Weekday drive-thru farmers market was heavily attended

Published 7:00 am Thursday, April 9, 2020

In the changing climate of the current pandemic, access to fresh fruits, vegetables and other homemade or homegrown products is in higher demand, leading a local farmer to organize a drive-thru farmers market.
Wednesday morning a line of vehicles ever longer during the first of many drive-thru farmers markets held in Picayune in the greenspace behind the Greater Picayune Area Chamber of Commerce.
Christina Juneau with Black Creek Farms and organizer of the farmers market, said she got the idea to change the farmers market to a drive-thru service after seeing a need in the community. The Wednesday open air drive-thru farmers market will be held weekly from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Prior to the current national pandemic, the market was held on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Juneau said she had to move it to Wednesdays because the only farmer offering produce was only available that day of the week.
By holding the farmers market in a social distancing friendly way, such as a drive-thru, community members gain access to fresh foods they need without having to go into a crowded grocery store, she said.
Wednesday’s open air drive-thru farmers market brought in seven vendors offering a variety of food items including fresh produce, homemade tamales, popsicles made with fresh fruit and other fresh ingredients, blueberry bushes and locally sourced meat products.
Ronnie Coleman with Blue Tara Blueberry Farm said he makes those popsicles with seasonal locally grown fruit and fresh ingredients such as milk and sugar.
Interest in Wednesday’s market was heavy. While the market wasn’t supposed to open until 10 a.m., Juneau said cars began lining up at 9:30 a.m. By 10 a.m. the line was continuously backed up to Goodyear Boulevard.
“I knew it was going to be supported because the community needed it,” Juneau said.
Juneau said she plans to continue holding the drive-thru farmers market as long as the current pandemic situation continues.
Juneau wants to remind community members who want to participate in the next event that they need to stay in their vehicles when driving through the market. Even if they are curious about the products being offered, Juneau said that practicing social distancing was one of the ways she was able to get the city’s blessing to hold the event.
All vendors abide by Centers for Disease Control policies on cleanliness.
Upcoming events will feature more vendors offering additional items. Juneau expects eggs and bread related items to be offered next week.

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