There has been tremendous growth in the number of farmers’ markets recently. Mississippi has 85 known markets in operation as of 2015. And more are planned.
Why the interest? It's because farmers’ markets are a win-win situation. They are good for the farmer and good for the shopper.
Shoppers can get the freshest produce when buying direct from the people who grew it. And fresher foods are usually healthier and taste better. Prices at farmers’ markets are generally lower, too.
Fruit and vegetable growers have the opportunity to sell directly to the consumer, allowing them to have a closer connection with their buyers and make better profits as well. By eliminating the brokers, distributors, and shippers, state growers get to keep a larger portion of the sales price, while still selling at competitive retail prices.
The markets vary sharply in how many months per year and which days per week they are open, how many vendors there are on any day, what kinds of produce as well as crafts and artistic products are for sale, and whether they include organic fruits and vegetables. Check the linked listing below and call for information if needed to be sure.
The largest market in the state is the Mississippi Farmers’ Market in Jackson, just off the High Street exit near the fairgrounds. With an 18,000 square foot building and 32 stalls, it is open three days per week in season, and on Saturdays all year.
The smallest is probably the one-day per year market in Crystal Springs, which is part of the annual Tomato Festival, the last Saturday in June each year. This one, on a downtown street by the railroad tracks, has 15 to 20 vendors, with lots of tomatoes, watermelons, blueberries, and other summer produce.
Listen to our radio Public Service Announcement promoting Mississippi fruits and vegetables, produced by Mississippi State University's Ag Communications Department.
- Farmers markets serve as local development driver
- Growers find perfect fit with farmers markets
- Freshness, personal connections drive farmers market shopping
- Demand for local produce, markets continues to grow
- Farmers markets provide opportunity for growers
- State truck crops have growing consumer value
- Consumers seek local foods, healthier living
- Farmers diversify income in autumn
- Truck crops benefit producers, consumers
- Commercial, truck crop farms share local roots
- Farmers' markets benefit producers and consumers
Public Service Announcements produced by the MSU Office of Agricultural Communications in 2015. They were released to Mississippi television stations.
BILOXI, Miss. -- Farmers market vendors and cottage food industry owners are invited to expand their knowledge at a Feb. 24 workshop covering food safety basics and regulations for processing acidified foods in Mississippi.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A recipe for cinnamon rolls that she found in college turned into a profitable hobby business and now a cottage industry for Christa Lee and her husband, Tyson.
Their business, LoveLee Rolls, sells pans of baked cinnamon rolls at the Starkville farmers market all summer and by word of mouth the rest of the year.
“We started in July 2014. I was staying home with the baby, and we didn’t really need more money -- just thought it would be a fun hobby,” Christa Lee said. “On the way home from the beach one day, we said, let’s just do it.”
TUPELO, Miss. -- Farmers can learn about growing and selling produce directly to the consumer during an on-farm field day organized by the Alliance for Sustainable Agricultural Production.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Favorable weather and a steady consumer appetite for local produce are keeping Mississippi’s truck crop industry strong.
The state now has more than 80 farmers markets, compared to 52 in 2010. These markets make up the main avenue through which truck crop growers sell their goods, but local produce can be found with more frequency on grocery store shelves during the growing season. This trend reflects the shift in consumer preference.
HERNANDO, Miss. -- Food safety training courses on March 30 will help make participating in certified farmers markets a little easier for processed food vendors, cottage food operators, and fruit and vegetable producers.
General Food Safety Training and Acidified Canned Foods Training will teach vendors about specific requirements and procedures for selling their products at certified farmers markets in Mississippi. The Mississippi State University Extension Service will host the seminars at the Hernando Gale Center.