Saturday, May 9, 2009

We Meet Friends at the Farmers Market

While farmers markets have been around as long as there has been agriculture and civilization, we are seeing a great resurgence in these markets throughout the country today. The markets are seen as much as a civic meeting place as a place to buy fresh farm produce. The markets are designed to bring people together, to provide fresh and healthful food, to provide a market for local farmers and artisans, to encourage community awareness, and to make educational opportunities. The Memphis Farmers Market is doing all of those things every Saturday in downtown Memphis. Hundreds of people visit the market in a revitalized neighborhood encompassing Main Street, Front Street, and residences near the Mississippi River. They find fresh vegetables, friends, a hot cup of coffee, and live music.

We meet many of our friends regularly at the farmers market. Here, on the left, is Carolyn Dodson-King of Dodson Farms of Forrest City, Arkansas. Carolyn is an artisan; her parents are produce farmers. Today they brought in Arkansas sweet potatoes. In the center is Melissa Peterson, the editor of Edible Memphis magazine. She is carrying a bag of fresh green vegetables that she gathered at the market. Melissa is an enthusiastic friend who has done much to bring together farmers, artisans, chefs, restaurants, and citizens who appreciate good food. You can find her carefully designed quarterly magazine about harvest in the Mid-South at On the right is Rita Underhill, co-owner of Peace Bee Farm. A light rain held no chance of dampening spirits this day.

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