Hernando Farmers Market keeps attracting vendors, customers

Every Saturday morning through the end of October, the Hernando Courthouse Square welcomes vendors and customers who spend the morning shopping for fresh produce and other items at the Hernando Farmers Market. 

The summer continues this weekend with an Independence Day flair as the 41st Army National Guard Band will play from 9-10 a.m. followed by local artists Michael Stephens and Devan Yanik will perform.  This is also the first weekend with Hernando’s newly elected officials and there are plans to have them ring the bell to open the market. 

Each weekend, the Hernando Farmers Market has local artists performing each weekend and will continue with Children’s Day, the last day of the month. 

The first Children’s Day, Hernando Excel By 5 gave away 100 children’s books and $5 POP Bucks (power of produce bucks) for children to eat healthy at an early age.  

Funding for this program came from the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi and The Maddox Foundation.  

The market attracts many shoppers not only from DeSoto County, but from all around Mississippi and over the state line in Tennessee and Arkansas.  

Hernando Community Development Director Gia Matheny said the market has continued to grow each year.  

“Since I started working with the market in 2013 we have had incredible improvements to the market with an increase in vendors, shoppers and sales,” Matheny said. “We have grown from under 30 vendors to more than 75 for the market season in 2020 and started a Christmas market in conjunction with the Hernando Dickens of a Christmas.”

More information about the Hernando Farmers Market: 

  • The season started on Saturday, May 1 and is open every Saturday May-October from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. on the Hernando Courthouse Square.
  • The Christmas market will be held in conjunction with Hernando Dickens of a Christmas Saturday, Nov. 13.
  • In 2020, the market had more than 70 vendors, composed of more than 50 local farmers.
  • It is the largest open-air farmers market in the state with more than 100,000 visitors each year.
  • In 2020, the market had more than $379,000 in sales that went directly to vendors’ local farms and businesses, returning three-times more of their sales to the local economy than chain retailers.
  • The market offers healthy food options for people of all ages and income levels.  SNAP/EBT purchases are doubled with tokens for additional fruit and vegetable purchases.  The incentive also benefits the local farmer with increased sales.  $5,400 in EBT and incentive sales went back to local farmers and vendors. Young mothers in the WIC program can also receive vouchers from their local health department to purchase fresh produce at the market.
  • The last Saturday of each month is Children’s Day with fun activities for the kiddos.  Some of the activities include: free book give-a-ways with Hernando Excel By 5, physical fitness activities, POP program (power of produce) for POP bucks to allow children to purchase their favorite fruit or vegetable.  This teaches them the value of a dollar and encourages healthy eating at an early age.
  • A new Music Series with live music from local artists was started every Saturday.
  • The market partners with the Society of St. Andrews, a gleaning organization, which accepts food from farmers and shoppers at the market to give back to the needy in Hernando.  They partner with a local church.  Farmers who donate have their food weighed and tracked throughout the year by the organization located at our market.  The farmer receives the documentation showing all that they have donated throughout the year to use as a donation on their end-of-year taxes.  This is a benefit to the farmer who may not be able to sell through the food at the end of the day and a benefit to the low-income individual who is in need of fresh, healthy food.
  • Applications for new farmers are being accepted, however there is a waiting list for cottage food and crafters as the market is accredited by the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce (MDAC), because of our strong focus on agricultural products.  This allows farmers and Mississippi cottage food vendors to not have to charge sales tax.  This is only available to MDAC Mississippi Certified Markets.

Some of the performers are from MissiHippi Music and others from the local Memphis music scene. They are being added as events on the HFM Facebook page.  

Some of the vendors:

Kendall Cattle Beef – pasture raised Beef Mast/Black Angus beef from a 4,000 acre cattle farm.  They have many cuts of beef including: beef roast, rump roast, chuck roast, pikes peak, loin tip, tri tip, brisket, stew/fajita meat, top sirloin, bone in ribeye, 8 oz. filets and lean 90/10 ground beef. Their beef is pasture raised and farm grain finished in 120 days. Offered grilled hamburgers for Memorial Day weekend and will do so again for the Saturday, June 3 over the Independence day holiday.

Brown Dairy Farms: local, pork, milk and beef

Bee-Cause it’s Natural and Growing Green Farm: Microgreens

Richardson Farms: purple and golden cauliflower, squash, zucchini, other produce

Jones Orchard: Strawberries, peaches, blackberries, jams, jellies

Cherry Creek Orchards: peaches

Southern Cookie Queen: hand decorated cookies, macaroons, cupcakes (gluten-free, vegan and dairy free options)

Coffee Central Squared: hot & iced coffees

Roses Bark Bakery: natural dog treats permitted by the MS Department of Ag and Commerce

6NTubbs: Locally made New York bagels

Georgia Ridge Farm & Cottonville Farms: pasture raised eggs

Hunny B Natural, Faith Farms, DeBombs by Morgan Tibbens: Body soaps, scrubs, bath bombs

Mawmaws Kitchen Cakes and Bakes: Cinnamon rolls, brownies, and sweet treats

Pat’s Homemade Pound Cakes: Famous buttery pound cakes and yeast breads.  Ms. Pat Hurt wins and places in the Southern Soul Food contest each year at the Hernando Library.

The Hernando Farmers Market brings together the best of local food, artistry and the agricultural traditions of the Mid-South community.  It’s a place to shop.  It’s a place to gather.  But more importantly, it’s a rare chance to experience the rich simplicity of a Mississippi small town.  It is truly, “ A Fresh, Local Experience.”

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