- story and photos by Lisa Monti
After Katrina, one of the things people here often mentioned that they missed most was the popular Farmers Market off Longfellow Road. On Saturdays, people would come from up and down the Coast to buy produce, plants, art, sweets and other items from a large pool of vendors. Locals and visitors made it a ritual to shop, visit with friends and load up on something to eat, cook or plant every Saturday.
There were a few attempts to bring the market back after Katrina but nothing ever took hold until late 2016 when David and Cindy Kenny of Bay St. Louis spearheaded the effort to get the market going again. They researched farmers market operations, courted vendors, printed flyers and began promoting the market with the cooperation and support of county and city officials.
On the Shoofly
Since opening day on Dec. 3, the new Hancock County Farmers Market has attracted a growing list of vendors. Shoppers can buy local honey, fresh goat cheese, a large selection of locally grown produce, homemade Italian dishes and sweets, jellies and jams, locally brewed coffee, hydroponically grown lettuce and herbs, locally made hot tamales, Mississippi peanuts and a variety of homemade products such as cleaners, soaps and candles. Handmade jewelry, wooden signs, lamps and other items are on sale as well under the covered pavilions.
The response has been highly favorable. One shopper wrote on the Farmers Market Facebook page: “Oh my goodness what a wonderful market. We had the best time visiting with all the vendors this morning. Fresh lettuce, basil, pepper lettuce, bay leaves, lasagna, stuffed bell peppers, Olive salad mix, eggplant caponata, The little Italian man was absolutely awesome. Essential oils and soaps by a wonderful couple who were very knowledgeable. We just had an absolute blast cannot wait … to get here to see what the farmers market vendors will bring then.”
As springtime nears, the expectations are high that more vendors and more items will be available every Saturday.
Follow the Hancock County Farmers Market on Facebook at @HancockCoFarmersMarket for updates on vendors and other information.