Thursday, June 28, 2012
Grand opening of Farmers Market a hit
By SUE WATSON
The official grand opening of the Farmers Market on the court square in Holly Springs was well attended, according to Lisa Liddy, a supporter of the event.
Seven vendors, if you include the free water table, were present June 16 for the official kickoff.
Some items for sale at the market include fresh garden vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers (both cut and hanging baskets).
Hal and Simpson Stroupe sold out by 11 a.m. June 16. Each Saturday, vendors are selling out by noon, she said.
The Marshall County Board of Supervisors are due a hand of applause for providing the west side of the courthouse lawn for setup and parking.
“Having such a visible location is crucial to our success,” Liddy said. “We should also thank the city of Holly Springs for their support.”
Travelers driving through town notice the market and stop and buy from vendors, Liddy said.
“We see a lot of Tennessee car tags and my last customer of the day at the Flora Farms booth was a family from Missouri,” Liddy said. “I have heard many people say that they are happy to see activity on the square on Saturday mornings. They enjoy the festival atmosphere and getting to visit. They are also happy to have access to locally grown produce.”
The Farmers Market, in its second year, is a promotions committee function of the Holly Springs Main Street Association. The Farmers Market committee operates separately and is headed up by Gary Adams; Liddy is secretary; and Lemon Phelps, with the MSU Extension Office, is a member and advisor. The original members who helped put the committee together also include George Gwin, Marilyn Cheeseman, Edie Hagard, Katey Jones and Revelyn Coleman. Amy Poteet came on board in May as market manager, replacing Suzann Williams who managed the market last year.
The Farmers Market also receives some support from the Northwest Mississippi Community Foundation’s Healthy Foods/Healthy Kids project.
At the grand opening, Jody James and Adams provided musical entertainment and chef Michael Pratt provided cooking demonstrations. Pratt visited all the vendors and selected vegetables from each vendor to prepare dishes.
“This helped the vendors because the people who watched Michael’s demonstration wanted to buy these items and use his recipes at home,” Liddy said.
Johnny and Nancy Boone (JB’s) served homemade ice-cream as part of the grand opening promotion.
“We were thrilled to have such a large crowd in attendance,” Liddy said. “Gary Adams said the grand opening exceeded all of his expectations.”
Gwin is excited about the potential for the market to stimulate community.
“It does excite me a great deal,” he said. “The grand opening is an exciting thing of what it can be. It’s just great for community activity and sharing stories.”
Gwin was excited about unusual products like black cherry tomatoes and Italian squash.
“All that is fun, but in addition to that, I think it is great for Holly Springs,” he said. “It’s organic. It will evolve on its own. It will keep growing. There will be additional things to come.”
The state does regulate what can be sold at the markets, on some products like canned foods that have to be prepared in a certified kitchen, he said.
“Chef Michael would agree, it gives restaurants an opportunity to interact with the growers and add to their menus. In the end, hopefully it would bring fresh vegetables to folks who otherwise would not be able to get them.”
Having grown up in a culture where fruits and vegetables were produced in home orchards and gardens and preserved or frozen for later consumption, Gwin added that people raised the old-fashioned way, who now have full-time, off-the-farm jobs, still like the culture.
“That is a key point,” he said. “We believe in it. It’s so much healthier and tastes so good.”
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