April 25, 2020 10:14:41 PM
In spite of the novel coronavirus, Mother Nature's timetable is yielding harvests of produce and fruits popular at spring farmers' markets. Golden Triangle markets are opening with modified formats that balance community health measures with supporting growers and providing the public with fresh foods.
"It is important that we support our local agriculture and the benefits of eating healthy while still maintaining safe practices and social distancing until further recommendations are given," said Barbara Bigelow, executive director of Main Street Columbus, which oversees the Hitching Lot Farmers' Market at Second Street and Second Avenue North.
In Columbus, the Hitching Lot Farmers' Market will open Saturday, May 9 from 7 a.m.-10 a.m. For the present, only produce, baked goods and value-added canned items will be available. Safety precautions include:
Beginning May 9, the market will be open Saturdays and Thursdays 7 a.m.-10 a.m., and Mondays 4-6 p.m.
"We understand this is not the most convenient form of Farmers' Market shopping, and we hope the market will not need to operate in this manner for long," said Bigelow. "We'll return to normal operation as soon as possible. We will strive to support the community and our producers the best way we can until we can return to regular operation."
Market Coordinator Katherine Lucas added, "We have some exciting activities lined up for this summer, and we are just as ready as our vendors and customers to have our market operate as normal."
Current plans are for the market's monthly Sizzling Second Saturdays, with added activities, to begin in June.
For more information, follow the Hitching Lot Farmers' Market on Facebook, or contact Main Street Columbus at [email protected], or 662-328-6305.
Starkville Community Market
Starkville Main Street Association and the Starkville Community Market Advisory Board opened that city's farmers' market Saturday with social distancing modifications in place. The market at Fire Station Park, at Lampkin and Russell Streets, will be open Saturdays 8 a.m.-11 a.m.
"We're calling it a modified market, offering produce and cottage food vendors (items) only," said Market Manager Paige Watson, special events and projects coordinator with The Greater Starkville Partnership. "Hopefully, if all goes well, the modifications can become more lenient as we progress throughout the summer."
Current guidelines include:
Watson encouraged shoppers to follow the market on Facebook, Instagram and the website to see each week's vendors.
For additional information, contact Watson at [email protected], or 662-323-3322.
The West Point Farmers' Market traditionally opens in June. According to Lisa Klutts of the West Point/Clay County Community Growth Alliance, any modifications will be determined nearer to opening, based on health parameters at that time.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.