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 Agricultural 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.
RAYMOND, Miss. -- This year's early spring temperatures allowed some fruit and vegetable growers to plant their crops a little earlier than usual.
Jeremy Maness, Mississippi State University Extension agent in Smith County, said growers in his county have not experienced any problems so far despite a late freeze.
"Everything is going well," he said. "Tomatoes grown in greenhouses or high tunnels are ready now. We project watermelons will be ready around mid- to late June, and field tomatoes should be ready to start coming off the vine around the first week of June."
WOODVILLE, Miss. -- Farmers market and cottage industry sales are a significant part of the Mississippi food scene, and Mississippi State University Extension Service training is helping entrepreneurs take advantage of these business opportunities.
The MSU Extension Service and Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion offers training on acidified canned foods and general food safety at locations across the state. An upcoming workshop will be held April 25 in Woodville, Mississippi, at the J.R. Hamilton Extension Building.
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.