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Street Talk

Empty Market Due To More Than Cold

By Mickey Howley

Felder Rushing on his radio show the Gestalt Gardner said last Friday morning that he was just getting in his very his first tomatoes of the season. Felder lives and gardens in Jackson, 140 miles south of here.  
I should have remembered the frozen wiper blades on my pickup the morning of May 4th. Frozen, as in ice on cars, houses, and most of all, plants. Those should have been clues that the growing season is running late, real late. And so at the opening day of the Farmers Market last Saturday, there were no farmers. None. Nobody had any produce.
So that morning while I was hoping at least one person might come with fresh things, I was thinking it was sort of like a perfect storm. Have you read the book or seen the movie, “The Perfect Storm?” It is one of my favorites. George Clooney plays a commercial fishing boat captain—all commercial fishermen look that good—and while the movie is “Hollywooded up” for some scenes, the basic idea of three smaller systems colliding to make one big thing happen came into my mind last Saturday morning.
While the cold weather had much to do with having no produce, there were other systems in play. There are other markets. And more com-ing. Oxford has started a second one, it is out on West Jackson Exten-sion, so pretty far off the beaten path, but their second market nonetheless.  
Calhoun City started one last year. Bruce and Charleston have started markets this year. Vardaman is thinking about starting one, too. Pontotoc is expanding their market, building a pavilion and rest rooms and making it a big place. There are courting Tupelo somewhat, but still it is a big investment. True that the Taylor market closed after the 2011 season, having been running for several years, but the overall trend here in Mississippi and nationwide is a dramatic increase in the number of Farmers Markets.     Only there aren’t enough farmers to go around.  And then there is the CSA—not the Confederate States of America, but Community Supported Agriculture. CSAs are groups who buy direct from a farmer, you get a basket each week of what is fresh, and this process bypasses the markets. There is a successful CSA on the edge of the Yocona River, Yokna Bottoms Farm and several more in the area thinking about starting.
So all this competition has sprung up since Justin McGuirk and Alexe van Beuren first started the WV market seven years ago and were looking for local farmers to participate.
Requirements to be in the market are simple. Grow something or make something, stuff has to be local and Mississippi made or grown. Show up at 7:45 and stay to 11. Check in with Eddie Ray or Dave Kuchta or me or whoever from WV Main Street is running the market that Saturday. It cost 5 dollars per market day. We’ll throw in some strong coffee. Call 473-6767 if you need more info than that.
Bozarts Galley has a new show opening this Friday night. The name of this exhibit is the “Exchange Show” as the artists showing are all coming from the Powerhouse in Oxford.  And later this month all the Bozarts artists are going to the Powerhouse in Oxford.
That opening is June 25. That opening will part of the Oxford Art Crawl—(uh, something else they copied from WV). So let’s be clear, art this Friday night in Water Valley and in three Tuesdays WV art in Oxford.

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