BY GENE COLEMAN – Sun Herald
With spring-like weather returning to the Coast, many thoughts turn to gardening and fresh produce, both of which are staples of the many farmers markets that are beginning to reopen throughout the area.
Conversation, locally raised produce and food products (such as honey, cheeses and jellies), less packaging and a feeling of community are also reasons people love to shop at the markets, said Dita McCarthy, co-founder of Real Food Gulf Coast, a group whose mission is to grow and support a sustainable food economy along the Coast.
“Farmers markets are important because they support healthy lifestyles and make fresh, nutritious food available to more people; they support small family farms; and they stimulate local economies,” McCarthy said.
Some upcoming special events at farmers markets are the opening of the new Long Beach Farmers Market in mid-April, the Red, White and Blueberry Festival at the Ocean Springs Fresh Market on June 5 and a Local Foods Festival this fall in Bay Saint Louis.
As the markets don’t keep standard business hours and are sometimes set up along paths less traveled, knowing when and where to find them can help residents meet their springtime needs.