With the holidays just around the corner, family and food are certain to be on the mind. As a family business, Four Seasons Produce understands this.
For 20 years now, Four Seasons produce has been serving the Moss Point community and Coast with fresh fruits and vegetables sourced from Mississippi and Alabama.
"My father was a farmer in Grand Bay and one day he decided to start selling produce on the other end," said Vikki Stagner, owner of Four Seasons Produce. "Ever since then we've been growing."
When Four Seasons started it was only a market, but over the years the business has grown into a produce wholesaler and distributor, selling to restaurants, casinos and other markets across the Coast.
The selection is vast, and includes common ingredients such as peppers, apples, squash and onions. But it also carries more exotic ingredients such as malanga lila from Central America, taro from East Asia and jicama, originally from Mexico, which according to Stagner, works great in a coleslaw or salsa.
"It's important for us to keep up with a lot of farmers because weather is such a huge factor," said Stagner. "We use local produce when we can, but when somewhere like California is struggling, we might have to go to South Carolina."
The spacious shop also carries a selection of frozen and refrigerated goods like dressing, potato casserole and pecan cobbler for last-minute Thanksgiving additions. Four Seasons also carries Amish-made Troyer cheese and an array of canned jams, preserves and butters, ranging from jalapeno or strawberry to pumpkin and apple.
An advantage of the community focus of Four Seasons is providing local ingredients and keeping money in local markets.
Locally owned Stuart's Pickles sells picked cucumbers, okra, green beans and more across the Coast and the company buys their produce at Four Seasons, who in turn sells Stuart's Pickles products.
Perhaps they biggest way Four Seasons engages the Coast community is by selling produce to Head Start programs in Jackson and Harrison counties, including Pass Christian and Moss Point high schools. The store can give away 30,000 to 40,000 units of produce in a three-day period.
Looking forward to the holidays, Four Seasons also takes pre-orders of specially prepared fruits and vegetables.
Certain cuts of greens
"In the three days before Thanksgiving, we can go through 300 dozen special orders of collards," said Stanger. "Some people want them without stems, some people want them cut extra small. Its easily the thing we sell most before Thanksgiving."
According to Stagner, this coming holiday season also will see the market move many holiday fruit baskets.
"People love to customize and pick the fruits, jams or butters in the basket."