From French bread and donuts to fresh strawberries and mushrooms, this Mississippi farmers’ market has you covered

Published 11:48 am Friday, March 31, 2023

From hot beignets, jelly-filled donuts and freshly baked French baguettes to juicy strawberries, red-ripe tomatoes and wide variety of mushrooms , this Mississippi Farmer’s Market has every morsel a Saturday morning shopper could dream of.

And that doesn’t even count the spring blooms, handcrafted bowls and homegrown crafts.

The Natchez Farmer’s Market has it all.

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Eddie Kennedy of Kennedy & Son’s Produce in Oak Grove, Louisiana, packs up a truck full of produce before 5 a.m. every Saturday and drives two and one-half hours to Natchez to be at the farmer’s market before it opens at 8:30 a.m. He stays until the Farmer’s Market Director Eddie Burkes rings the bell at noon—which alerts the vendors that it is time to pack up and alerts the customers of the market’s closing.

Kennedy has been coming to the Natchez Farmer’s Market for 18 years, since before the Farmer’s Market was moved from the 100 block of Commerce Street to the Natchez bluff every Saturday, he said.

Now, he’s one of more than two dozen regular vendors.

Seasonal vegetables and fruits come and go, but the Farmer’s Market is open every Saturday year-round.

In addition to fresh produce, the Farmer’s Market offers preserves, jams, dairy products, and baked or handmade goods.

The number one rule for the vendors is that the products can’t be bought from somewhere else and resold.

Everything is either grown or made by the sellers so that it is handed straight from producer to consumer without a “middle man” taking some of the profit, Burkes said.

It’s not the best-paying job in the world, but it’s how Kennedy makes his living, he said.

The Downtown Natchez Farmer’s Market maintains a regular 25 to 30 vendors.

“It really bloomed out during COVID because there was about a six-month period where people didn’t know where they would get their food so they came here,” he said.

Burkes added he is the director but there are many others involved in making the Natchez Farmer’s Market happen each week.

It is put on by the City of Natchez Community Development department headed by James Johnston, Burkes said.

The Farmer’s Market will stay on the bluff for the foreseeable future because many of the businesses have found regular customers there, he said. In addition to farmers who travel for hours to sell their products, the farmer’s market has also become an incubator for local businesses.

“We have a lot more regular vendors,” Burkes said. “We almost fill up the space every week.”