Street Talk

Farmers’ Market Season Ends This Saturday

By Mickey Howley

Saturday, Oct, 3 will be the last Farmers Market for this season.  Main Street’s Farmers’ Market has been operating now for two and a half seasons. It was the first project Main Street took on, and it has been and continues to be one of our most successful ones.

The Farmers’ Market this year started with the kick off Main Street Market Festival back on May 9 (a very rainy day), and ran every Saturday and, since June, every Wednesday as well.  

In high season, it had as many as 21 vendors and now features products and produce as diverse as rocking chairs and jumbo shrimp. Most important, it’s all Mississippi stuff.  I’m still partial to the main stay of fried pies and fresh vegetables.

The Farmers’ Market, however, is more than fresh tomatoes and squash and baked goods. Main Street is behind this project because it works as a catalyst on several levels. One, as key in downtown development, it encourages buying local and making connections.

Here’s a few examples:  Last week one of our local restaurants bought a truck load of greens at the market from one of the regular vendors. So if you are eating greens at this restaurant, the money spent on greens stays in Water Valley.  

The greens are grown in Yalobusha, and none of those greens are trucked in by a big food service company based out of state.  These local connections make us eco-green and keep our local economy green at the same time. All with simple greens.

But, outside connections are not all bad. Another regular vendor was approached last year at the market by an outside garlic buyer. So this year, not only did she continue to sell her garlic at the market again, but a contract with this outside buyer allowed her to put more land in cultivation. And folks around the country who buy specialty organic garlic at high dollar health food grocery stores are buying Yalobusha garlic.

Did you notice last month’s articles about the 10% increase in local retail sales last year? If people are shopping Wednesday afternoon and Saturday morning at the Farmers’ Market, they are not spending that money in Oxford or elsewhere. Plus, they are coming downtown, right on Main Street.

Any event that brings more customers and more people to shop on Main Street, we think is good. Buying at the Farmers’ Market is buying local at its most basic. Keeping money local multiplies its economic benefits as it is re-invested in our community.

So this Saturday come and visit the Farmers’ Market from 8 to 12 for the best and last market day of the season. There will be an antique tractor show, potluck foods to sample (bring some if you want) and plenty of tasty fresh produce to buy. The Farmers’ Market will reopen on May 8, 2010 with next year’s Main Street Market Festival.

Also this Saturday from 10 to 12 in City Park, the Junior Auxiliary hosts their Art in the Park event which targets kids up to grade 6.  This is a yearly fun event with lots to do and see. Come out and support the JA and bring your kids. Saturday afternoon roll down to Coffeeville. It is their 175th Birthday Party and it looks like it will be a good one with plenty of things to do, live music, and good food.

Last week’s survey had Halloween and other social events as the favorite thing about fall. Visit www.watervalleymainstreet.com for this week’s survey on your favorite Farmers Market product this season.

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