Long Beach may get farmers market

Launch could be in mid-April

The city that began as a truck farming community and was once known as the Radish Capital may soon have its own fresh produce farmers market.

Dita McCarthy, who runs the Pass Christian farmers market, and Diane Claughton, who runs the Fresh Market in Ocean Springs and the Bay St. Louis farmers market, have teamed up to try to bring a farmers market to Long Beach.

“The main driving force behind it is that we have customers and people in Long Beach who are interested in having a farmers market there. And we’ve had some city officials contact us, so we decided to do it,” McCarthy said.

Long Beach Mayor Billy Skellie loves the idea, but knows of no proposal before the board of aldermen for a market.

He said that while he hasn’t spoken to anyone about a farmers market, the idea may have come from an alderman.

“There’s been talk before and I think it’s a good idea, but there been no proposal brought by any groups,” he said. “We’ve just got to be cautious about this and make sure everything is in order.”

While there are still details to work out, McCarthy said she and Claughton are working toward a mid-April launch of the Long Beach farmers market.

There are eight vendors secured thus far, McCarthy said.

“It’s really going to depend on when the produce is ready because it’s been such a cold winter,” McCarthy said.

“We’re looking for local vendors who grow produce or have local or regional produce to sell.

“Our mission is to grow the local food economy and help local farmers and the farmers market.”

To start, the farmers market will be staged on the Bankhouse Coffee driveway between the coffeehouse and Lil’ Ray’s on Jeff Davis Avenue.

Bankhouse owner Shawn Montella offered the spot, he said, because it provides some shade for the vendors.

It is also is close to the downtown businesses that are open in Long Beach, which is a feature McCarthy wanted.

<!– Poll: Would you like to see a farmers market in Long Beach –>Story: Need more information?

By KATE MAGANDY – kmagandy@sunherald.com

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