The Gray Line Tour: Farmers’ market idea sound one

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 28, 2003


The concept of a farmers’ market is being ballyhooed in St. Charles Parish, with plans to provide local farmers and gardeners a ready outlet for what they produce in a safe, secure and quite visible location in order to maximize their receipts.

What’s more, the market is open to all such farmers and gardeners, throughout the River Parishes, and is aimed to promote the region to tourists.

Once, during colonial times, a crippling famine threatened the city of New Orleans. It was the farmers of the River Parishes who provided food. Thousands of descendants of those same farmers are still here. Some of the farmers still operating here are among those descendants.

In short, the River Parishes has a rich tradition of quality farming to feed ourselves as well as market to others.

However, selling pumpkins, squash, tomatoes and cucumbers from the back of pickup trucks can be tough. There’s inclement weather, such as rain, cold or heat, and the chances one takes with traffic.

Providing a facility such as this will boost sales, while again showing the world we have some of the best fruit and vegetable produce around.

LaPlace, indeed, is the cradle of the frozen-vegetable industry with acres and acres of rich farmland once devoted to raising these vegetables by Armand Montz.

The German Coast Farmers’ Market is being established as a non-profit organization, an umbrella and a venue for the produce of the region.

Other plans, designed as tourism attractions, will likely include art shows and craft fairs, highlighting talents throughout the region.

The idea was generated through meetings of the German Coast Community Heritage Project, seeking living traditions passed through the generations.

Family farms form part of the backbone of the River Parishes region. Farmers are examples of hard work, dedication and character. These traditions are carried through the generations, adding to the quality of life of this community.

And, if we can make a few more dollars in the process by marketing more to tourists who otherwise might not pull onto the road’s shoulder to do business with a man sitting behind a pickup truck, that doesn’t hurt, either. New money is always welcome.

To join in this effort to highlight our historical and commercial heritage dating back more than 200 years, call the St. Charles Parish Department of Economic Development at (985) 783-9883.

LEONARD GRAY is assistant managing editor of L’Observateur. He may be reached at (985) 652-9545.