It’s farmers market season in Mississippi, and Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson is encouraging you to safely support your local communities as the coronavirus outbreak continues.
“The good news during the COVID-19 emergency is that our food supply is plentiful, and our food supply chain remains operational. You can thank a farmer for that. So, while it is taking longer than normal for some grocery stores to get their shelves re-stocked, there are plenty of farmers willing to sell direct to consumers. Mississippians who don’t already routinely buy direct farm-to-table meat and produce might want to give locally-grown and raised products a try,” said Commissioner Gipson.
He continued, “Several farmers markets across the state are open with growers ready to sell. Some farmers that sell to restaurants are finding themselves with an extra supply and are finding ways to sell direct to consumers as restaurants are being significantly impacted at this time. The food is healthy, delicious, local and affordable and these markets are taking steps to comply with CDC recommendations. If you need to leave the house and shop for food, add farmer’s markets or other participating farms to your list of potential suppliers,” said Commissioner Gipson.
Farmers markets are essential in providing local communities with healthy, nutritious food, while providing farmers a market for their goods. The Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce (MDAC) has developed a list of farmers markets that are currently open to assist consumers in sourcing local produce, meats, dairy, honey and other agriculture products.
Many of the markets are implementing ways for shoppers to pre-order and have curbside pick-up.
Farmers markets that are currently open or opening soon include:
Downtown Natchez Market Pop-Up Market is open Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Forrest County Farmers Market in Hattiesburg is open Wednesdays & Saturdays from 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Ocean Springs Fresh Market is open Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Oxford Community Market is open Tuesdays from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Mississippi Farmers Market in Jackson is open Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Tate County Fresh Market in Senatobia will be open Monday – Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. beginning April 1.
The Farmers Market at Long Beach is open Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
The list of markets with location and contact information can be found at mdac.ms.gov/COVID19 and will be updated as necessary. Additional markets will be re-opening as the season progresses and produce availability increases.
Genuine MS, administered by MDAC, promotes products that are grown, raised, crafted and made in Mississippi. Commissioner Gipson encourages the public to utilize GenuineMS.com as an online source to locate farmers that sell direct to the public. Many farms such as Two Dog Farms and Salad Days in Flora have special offers such as farm boxes of produce or pre-orders with drive-thru pick-up on their farms.
“Buying local is a great way to support our farmers, to support our local economies and to feed your families. I encourage the public to shop at their local farmers market and visit GenuineMS.com to make a connection with our local farmers and ranchers that work so hard to keep food on our tables,” said Commissioner Gipson.
Agriculture, farms and farmers markets are considered an “essential business or operation” under Mississippi Executive Order 1463 signed on March 24, 2020, by Governor Tate Reeves.