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Street Talk

Good Weather Means Locally Grown Food

By Mickey Howley

I often ask folks what section of this paper they read first. You’d think most would read the front page to find out what is going on. Some do, but most head to a favorite section. Many go straight to page 5 to read Coulter’s column. It is the humor they like, even if it is pretty dark about run over turtles or snowmen on the interstate while going to a funeral. People want to laugh even about the not so humorless things in life. Just the way we are.  I always feel the true aficionados of the North Mississippi Herald read “Betty’s Week” first.

Why? I’ll tell you why… because Betty always has two constants in her column; weather and food. And that’s what folks here always talk about.

Now you might complain about the weather, but I don’t. It is pretty good here on average. That’s what I’ve been telling my deep south compadres and family ….the real Southerners back in south Louisiana. You know those obnoxious south of I-10 types with their joie de vivre…that the Valley is just right. Just far north enough where there are four seasons, but still far enough south where the seasons are usually mild. Don’t worry, they’re not listening to me, you won’t see any of them until the next hurricane.

But Betty is on to something because weather and food go together. Good weather means good food, as in locally grown and good-for-you food. Food you’ll find at the Farmers Market.

So those of you who do read this column know that WVMSA elevator speech about our purpose is “economic development through historic preservation.” Buildings fixed and people and jobs and businesses in them. The very first thing the WVMSA did back in 2007 when Jessie Gurner was the director was get a Farmers Market going. Justin McGuirk and Alexe van Beuren did a lot of the footwork on that as well. That 2007 version was a bit abbreviated, but since 2008 the FM has been going every growing season. So why would an organization interested in brick and mortar structures and the businesses in them want a FM?

Good question.  I always felt that if you were at the FM on Saturday morning, you certainly weren’t driving out of town shopping in some other town. You were in Water Valley. And you might stick around and patronize the existing businesses on Main Street. Back then your Saturday Main Street options were drugs, flowers, auto parts, hardware, and lumber. That’s all I ever want, but others somehow have different needs. There are more options now. Alexe and Justin wanted the FM because local food is better food. Jessie wanted people to get together. I think we all got what we wanted and the FM has helped the positive attitude now downtown.

If you want to be part of the FM as a grower, a food producer, a crafts person, an artist, contact anyone on the WVMSA board like Jessie Gurner, Andy O’Bryan, Justin Showah, Coulter Fus-sell, Daryl Burney, Pierce Epes, Jennifer Pace, Bill Pullen, James Peacock, Jessica Williams or me or any of the other 180 WVMSA members. My email is and office phone is 473-6767. No finer way to start your Saturday in the Valley.


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