Good Music, Fresh Food – Mississippi Farmers Markets
The growth in the number of Mississippi Farmers Markets recently has been exponential. Every market in the state varies in terms of what days they are open, the duration of trading, how many months in the year they are open and vendors also vary per market, as do the types of products and services that are available.
These markets provide the freshest products, it would be like you were growing it yourself and picking it, as you are about to toss it into the hot pan. Many producers harvest the day prior to a market or the morning of the market, most produce comes from within a 25 mile radius of the market venue. For the consumer this means less transportation time and longer growing time. A lot of products, like tomatoes, when grown for the major retail chains, are picked green and then chemically ripened using ethanol. This affects the taste and nutritional value of the products. Producers who sell at Farmers Markets probably cannot produce or harvest on a large enough scale for the major retail chains and as such their product tastes better and has a higher nutritional value than what you would buy at a retailer.
Elimination of the middle men by the producer ensures better profits for their farming concern. This gives the farmer the ability to still sell at a competitive price, still beating supermarket prices. The consumers can then buy much fresher, more nutritional foods at a lower price than is usually available from the retail outlets. The revenue earned at a farmers market is kept in the local community fostering economic stimulation of the local economy.Markets in their own right also boost tourism to the local area as visitors come from all areas to experience the market atmosphere and buy produce. Demand is high at these markets as less and less people grow or rear fresh produce.
These markets are highly sought after attractions and their wares abound in gorgeous fresh bountiful fruit and vegetables, wholesome and delicious stock often including ducks eggs, artisan breads and biscuits, fresh cut flowers, plants and seedlings, pickled and fermented goods, jams, berries, corn meals, polenta, pies, speciality baked products like tarts, puddings, Danishes and cinnamon rolls, cakes, preserves. Chickens, pork, eggs, cheeses, meats and sausages, butter and cream and loads more unique culinary temptations. All markets have entertainment and attractions Live music, cooking demonstrations, children’s and senior citizen activities.
Mississippi has 81 farmers’ markets. This is a drastic increase from 10 years ago when there were a dozen markets state-wide. Every county has a market, some have two or more.
Mississippi Farmers Markets give consumers the advantage of buying locally grown and reared products. Most of these markets are seasonal and occur two or three times a week in season. Farmers work full time and these markets give them an alternative to row cropping and selling directly to the consumers and getting to know their end user.They are a vital component of increasing economic development and agricultural income in Mississippi