Farmer's Market Thriving

By: Jessica Dealy Email
By: Jessica Dealy Email

The folks at the Lauderdale County Farmer's Market say they're definitely seeing a trend.

For retired farmer, Presley Minor, a farmer's market offers daily entertainment with a small side of monetary gain.

"It helps me pay my taxes and I enjoy doing it," Minor said.

Many farmers who set up stands filled with fresh vegetables underneath the 18th Avenue bridge in downtown Meridian are retired, like Minor. Most say they grow the beautiful produce for a hobby and enjoy spending their mornings talking to customers.

"It is under the overpass, so it is in the shade and is available to everybody," said Virginia Williams of B & W Orchards.

"I love the attitudes. I love the atmosphere. I am happy here," said Billy Taylor, a customer.

The quality and kindness seen at the market has been noticed by customers for years. Positive word of mouth has created quite the reputation for the farmer's market and the growing popularity of supporting local producers has given farmers something to smile about.

"It has been great!" said Jackie Belcher, a Clarke County farmer. "There has been some, I mean ,you know, there will always be a few bad days. But there have been some good days. I had some better days than I had last year, so I would say business is good."

First Lady Michelle Obama made farmers market part of her push to get Americans to eat healthier by planting a garden at the White House and encouraging cities across the U.S. to sell local produce.

The Agriculture Department announced in 2009 the "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food" initiative, which will spend at least $65 million to develop farmer's markets and other local agriculture.

Customers in Meridian have been able to know their farmers for ten years now. Those that buy the vine ripened peppers and plump tomatoes know there is no better quality vegetable than what is sold by farmers who love their crops.

The Lauderdale County Farmer's Market is open daily, from morning till early afternoon. You'll find it on Front Street, under the 18th Avenue bridge, near Union Station. For more information, call 601-693-4935.

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