- Story and photos by Lisa Monti
Making a run to the Hancock County Farmers Market on Saturday morning is a ritual that was dashed by Hurricane Katrina and recently paused by the coronavirus, but now things are more or less back on track on Longfellow Road.
The market’s five pavilions, provided by the Hancock County Board of Supervisors, are seeing a steady stream of shoppers as peak produce season gets underway. Volunteer David Kenny, who helped revive the market a couple of years ago, said 300 to 400 people come out each Saturday between 8 am and noon to shop.
A couple of dozen vendors arrive early for set-up, some in trucks pulling trailers, filling their tables with jams, jellies, jerky, local honey, farm-fresh eggs and produce of every kind, plus fresh meat and dairy, local plants and handmade jewelry, artwork and baked goods. It’s local one-stop shopping with the added benefit of freshness.
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He said new vendors are calling weekly, especially during peak summer and fall/winter season. This week the newcomers include a Pearl River, La., farm that sells stuffed chicken and stuffed turkey. They will join two regular vendors who sell USDA-certified meats and dairy once a month on alternating Saturdays - Honestly Beef of Collins, Miss., and Black Creek Farm of Picayune.
The market now has self-regulated foot traffic, with shoppers lining up to enter the pavilions as others are exiting to keep safely distanced. Vendors are expected to wear masks and gloves. The market is handicap-accessible, and bathroom facilities are available for vendors and customers.
Vendors can set up at the Farmers Market free of charge, thanks to the Board of Supervisors. If you need more information, check the Market’s Facebook page (@HancockCoFarmersMarket) or call David Kenny at (228) 860-6203.