Farmer's market to begin end of May
by Courtney Warren
May 20, 2014 | 2487 views | 0 0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Planning for the Cleveland Farmer's Market opening weekend is underway and new things are in store for the community to enjoy.

Michelle Johansen, market manager said, "We're trying to expand on what we've done in the past so we want to have more kids activities during summertime, cooking demonstrations from local restaurants and local chefs, which we haven't had in a couple of years."

Johansen also said throughout the season, the market will feature local musicians, cooking demonstrations, and other special events.

"There will be musicians coming out, informational tables about various nonprofit organizations, and we've had initial meeting with Delta State University School of Nursing and they got a grant with a Delta healthy families programs. We are in the stages of planning a couple of workshops for maybe once a month and give more information about healthy families, healthy kids, and the importance of fruits and vegetables," she said.

Johansen met with previous and new vendors on Monday to discuss new regulations and set up procedures.

"It's small an medium sized local farmers, home gardeners, community organizations, kids who are growing, people who have foraged out in the woods; we had someone forage for wild blackberries in the woods and then sell them in the market. It's all ages and all people. We just ask that you grow what you sell or make what you sell. We like it to be homegrown, farm grown, from around here and the Mississippi Delta made by you. Sometimes we do get produce in season further south from us but people have to label it not home grown," she said.

Johansen said vendors can come out for one Saturday or all fifteen Saturdays.

"We have to charge vendor fees. There will be fifteen Saturdays. It will be $5 per Saturday and if you sign up ahead of time it's $60 for the entire season. You can come per week and pay per week but we need to know by Thursday so we can have everything set up. If you come on whim on Saturday it will be $10," she said.

Johansen said they ask that vendors are honest about where their produce was grown and once local produce comes in they will not allow the selling of any produce or vegetables from outside of the Delta.

"We've expanded the market a bit but we do want everything made by hand or grown yourself; coming from the earth basically," she said.

Johansen said they have two goals with the market; get small scale vendors a way to sell directly to the public, and have a weekly social event that would bring all different parts of the community together.

"We've really tried to do that. The farmer's market works because it's a partnership between the vendors and the customers but also Delta State University, the chamber, and local businesses. I mean this wouldn't be possible without Justin, Weejy, and Mosquito Burrito and Marisol. It's so much fun and fun to have it. It's nice to be in an agriculture area and have access to nice fruit and vegetables from this area," she said.

Throughout the season, the market will feature local musicians, cooking demonstrations, and other special events.

The Cleveland Farmers Market opens its ninth season on May 31 at 9 a.m. at The Alley (by Mosquito Burrito).

The market operates every Saturday through the summer from 9 a.m. to noon depending on availability.

However, Johansen recommends coming at 9 a.m. for the best selection.

Farmers and vendors will be selling locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables as well as eggs, honey, baked goods, jams and jellies, pickled vegetables, fresh-cut flowers, and other unique Mississippi Delta items.

For more information about the Farmer's Market visit the Facebook page Friends of the Cleveland Farmers Market.