She and her daughter and granddaughters methodically pulled out tables and filled them with collard greens, English peas, romaine lettuce, cabbage, onions and homemade canned goods.
And then they waited for customers.
“It’s been a little slow this year,” said Hilliard. “But we’ve had a rainy season and that affects the market a whole lot. You’ve got to be able to get out in the field and get your stuff.”
Debbie Brangenberg, executive director of the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association, isn’t worried, though.
She said the market, which opened Mother’s Day weekend, will pick up in the next few weeks as the weather turns warmer. Other seasonal markets, such as those in New Albany, Corinth, Belmont, Iuka and Prentiss County, are waiting until June to open.
“We had nine producers the first Saturday we opened,” Brangenberg said. “Tuesdays and Thursdays we’re running about five vendors with 12 to 15 on Saturdays.”
All 26 spaces at the market, located on South Spring Street near the railroad tracks, have been rented for the season, which runs through the end of October.
“All our regular producers are back this year and we have two new young men – Horton Nash and Will Reed – who have been coming on Saturdays,” Brangenberg said. “We’re really excited to have the new ones, but we’re also pleased to have our steadfast vendors.”
A new offering this year in Tupelo is the Children’s Market on Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m.
“The kids don’t have a lot of produce ready yet, but they’ll have zinnias, sunflowers, eggs and maybe some early melons,” said Daphene Hendricks, marketing associate for Main Street.
“To generate interest, we’ll have activities for the kids every Thursday,” she said. “Next week is Jump, Bend, Twist & Shout with Carrot from the Wellness Center. One day, we’ll have Peanut Factory where they’ll learn to make homemade peanut butter.”
Brangenberg is hoping the Children’s Market can help some vendors who can’t get a spot at the regular market.
“As more crops come in and we have last-minute vendors who only have one specialty thing to sell, like figs, maybe our Children’s Market can take some of the overflow on those Thursday nights,” she said.
Brangenberg noted that while producers at the market will always focus on fresh fruits and vegetables, breads, cakes, farm-fresh eggs, homemade jams and jellies and flowers, there are new offerings every year.
“It’s more than just okra, tomatoes, peas and corn,” she said. “It’s new potatoes, broccoli and fresh herbs. We really want to see this market grow.”
Contact Ginna Parsons at (662)678-1581 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Tupelo Farmers’ Market on South
Spring Street beside the railroad tracks;
Tuesdays,Thursdays and Saturdays, 6
a.m. until noon; Children’s Market Thursdays
5 to 8 p.m.; (662) 841-6598.
- Mid-Town Farmers’ Market in the
Mid-Town Shopping Center in the 700
block of N. Lamar Boulevard in Oxford;
Saturdays 7 to 11 a.m.; will be open
Wednesdays from noon to 5 p.m. beginning
in June; (662) 234-3425.
- Starkville Community Market at the
corner of Lampkin and Jackson streets;
Saturdays 8 to 11 a.m.; (662) 323-3322.