TUPELO • Traffic is down a little bit at the Tupelo Farmers’ Depot, but customers are still taking advantage of local vendors’ offerings.
The market typically opens the Saturday before Mother’s Day in May, but had a later start this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its restrictions.
“Our customer crowd is down slightly, because there aren’t families coming out,” said Craig Helmuth, program manager for the Tupelo Downtown Main Street Association, which operates the market. “We can have a maximum of 75 people under the shed at one time, and I haven’t had to stand at the front and make anybody wait to come in yet.”
Helmuth said most customers are complying with market rules, such as social distancing and wearing masks, which are encouraged, but not required.
“We’re just kind of rolling along,” he said. “We’re not doing events at the market now – there’s no music, no children’s programs. We’re encouraging people to shop and leave.”
The market can hold 26 vendors and the past few weeks, about 12 to 14 have showed up.
“The tomatoes are starting to come in and we also have blueberries, green beans, squash, zucchini, onions, new potatoes, peaches and a little bit of corn,” he said. “We are a tomato-driven market and now that they’re readily available, I think we’ll see more attendees.”
There are also two to three flower vendors each week along with a vendor selling fresh breads and sweets.
Right now, the market, located on Spring Street near the railroad tracks, is only open on Saturdays from 6 a.m. to about noon.
“Last year we were open Tuesday afternoons and if the vendors seem like they want to do that again, we’ll re-address it,” he said.