The downtown Hattiesburg Farmers’ Market was bustling Thursday afternoon as the sounds of an acoustic guitar filled the air and people strolled among the vendors.
For the first time this season, the Farmers Market returned to Town Square Park on Thursday, greeted by warm sunny weather. About two dozen vendors selling everything from fresh produce to homemade crafts were scattered around the park.
Here are some of the things not to miss.
Sauce Already Dunn
Jackson’s Ida Billingslea was giving away free samples of a sauce of her own creation – Deja Dunn, a tangy and savory red sauce from bottles with a shiny purple label.
“The only thing it’s not good on — and some disagree like me — is ice cream,” Billingslea said with a laugh.
Billingslea said the sauce, which can be used as barbecue sauce, hot sauce, steak sauce or marinade, has been a staple at her house for 30 years, but she has been selling it since 2015.
“I’m a seamstress by nature, and when people came to pick up an item of clothing, I would let them use some of the sauce, and then they wanted to know where they could buy it, so that’s how it went. my table at the market,” Billingslea said.
The sauce is $20 for a 34 oz. bottle.
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Handcrafted wooden toys
David “Doc” Trim of Petal is a retired teacher who makes wooden toys including cars, trucks, trains, boats, airplanes and rubber band guns.
Toys for younger and older kids start at $5 and he’s been selling them at the Farmers Market for 14 years.
“All of my toys are meant to be played with,” Trim said.
Although he’s been a carpenter all his life, Trim, 71, said the inspiration to make toys came when his grandson was in Cub Scouts and helped build cars in wood for the Pinewood Derby.
“Being limited as I am, it’s hard to go out, and it’s a real pleasure for me to go out and visit people,” Trim said. “Because I’m either inside or in my store or on the streets of Petal.”
Flowers and herbs
David Fields of Slidell, Louisiana, also known as “Dave the Plant Man,” has been a frequent Farmers Market 11-year-old. He said the best part of the market is the camaraderie with other sellers.
Her stand offered annuals and perennials dotted with brilliant purple and white blooms, but it was the smell of fragrant potted herbs such as chives that hung in the air.
Fields, 59, grows all of his plants himself. His inventory rotates throughout the season, and he says he mostly focuses on different varieties of flowers. Prices vary by plant.
Locally sourced eggs
Arsene Benoit of Ellisville said raising chickens and selling eggs is a hobby. The eggs he sells come from his 29 Barred Rock and Rhode Island Whites hens.
Thursday was his first day at the Farmers Market.
“I have a big family, on both sides, and I gave them away,” said Benoit, 69. “Everyone eats it. So this is the first time I’ve tried marketing.”
A dozen eggs sell for $3 and he says they last two weeks on the counter or three months in the fridge. Benoit plans to expand his stand to include homemade jellies and fruit from his orchard in the future.
Effie Bryant of Baxterville was one of many vendors selling fresh produce at the Farmers Market. His 40-acre farm produces okra, green beans, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, strawberries, and cucumbers, among other produce. On opening day, she had strawberries and tomatoes.
She said squash and zucchini had just been planted and green beans are growing and will be available by April. She has been selling her products at Farmers Market and Hattiesburg Corner Market for about six years.
A few stalls down, Lee Campbell, 17, of Richland, was helping run the Fulmer farm. People thronged the stall which offered produce, homemade bread, sweets and spices.
“There’s a lot of work going into it, and it’s worth buying,” Campbell said.
Products come from a horse-powered family farm in Perry County, where field work is done using Percheron draft horses.
Curtis Keys, 56, of Franklin County, makes the 100-mile trip to Hattiesburg to sell smoked pork sausages in flavors of regular cheese, hot and jalapeño. The sausages are made from scratch using a recipe he developed.
Keys’ sells sausage dogs and also offered sausage patties or links that can be cooked at home. Links are $11 and patties are $6.
A salesman for two years, Keys said the best part of the Farmers’ Market is the people.
“All these people selling, I’ve known them since I came here,” Keys said. “It’s nice to meet people, see people and socialize.”
Keys said the first day of the season had been wonderful and it didn’t hurt business as people lined up to buy sizzling sausages.
If you are going to
The Farmers Market is open every Thursday from 3-6 p.m. at Town Square Park, 100 Main St., Hattiesburg.
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