Square Market

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Second year of farmers market opens Wednesday

 By Billy Davis

The second season of Batesville’s farmers market kicks off tomorrow, most likely with a leisurely start until more produce arrives from area gardens.  

Twenty vendors have committed to the first week, with many more expected to fill the Downtown Square when the tomatoes, squash and cucumbers start filling up baskets.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

In the meantime, some of the items for sale starting tomorrow are fried pies, jams and jellies, fresh-baked bread, free-range eggs, relishes, and homemade brownies, cookies, cakes, and rolls.

“We also expect some last-minute vendors to show up,” said Square Market co-organizer Bobbie Jean Pounders.

After numerous stop-and-go attempts in past years, Pounders and friend Glenda Bailey finally organized a Batesville farmers market last year.

Pounders and Bailey work with Batesville Main Street, which oversees the market.  

And the first stab at a farmers market did well, too, swelling to 41 vendors by mid-July despite sweltering heat. It was said the number of participating vendors rivaled — or flat-out outpaced — established farmers markets in neighboring communities.

Even though 20 vendors is far from 41, it might be worth noting that 25 vendors were participating on opening day last year, when a crowd of supportive customers snatched up fresh produce and homemade goodies.  

A “wet and cool” spring this year delayed planting in gardens, then delayed seed germination until the soil warmed up, explained Judd Gentry, the extension service director for Panola County.

“So everything’s late, in both home gardens and commercial gardens,” said Gentry.

The Extension Service director has been inspecting produce vendors on behalf of Batesville Main Street, ensuring produce sold at the Square Market is locally grown.

The newly named Square Market is also allowing craft vendors this year, setting aside six spaces that quickly filled up.

Batesville Main Street is charging vendors $5 each week, which pays for marketing and advertising.

Vendors set up for free last summer, though Main Street was overseeing the market with no available funds.

Batesville Main Street has also dropped a planned requirement for ingredient labels on each product sold at the farmers market.

After first demanding it, an official with the Miss. Department of Health allowed the Square Market to avoid the requirement, according to Pounders.

“We’re excited and looking forward to a new season of the farmers market,” said Colleen Clark, Main Street manager. “Now we’re asking the community to support it.”

For information about the Square Market, call Batesville Main Street at 563-3126.