Farmer’s Market

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Alderman envisions farmers’ market on Downtown Square

By Billy Davis

If Batesville’s mayor and aldermen can organize a farmers’ market by next summer, the town would join other communities that are watching eager customers snatch up fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods, and other homemade offerings.

The City of Batesville budgeted $10,000 for the endeavor, but Mayor Jerry Autrey said this week the project is still in its beginning stages.

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“We know we want one, but we’re just getting started,” the mayor said.

The budgeted funds would most likely be used to build an open-air structure that would house vendors.

Autrey said city leaders must also find a location for the farmers’ market, but Alderman Bobbie Jean Pounders said she hopes the market will operate on the east side of the Downtown Square near the pavilion.

Pounders said she presented the idea of a farmers’ market to Autrey and the board after she visited markets in Tunica and Hernando, which hold their markets in downtown areas.

Oxford and Water Valley also have thriving farmers’ markets.

Pounders recalled that a Batesville farmers’ market was started some years ago but died away. The popularity of markets in nearby towns points to a better chance for Batesville, she said.

“Batesville has the potential to have a nice market. The people will come,” she said. “It may start out slow, but this time I believe it will catch on.”

An August story in The Commercial Appeal described the Hernando farmers’ market, where four vendors sold out of baked goods, goat-milk soaps, and canned preserves, jams and jellies.

The Hernando Chamber of Commerce sponsors the farmers’ market, where vendors pay $5 a day for the Saturday sale. The Hernando market runs through October.

The Oxford market, known as the Mid-town Farmers’ Market, is open on Saturdays and Wednesdays through September.

A Web site for the Mid-town market states that it’s “staffed and run” by volunteers, and limits its vendors to farmers, producers and bakers whose products come from Mississippi.