Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Veggie Tale

One of the most heavily-traveled roads leading to the Mississippi Gulf Coast from Jackson, is US Hwy. 49 South. Yesterday, my husband had to go to Mendenhall, Mississippi, which is about 35 miles south of Jackson on 49, and I hitched a ride with him to a couple of my favorite flea markets, which you pass on the way to Mendenhall.

We had a few minutes to kill before the flea markets opened, so we stopped at a large produce stand called Donna's #6 Produce.

Open year-round, Donna's sells the freshest bounty of each season, harvested by local and regional growers.

I had my camera with me (to take pictures at the flea markets), but when I walked into Donna's and saw bin after bin filled with glorious fruit and vegetables (in January, no less!), I knew there were pictures there just waiting to be captured.

Donna wasn't there yesterday, but we visited with her sister Graná, who told us a little about the history of the business. It seems that Donna's and Graná's parents, C.T. and Carolyn Morgan, had been in the produce business most of their lives before moving their shop from Raleigh, Mississippi, to its new home in Florence, Mississippi, in 1976. They named the new store Donna's #6 Produce after their daughter, six-year-old Donna, the youngest of six children.

The new location was perfect for showcasing the Morgans' incomparable selection of regionally-grown fruits, vegetables, nuts, jams, and jellies, and the store quickly became one of the most chronicled businesses in central Mississippi.

After over thirty years in business, Donna's #6 Produce is more of a home than a store. Each of the six children have contributed to its thriving history.

Graná gave me permission to take as many pictures as I wanted, and here are just a few of the many things that caught my eye:

There were also strawberries ...

Rutabagas and turnips ...

Beautiful peppers ...

And oranges the size of grapefruits ...

I loved the way everything was displayed so neatly ...

Along with the vegetables and fruit, they also have a large selection of syrup and molasses, and all kinds of pickles ...

Nuts, anyone? I think they had just about any kind of nut a person could want ...

Including peanuts for the serious peanut lover!

I liked this basket of green gourds, and thought they would make a pretty winter centerpiece.

If you click on the next picture, you can read this humorous sign which gives you an idea of the ongoing struggles and frustrations of being a farmer.

I will try to remember that the next time I whine about the prices of produce.

I love these colorful vegetable baskets, and can just imagine them pictured in the pages of Country Living magazine holding plants or flowers.

I believe these greens are "collard greens" ...

I have never seen "baby Vidalia onions," and I'm sorry we didn't get some of these little beauties ...

The rocking chairs out front were beckoning us to come "sit a spell," but the flea markets were also beckoning me, so guess who won!

And speaking of winning — see that LSU banner next to the rocker? The Tigers defeated the Texas A&M Aggies in the Cotton Bowl last night, much to our delight.

Way to Geaux Tigers!

If you are ever in the Jackson area, I urge you to take the time to visit Donna's #6, especially if it's summertime. I understand their homemade ice cream is outstanding, and the produce is truly outstanding during the summer months. And did I mention that they are really nice folks?

5 comments:

Carolyn said...

What a treasure! To find such beautiful produce this time of year is a treat. Your pictures are so pretty, the colorful baskets really show off, but the produce takes the prize. I guess it's my farming roots.....
Carolyn
ps. Way to go Tigers!

racheld said...

Oh, My!! Coming in from standing barefoot in the back door calling for the dog to come in out of the snow, and what was my first glimpse when I returned??

All that beauteous bounty, arrayed like jewels on every surface. The very first thing which caught my eye, way up at the top, and which I was gonna mention, anyway, was the cluster of BIG baby onions.

A long, springy bunch of green like that over a little swelling bulb of an onion---that's what you want to pull up when you've put the big "kittle" on to boil and sent one of the kids out to grab a dozen fresh roasin' ears from the corn patch. You've already got the big pot of peas and okra simmered and ready, the cornbread just came crusty and steaming from the oven, and the big pitcher of Sweet Tea's ready to pour.

Those are SUMMER onions, the juicy babies which have soaked up just enough of the moisture from that rich Delta soil and are just right to hand to somebody to clean real quick while you get the noon dinner on the table. Makes you want to go get the cut-glass Sunday dish out of the china cabinet on a Tuesday.

Oh. My. Those broad, sweetly juicy little beauties are so indicative of a good Summer dinner---I cannot tell you. If you'd made only one picture, that would have been the one.

Deb said...

Now that is a produce place like no other....your photos are great....well if Texas couldn't win...glad your team did...

Marjorie (Molly) Smith said...

I love going to Donna's, my son lives in Richland just up the road from here and when DH and I visit alot of times we will go down to McGee and cut across home the back way. And of course we always stop at Donna's. I bought alot of my Halloween decor there last year.
Molly

nanny said...

Gosh,,,,I thought those pictures must have been taken last summer!!! What beautiful produce. makes me want to jump in the car and go to Donna's!