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Street Talk

By Mickey Howley

Saturday, April 20, is the opening day of the Water Valley Farmers Market. That will be a month into spring, March 20 being the vernal equinox. A very wet and not-so-cold winter has helped local growers get an early start, which is good for us. Locally grown and freshly picked produce tastes the best and is the best for you. The hours have changed this year, it is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., still under the Big Magnolia in Railroad Park. 

Singer-songwriter Alanna Mosley of Carrollton will perform live on opening day (sponsored by Turnage Drug Store). 

For you gardeners there will be a plant sale on the opening day with hundreds of starter plants like lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, mint, oregano, sorrel, lemon balm, and walking onions. Yes, the onions walk, like Egyptians.  For produce there will be plenty of peak ripeness mid-spring produce, the cold hardy stuff that’s good for you. There will be fresh baked bread and canned goods.

There’s new vendors also along with your old favorites. Jones Family Farm, Nina Watts, and Harris Farm have all confirmed that they intend to be there. Look for the full list in this paper in the next few weeks.

 Kevin Guyer is taking over as the market manager. Kevin and his wife, Kerry O’Donaghue, have been long time vendors at this market and others. They know the details and are looking for new and interested persons to be vendors at the market. I have always felt the market has acted as an opportunity for people with an idea to try something. 

Alexe van Beuren was the first manager and there’s a direct line from her running the market to the BTC Old Fashioned Grocery Store stating up as a business. Lawton Gafford was a regular vendor at the market prior to opening the Trusty Diner. 

 The market has not just been a catalyst for businesses, but also professional careers. 

 Back in 2007 and wishing to start a market, Justin McGuirk and Alexe van Beuren thought it was great idea. Only there was a local ordinance against Farmers Markets. Yes, those pesky local ordinances. Why it was there and how long it been enacted nobody seemed really to know. 

But there it was. It took two city council meetings, but then it was repealed and market began in the middle of summer 2007 and has been going ever since. 

Justin McGuirk ended up going back to college and on to law school at Berkley and is now a practicing lawyer who is specializing in municipal law. He was back in town two weeks ago, visiting with his wife and sister-in-law, and he commented that the regulatory actions of 2007 in Water Valley started him off on his career. It is amazing what fresh vegetable can do.

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