February 22, 2014 11:39:40 PM
Starkville Community Market will offer a supplemental mid-week market this season that is expected to be open Tuesday afternoons during the market's normal spring and summer months, Greater Starkville Development Partnership officials confirmed this week.
Last year's SCM season was the first maintained under the Partnership's control. Starkville Main Street Association, a sub-group of the GSDP, took over leadership, oversight and promotions for the market in late 2012.
Officials extended last year's market, which normally runs to the last Saturday in July, through August because of increased supplies from artisans, bakers and farmers, and an increase in SCM's customer base. Those same increases enticed SCM to launch a mid-week option, GSDP Special Events and Projects Coordinator Jennifer Prather said.
Prather also serves as the Partnership's market manager and coordinates the event with a special market board of directors. The market board unanimously voted to begin the weekday option.
The mid-week market will run concurrent with the SCM season, she said, and is expected to take place 4-6 p.m. on Tuesdays. The market season begins on the first Saturday in May.
The Tuesday market will be condensed compared to its Saturday counterpart. For example, the Saturday market features vendors selling produce and baked goods, and live music and demonstrations. Prather said she envisions the Tuesday market as a simple quick stop for produce and baked goods only.
"We've always wanted to add a mid-week option. It's been a talking point for a while because there is a huge group of people that want a sustained farmers market," she said. "The market isn't just about serving our customers. It's also about providing farmers an outlet for their goods. A mid-week market will allow them to unload the things they have during the week, and for our customers to purchase the goods that will sustain them to the weekend."
Documents show 32 different applicants, ranging from farmers to craft vendors, participated in last year's market.
If supplies continue increasing this year, Prather said the market board may consider formalizing last year's extension through October, allowing the Partnership's annual Pumpkinpalooza event to serve as a bookend to the market run.
The Partnership is in the process of adding at least three vendors to this year's list.
"There wasn't too much lag last year between the end of the SCM season and Pumpkinpalooza. It served as a natural transition," Prather said. "Nobody likes to declare an end to these things, especially if produce is still coming in. As long as we have a good supply, we'll keep the market open."
The market, located at the intersection of Lampkin and Jackson streets, opens 7:30 a.m. on Saturdays during the spring and summer. The Partnership is expected to update the SCM website -- visit.starkville.org/market -- with information on this year's season. Links to vendor applications and requirements can also be found at that address.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch
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