Growing Poplarville: Locals rally behind community farmers market on Main Street

Published 7:00 am Saturday, March 18, 2017

After years of planning, prodding and pushing, Poplarville is ready to open the county’s only current farmers market this spring.

On April 6, the city-owned green space on Main Street will be filled with local vendors ready to share their crops and crafts with the community.

“The main goal, as simple as it sounds, is to bring farmers and people together,” Frank Ladner, one of the organizers of the event, said.

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Though none of the organizers—April Grecho, Lauren Steil and Norman Tyner—are farmers themselves, Ladner said they decided to put their talents together and get something going the whole community can enjoy.

“I just want to be able to go there with my family and buy stuff that came from around here,” Ladner said. “For all the folks behind it, our hearts are behind it.”

The Poplarville Board of Aldermen was first approached about the ideas from members of the community in November. After a few months of planning and working with the city and the Poplarville Area Chamber of Commerce, the market is gathering strong support from the community.

If it weren’t for the chamber, the event would have taken much longer to organize, Ladner said.

“I’m super excited to see it happen for everybody,” Grecho said. “I’m a big proponent of local food and knowing where your food comes from.”

Vendors have already signed up to bring fresh produce, milk, eggs, homemade goods and more, she said.

Most of them are from Pearl River County or surrounding areas and often go to other markets on the coast during the weekend, Ladner said.

“We have to take baby steps,” Grecho said. “I’m just happy that people are coming.”

Scheduling the market for Thursdays made the most sense for vendors, and for the community who often go out of town on the weekend, he said.

“A lot of people voiced their opinion early on that they don’t want it to become a flea market, so there will be a certain percentage of produce so it doesn’t get overtaken by items,” Ladner said.

Though the space may look small, it can easily fit 40 vendors, Ladner said.

As the seasons change, different produce will be featured, so people will have to keep in mind they won’t have the same options available at the grocery store, Grecho said.

Efforts to start a market have failed in the past for various reasons, Ladner said. But, with the support of the city and the chamber, the event is ready to kickoff.

“There was the heart there, there was the idea there and everybody was talking to each other,” Grecho said.

For the opening event, the market will have some live entertainment from Raeana Creel and CrossTies, Ladner said. Organizers hope to continue to have live music throughout the year.

The market will be open from April to October every year on the first and third Thursday of the month from 3 to 6 p.m.

For vendors booths spaces are $10, but tents and tables are not supplied, and there is a limited number of electricity connections.

The kickoff event will run from 3 to 7 p.m. at the green space, located at 410 S. Main Street. Surrounding stores will be open late as well.

The vendor application and more information is available on their Facebook page, Poplarville Farmer’s Market.

About Julia Arenstam

Staff Writer

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