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Street Talk

Farmer’s Market Gets Underway June 2


There are two regional magazines out this month with features on downtown Water Valley businesses and people. DeSoto Magazine has a three-and-a-half page piece on the effort your Main Street Association has had in the last decade, commenting on the attitude and energy the town has now. Mud&Magnolias Magazine has a four-page article geared to folks who would visit and be day-trippers from across North Mississippi. 

Both are great coverage. Press like this comes from the past decade of hard work by a very dedicated group. It is also the type of coverage you just can’t buy, unlike paid advertising, it is somebody else saying good things about us – which is the best endorsement. Can you place a value on that? Well just check the advertising rates of what it would cost to buy multiple full pages and you’ll find the value pretty high.                                                                                                   

Starting Friday June 2 from 3 to 6 p.m. is the downtown Farmers Market. This makes the market’s 10th year. Note there’s a time shift from being on Saturday morning to Friday afternoon. A decade ago the starting of this market was the first visible act by the startup Main Street Association. You might think that tomatoes would not be obvious path to historic commercial district revival, but you’d be wrong. 

You see the idea was not only to get local produce direct from grower to buyer, but also have people downtown on Saturday morning. For if they were in downtown Water Valley on Saturday morning, they could not be in Oxford or Batesville or Tupelo shopping. 

It was shopping local at its most elemental level – if people stayed in the Valley, they’d also shop the local Main Street stores and not the chain and big box stores the other towns have. So, getting people to stay local and shop local was a key element in starting the market. We think that has benefitted every business on Main Street. 

Summer Saturdays a decade ago seemed awfully slow but that is not the case anymore. And it is not the case anymore that there are just a few Farmers Markets around, this increase is a nationwide trend. So, with several more in area than a decade ago, the local vendors asked for a shift, and based on an example we saw in the tiny town of Woodville, we are going to try Friday afternoon. 

Now Friday is already a good time downtown, but we hope this shift makes it even more so. The Water Valley Farmers Market operates under some pretty simple rules. The produce or product (if it not edible) must be Mississippi grown or made. And if you are the vendor, you must have had a hand in growing or making the produce or product. There is a weekly fee to be a vendor or you can buy a discounted season pass. First time vendors get a free try to see if they like being at the market. We hope you do and your goods find buyers. If you have any other question call 473-6767 or email manager@watervalleymainstreet.com. See you at the market under the big magnolia!

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