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By COLLEEN MCCARTHY
The Starkville Community Market kicked off their season bright and early Saturday morning.
Vendors lined the market, selling fresh vegetables, homemade baked goods and crafts.
The market, which is in its fourth season, has grown into its new home at the corner of East Lampkin and Jackson streets. Many of the vendors have been participating for several years, and keep coming back thanks to the enthusiastic reception theyâ€™ve received from the Starkville community. It is not unusual for vendors to sell out within the first hour.
Saturdayâ€™s market featured a variety of items for sale. Lisa Dakhlalla, former owner of Shahrazadâ€™s, offered Middle Eastern baked goods, like pita bread and baklava. Several local farms set up tents to sell onions, a variety of greens, potatoes, tomatoes, and delicious honey. Other vendors sold wooden crafts and glass jewelry. Charlotte Harding, who has sold at the market for several years, offered homemade coffeecakes and breads.
Ellen Wallace, a local dietitian who owns and operates Cooking with Ellen, gave two cooking demonstrations for the crowd using fresh, locally grown produce. Her demonstrations focused on healthy, but delicious recipes.
This season, there are some changes and additions to the market. The market will also be opening at 7:30 a.m., half an hour earlier than past seasons. The change will give vendors and customers a little more time to shop before the heat sets in during the summer months.
The market will accept Electronic Benefit Transfer cards.
â€śThis means that patrons that are enrolled in SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) can use their EBT card to purchase fresh produce, honey, herbs, and even seeds to grow their own gardens,â€ť Alyson Karges, manager of the market, said. â€śThat is one of our biggest and best additions.â€ť
The Starkville Community Market has some exciting events planned for the coming months. The weekend before the Fourth of July, they will host a Blues and Barbeque event. On the Fourth, they will partner with the Parks and Recreation Department to host a flea market and fireworks.
They will also feature a childrenâ€™s activity tent every week. Next Saturday, the childrenâ€™s tent will focus on dental health and toothbrush exchange.
But there will be plenty in store for adults, too.
â€śEach week we plan to have either a demonstration on cooking, gardening, or sustainable and environmentally friendly living, or musical performance by a local band or performer,â€ť Karges said. â€śWe typically have 20 vendors selling produce, fresh baked goods, arts and crafts. On the average day around 300 patrons come through our Market.â€ť
The market operates rain or shine every Saturday throughout the spring and summer from 7:30 to 10 a.m..
For more information about how to become a vendor or volunteer at the market, visit www.starkvillecommunitymarket.org.