• 79°

Farmers Market debuts for summer in park

The consensus among the farmers and patrons at Friday’s kickoff to the Brookhaven Farmers Market was positive.

Simply put, “It’s a good little market,” Paul Ellis of Ellis Farms in Hazelhurst said from behind his stacked assortment of jarred delicacies.

Salsas, relishes, chow-chow, jams, jellies and pickled okra were among Ellis’ offerings Friday morning. He promised his ever-popular blackberry jam would make its summer debut next week.

“They’re fixing to pop,” he said referring to the succulent berries found on the side of many a southern road this time of year.

Ellis has set up shop at the Hazlehurst market for years but said this is his first time to sell his goods in Brookhaven.

“There has been a lot of traffic,” he said. “I feel like we’ve really got a chance here.”

Fellow Copiah County farmer Lin Parsons was also optimistic about her chances down in Lincoln County.

“This is a very busy market compared to Hazlehurst,” she said. “And the people here are very nice and very friendly.”

Parsons runs Eden Organics from her farm in Gullman. In addition to her array of unique squash, including the rather eye-catching giant pink banana variety displayed proudly in her basket, she operates a full-fledged cottage industry complete with goats, chickens and GMO and chemical free crops.

Set up next to Parsons, Calvin Spencer advocated his locally harvested honey to the passing public.

“It’s pure honey,” he said. “It can’t get more fresh than this, it was still in the hive last Saturday.”

The Bogue Chitto native jokingly admitted to the origins of his real passion for nature’s sweetener.

“I guess I just like fooling with bees,” he said.

Also representing Bogue Chitto was Mary Kellogg from D&M Nursery. The veteran local marketer displayed her peculiar air plants that grow without the need of soil.

Although, Kellogg’s horticulture know-how has been featured in Southern Living magazine, she remains humbly attached to her Lincoln County roots.

“I’ve been here every year since it opened,” she said. “You have to support your home town.”

Another familiar face at the market was Clois Wilson of Wilson Farms in Brookhaven. Despite a late cold snap in the spring planting season, Wilson explained market-goers avidly bought up his cold weather crops, like the red potatoes flying off the shelf.

Wilson assured inquiring customers that his vine-ripened tomatoes and sweet corn would soon be filling his baskets.

The scene was complete for a typical southwest Mississippi farm with the presence of dairy calves Friday in the market’s Railroad Park venue.

Youngster’s eyes lit up as they petted the baby cows and were encouraged by local dairymen to help them name their prized milk producers during Dairy Day activities.

If you missed Friday’s festivities, don’t fret. The market continues through the summer every Friday from 7:30 a.m. to noon at Railroad Park and every Tuesday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Amtrak station.