Farmer’s market off to great start

Published 5:00 am Monday, June 8, 2009

Summer has officially arrived, and the evidence is the successof the first Brookhaven Farmer’s Market of the year.

The market took place Friday morning at Railroad Park, andvendors brought truckloads of produce, baked goods, homemadetrinkets and jellies and jams. Mississippi State Extension ServiceDirector Rebecca Bates said she thought the day was quite asuccess.

“I was impressed with the number of growers that were there forit being so early in the season and being such a cool spring,” shesaid. “Everyone was all sold out by noon.”

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And produce lovers can expect it to get bigger as the seasoncontinues, Bates said.

“The producers that were there today will have more variety andmore quantity further into the season, and we’ve got producers I’vebeen speaking with all winter who weren’t there today,” she saidFriday. “I think the challenge is going to be to produce enoughproduct to last the day in the future, because it went quicktoday.”

The farmers market starts at 7:30 a.m. every Friday, andproducers come from all around the area to sell the goods they’vegrown in their own gardens, or that they’ve crafted or created withtheir own hands.

Even 10-year-old Luke Howell had a table where he was sellingokra, squash, cucumbers and beets. There were also vendors withbaked goods, candles, plants and birdhouses.

“I checked on all of them,” Bates said. “I know the ladies thatwere there with the fresh baked goods sold out.”

Sheryl Hubbard of Barlow was looking for cucumbers, and shefound some. She said she only buys fresh produce, even if it meansshe has to travel.

“Today I got my cucumbers,” she said. “I also bought a lot ofother stuff I didn’t mean to buy. But we’ll eat good thisweek.”

While the popularity of the farmers market rides mostly on thehome-grown fruits and vegetables, Bates said there is also apositive ambiance that makes shopping fun for visitors.

“I think it’s the atmosphere, it’s festive,” she said. “But youalso get to know the person you buy your food from. I know some ofour growers that it’s their second year, they’re seeing customersthat were repeat customers last years returning to them this year,and that’s important.”

The market will have different focuses throughout the season aswell. June 19 brings Dairy Day, which means there will be a dairytent set up with free information and recipes, as well as freechocolate milk and a dairy cook-off.

There will also be demonstrations and other special events atfuture farmers markets, Bates said, adding that it makes a funenvironment for people who just want to drop in and see what’sgoing on.

“Just come back next week,” she said.