We know we’re in a great local market when we’re greeted by “Good morning, y’all,” given a free hot biscuit with Sugaree’s strawberry jam, passed a cup of strong coffee, and offered a pamphlet for a local church.
This is Biscuits and Jam, the earnest breakfast-hour farmer’s market (summer through September, Saturday mornings only) in New Albany, MS (about half an hour outside Tupelo). The market is set up in a sprawling, undeveloped plot of land beside the Fred’s Super Dollar, with vendors arranged in a spacious square around a massive oak.
The shady side of the market is mostly dedicated to local (or local-ish) vendors selling arts and crafts. We found a great painting for Mom, who loves folk art:
Clyde even meets an old high school friend selling exquisite hand-made silver jewelry. Always thinking ahead, we pick up a silver bracelet for my sister-in-law:
Edible products vary from week to week, but you can count on staples like local honey:
There’s fresh produce, too, including glorious peaches, harvested just a day or two ago:
We also find grilled cheese sandwiches with mozzarella cheese, tomato slices, and fresh pesto — but we don’t get to sample them. The vendor, who looks a little frazzled, is making each one on a tiny sandwich press. “It’ll be twenty minutes,” she says, frowning down at the clamshell grill she’s brought from home.
And so we pass the time amusing ourselves with the “jam” — not the jam on our biscuits, but the jamming going on in the makeshift pavilion on the far edge of the market. One fellow plays mostly hymns, but the folk musicians who follow him stick to the sort of lively hits that get hipsters’ toes tapping:
In the end, the real stars of the show are the simple, honest tamales — hand-rolled, stuffed with chicken or pork, sold by an earnest-faced Mexican woman who charges us just a dollar: