Mississippi Farmers Market and Genuine Mississippi Store: Bringing out the Best of the State
By Brandi Perry
Mississippi Farmers Market
Did you know that in Downtown Jackson, just outside the fairgrounds is a farmers’ market that offers more than 18,000 square feet? At the Mississippi Farmer’s Market, farmers from all over the state bring in their best farm-fresh produce. The all-weather building that the farmers market calls home was built with 32 stalls and roll-up doors. Visitors feel as though they have stepped back in time when they journey through the market with any fruit or vegetable they can imagine, or the freshest milk and coffee money can buy. Growers and farmers of all sizes bring their bounty to the state capital.
Depending on the time of year and what is readily available, what visitors may find at the Farmers Market change from month to month. It is obvious that the winter months may be a little slim on products, but you can guarantee hothouse tomatoes and delicious fresh cabbage. In April, there will be a huge increase in the product variety, including, green and pole beans, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi and English peas. The month with the best production in the spring is May which brings blueberry, muscadines, peaches, plums, strawberries, sweet corn, pickling cucumbers, slicing cucumbers, English peas, Irish Potatoes and greenhouse tomatoes. For the summer, June leads the way with green, pole and butter
beans, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, cantaloupe, sweet corn, eggplant, turnip, mustard and collard greens, in addition to all types of pepper, squash and tomatoes.
In the dead of winter, many people assume nothing is sold at the farmers market, but that could not be any further from the truth. The Mississippi Farmer’s Market offers a very Merry Christmas that includes visits with Santa Claus, vendor giveaways and door prizes. The vendors and the Genuine Mississippi store offer gifts for that special someone in your life. In addition, you can also buy your Christmas tree from a Mississippi Tree Farm where Leyland cypress and Eastern red cedar are the stars of the show.
Many of the participants in the farmers market are a part of the Mississippi Certified Farmers Market program. This program is a voluntary branding program created and administered by
the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce to promote and identify a marketplace for Mississippi grown fruits, vegetables, plant materials and other products made and/or processed in the state. The primary objectives of a Mississippi Certified Market are to offer a diverse product selection, attract a large and repeating customer base, and afford farmers a profitable location to sell produce and other goods. Certified Farmers Markets also allow those consumers the opportunity to interact with the farmers while providing them with the satisfaction of knowing the origin of their food and the opportunity to support the local economy.
If you are interested in showcasing your arts and crafts, processed foods or produce, applications can be found on the farmers market website, mdac.ms.gov/bureaus-departments/farmers-market.
The Farmers Market is located at 929 High Street in Jackson and is open Saturdays from 8 am to 1 pm. Be sure to signup for the What’s Fresh Newsletter to stay up to date on all the events and schedules of the Mississippi Farmers Market.
Genuine Mississippi Store
In the building with the Farmers Market is the Genuine Mississippi Store. The Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce created Genuine MS to make it easy for people from around the state and visitors to Mississippi to find and enjoy products created or produced by Mississippi farmers and entrepreneurs.
Genuine Mississippi products fall into four categories: grown, raised, crafted and made. The grown section can include grain, grasses, fiber, horticulture, produce, nuts and even timber. Raised can include meat, aquaculture, seafood, dairy, bees, honey, livestock and eggs. Even more, the crafted section may include specialty foods, artisan products and pet food and pet items. Finally, the made products can be almost anything if the item has 51% or more is manufactured in the Magnolia State.
If you fall into any of these categories, you could be eligible to be a member of Genuine Mississippi and see your product soar with the benefits that come from being a member. Members can use the Genuine Mississippi logo on products that qualify for the program, packaging and promotional materials. Additionally, members of Genuine Mississippi have a profile at genuinems.com, which contains information about the products, the stories about them, contact information for the members, links to their website and social media, and places to purchase the product. Additionally, the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce program through advertising, social media, highlights in the Mississippi Market Bulletin, as well as through participation in special events to encourage consumers and buyers to purchase products made, grown, raised or crafted in Mississippi.