown with each passing year.
“I would say we have between 300 and 400 people come down,” Vicksburg Farmers’ Market manager Rebecca Tarver said, adding the market usually attracts 15 to 17 vendors each week.
The Vicksburg Farmers’ Market has markets each Wednesday afternoon and Saturday mornings throughout the summer. The market is located at Washington Street Park.
“This year at our market we have seen a variety of vendors,” Tarver said. “We have had multiple produce vendors selling the freshest produce you can find in Mississippi, and we have had vendors that sell items such as local honey, canned jams and jellies, homemade pastas, and fresh baked bread.”
There is a meat vendor who sells fresh farm raised beef and dog treats, Tarver said, while Michael Broussard of Gulf Seafood Connection brings in fresh seafood most Wednesdays.
Residents can go to Broussard’s Facebook page, Vicksburg Gulf Seafood Connection, and pre-order seafood. He then delivers those orders during the Wednesday afternoon markets.
Mike Rodriguez, who is a vendor at various markets in the state and a newcomer to the local market, said he likes the setup in Vicksburg.
“It’s a good location and a closed street, which is a good thing,” he said.
Rodriguez sells pasture-raised eggs and is licensed by the state of Mississippi and the USDA.
Kate Montgomery has been selling her jellies, jams, salsa and other canned items at the Vicksburg Farmers’ Market since it started.
“I have been here since the first Saturday it started,” Montgomery said. “My husband worked with me until he passed away, and I have been doing it by myself ever since. I don’t work, so this is fun. This is what I enjoy doing.”
While all of Montgomery’s homemade items are exceptional, she said it is her salsa that is the favorite of many visitors to the market.
“My salsa is my specialty and is my best seller,” she said. “It is my own recipe and has an outstanding flavor.”
Donnie McGowan, from Raymond, said he has been participating in the local farmers’ market for the past 10 years.
“Everybody brags that we have the best tasting tomatoes than anybody,” he said. “That’s not me saying it, that’s the people saying it.”
Additional offerings at the market include fresh flowers and artwork.
“We also have the Master Gardeners who come with new information for all of your gardening needs each week,” Tarver said.
Prior to this year, the market was set up on the grassy area located at the corner of Washington and Jackson streets. Because of the new multipurpose park that has been built there, vendors are set up in front of the area along the sidewalks.
“We have really enjoyed having the renovated park there and it has given us a new opportunity to set up differently like we always have,” Tarver said, “And we have been able to close the 1000 block of Washington Street.”
Tarver said she feels visitors to the farmers’ market are staying longer because of the new setup and the new park.
“They can walk along and stroll through. They seem to take their time more than just stopping and getting out of their car and getting the one thing they need,” she said.
Handicap parking is available for both vendors and shoppers.
The Vicksburg’s Farmers’ Market is open from 4-6 p.m. on Wednesdays and from 8-11 a.m. on Saturdays.
Tarver said the Vicksburg Farmers’ Market will run until the end of July, but if people are still interested, the market could be extended through August.
“The atmosphere we have this year allows customers to stay awhile and truly capture why this is such a fantastic community event,” Tarver said.