The Jackson Farmers Market on High Street at the Fairgrounds was packed Saturday, as shoppers converged to seek out farm fresh produce as the harvest rolls in. Here are a few photos.
As you enter the market, it can appear almost overwhelming, as so many people are packed into the space. There’s just so much stuff, it’s hard to focus on any one thing. But, as you slowly travel the aisles, people and their wares start to sort themselves out.
For example, if you turn to the right, there’s Dustin and Ali Fratesi of Indianola and Starkville. Their pastured poultry eggs are a big seller, with lines of eager buyers sometimes forming 20 feet long. On the table, you can see naturally grown heirloom Cherokee Purple tomatoes — I bought several and they were delish!
Their Beaverdam farm is a big hit at the Market. Dustin interned with celebrity farmer/speaker/author Joe Salatin and is now also managing a herd with the “mob grazing” techniques he learned in Clay County.
Now, if you really want a smiling, bubbly personality, just keep going straight and about 15 yards from the Beaverdam table and in the center of the building is the table of Peyton Johnson Collins. She calls herself “The High Heeled Hippy” and even has a Facebook page of that name! She’s a delight to talk to, and grows great produce, too!
Peyton grows heirloom edibles and it’s anybody’s guess what she might bring from week to week. For example, on this day, she had a basket (lower right in photo) of “mystery peppers.” She said they would be good fried and if too hot, you can cut out the seeds.
As I approached her table, someone else bought the last of her squash blossoms. Last week, we bought some and fried them. Delectable! Edible flowers can be quite tasty!
Just down and to the right of The High Heeled Hippie’s table is the booth of Jonathan Picarsic and Sevanna McDaniel who run Amorphous Gardens in Madison County. Again, grown all naturally, without chemicals, their bounty is a big hit at the market.
Jonathan says that the wonder berries and ground cherries are big sellers at the market. A lot of the old folks, he says, are thrilled to see ground cherries which are a type of gooseberry, great eaten raw or in salads or pies. The wonder berries are sweet; the ground cherries are sweet-tart, like pineapple. Both are delish!
I was astounded at the variety and quality of their naturally grown produce. You can tell, they put a lot of love in their growing, and the harvest is a blessing for those with whom they share.
Just when you think you can’t process any more good food, you keep going and there’s a whole other room full of booths!
For example, off to the right is a booth by our neighbors! Here’s Brittany and daughter Anna Paisleigh selling homegrown tomatoes and corn. You may recognize them from a previous post, where I happened upon their strawberry field.
There were about 10 other vendors in this section of the market, including one selling raw milk cheese! Maybe I’ll take more photos at a future visit. This is just a sampling of some of people/produce at the market.
But Anna Paisleigh was the best salesperson. I bought some corn from Brittany and heard a little voice. I looked down and Paisleigh had a big tomato in each hand, holding them up to me. “Would you like a tomato?” she said. Who could say no?
I bought both tomatoes!
And they were delish, too!
I guess that’s what’s really important about the Farmers Market — the people. The fresh, homegrown produce is wonderful. Believe me, there’s nothing so good to eat as food fresh picked. But actually visiting with the growers, talking with them, finding out what they like and why, and why they grow this and not that, and how they do it, is part of the deliciousness, too.
I’d say that my Saturday morning was quite a fruitful excursion!
The Farmers Market on High Street is open Saturdays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. til 2 p.m.
Jim PathFinder Ewing is a journalist, author, writer, editor, organic farmer and blogger. His latest book titled Conscious Food: Sustainable Growing, Spiritual Eating (Findhorn Press) is in bookstores now. Find Jim on Facebook, follow him @edibleprayers or visit blueskywaters.com.