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It’s farm to table at Brookhaven Farmers Market — Season opens Friday with picnic

The Brookhaven Farmers Market gets underway Friday with an abundance of potatoes and corn ready to purchase.

Beans and squash look like they’ll be available, too, although tomatoes could be a few weeks away, said Rebecca Bates with the Lincoln County MSU Extension Service.

The opening day celebration includes a community-wide picnic, sponsored by the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce and Farm Bureau Insurance. The market will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Railroad Park. The picnic starts at 11 a.m.

Farm Bureau is bringing the big grill and will be serving up free hot dogs while supplies last. They will be selling hamburgers for $3, and hamburger and hot dog plates for $5 each. Those come with chips and a drink.

All proceeds from the sale are donated to the Brookhaven Farmers Market for its operating costs, said Chamber President Sam Sones.

The Chamber joined with Farm Bureau to help kickoff the market with the picnic and to spotlight local farmers. Entertainer Ralph Miller will provide music for shoppers that morning.

Shoppers can expect to see some familiar faces at the market.

“All of the usual people are returning,” Bates said.

In addition to fruits and veggies, there will be breads, pies and canned goods, too.

The market alternates hours and locations through the season, which ends in August.

She’s not quite sure when in August though.

“As long as produce is available, we will be open,” she said.

While Friday morning market — 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. — will always be at the park next to South Whitworth Avenue, the Tuesday afternoon market is held at Goldbold Transportation Center. It starts June 5, and runs every Tuesday from 3 to 6 p.m. into August.

Bates said the market has been held on Friday mornings for years, but they received “a good number” of phone calls concerned at not being able to get to the morning sale. So Bates and the vendors started the Tuesday afternoon market at the Godbold Transportation Center a few blocks away but still next to the train tracks.

A huge perk with the afternoon market is the location — it’s inside the air-conditioned train station.

“It’s such a nice building. And there’s plenty of parking available,” she said.

The vendors get the added benefit of new customers.

“We have people getting on the train and off the train and shopping,” she said. “Everybody always acts surprised when they get off the train and there’s a market.”

June 8 is also a big day at the market, Bates said.

It’s Dairy Day, which means free ice cream and chocolate milk from Prairie Farms, free grilled sweet corn from Farm Bureau, visits by area dairy farmers and representatives from the Dairy Alliance and baby calves for the youth to feed and pet.

4-H agent Jennifer Williams and Latoya Sillman will be manning a tent with activities for kids. They’ll be making ice cream in a bag and churning butter. The Lincoln County Master Gardners will be demonstrating tomato-plant staking techniques.

Farm Bureau will be grilling hamburgers to sale during Dairy Day with proceeds returned to the market. Miller will again be playing music for the crowd.

Vendors are still needed for the regular market. No fees are charged for spots. To register as a  vendor, call 601-835-3460.

“We certainly need more local vegetable producers for the market,” she said.

Entertainers are also needed for both the Tuesday and Friday markets.