Creole Farmers’ Market now a reality after grand opening

Published 11:45 pm Friday, December 19, 2014

By Monique Roth

WALLACE — The mission of St. John the Baptist Parish’s Creole Farmers’ Market is “to increase access to fresh, locally harvested produce, to build a strong community on vendor/consumer relations, to bring people of the River Region together and to promote economic development.”

Nearly 300 people showed up to the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony as that mission was realized and the Creole Farmers’ Market in Wallace, something in the works for the west bank of St. John Parish for years, became a reality Dec. 13 with a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony.

Parish Economic Development Committee Chairman Rodney Nicholas said the market’s opening was the “result of an intensive, really aggressive effort” from the EDC and the parish, adding he was excited to see how the market would spur economic development on the west bank of St. John Parish.

Nicholas said he has heard community members talk about the opening of the market and always refer to it as something “in the future,” but in the last six months countless community members put out a very intensive effort to make the market a reality.

“Welcome to the future,” Nicholas told the crowd that had gathered at the grand opening Saturday.

“The future is now. This is the start of something big on the West Bank.”

Edgard residents Silas and Monique Cook will sell produce and merchandise at the market as vendor Golden Boy LLC. Monique said this is the couple’s first time selling their goods, and in the past they have only given their produce and products away to family and friends.

“I think it’s a very positive move (for the parish),” Monique said. “There are a lot of local farmers and people who do crafts and bake (in St. John Parish) and this is a great venue for that.”

Another vendor, Audrey Alexis of LaPlace, expressed similar sentiments.

“There’s a lot of creativity within the parish,” Alexis said, adding she plans on selling her hand-crafted second-line umbrellas, wreaths, dolls and various decorations at the market.

Vendor Tressa Nicholas of Treats by Tressa said she thinks the market will be “a great way to keep money in the parish.”

Mike and Dee Washburn, a LaPlace couple who shopped at the market’s opening day, said they were encouraged by how the venue looked and how many vendors were there.

Mike said they decided to “hop in and keep money in the parish” instead of going out of town for other farmers’ markets like they normally do, and Dee added the Creole Farmers’ Market was “very nice and has lots to offer.”

During the opening ceremony, Parish President Natalie Robottom encouraged patrons to spread the word to other farmers and consumers in the parish, and parish Councilman Art Smith, whose area of representation includes Wallace, thanked Robottom and her staff for their help in getting the market open.

“This farmers’ market is only the beginning,” Smith said of the economic growth of the West Bank.

Councilman Lucien Gauff III thanked vendors for coming out and “buying into this idea,” promising the market will only get “bigger and better.”

Gauff said the farmers’ market was “the vision we had and now we have an opportunity to grow.”

Sheriff Mike Tregre was also on hand for the occasion, and told the crowd “nothing but good can come from this market.”

According to a Creole Farmers’ Market brochure, the $170,000 venture of establishing the market was funded by the St. John Parish Economic Development Department.

The Creole Farmers’ Market is located at 5793 River Road in Wallace, at the foot of the Veterans Memorial Bridge.

Regular operating hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Saturday.

For information on the market or how to become a vendor, call the parish Economic Development Department at 985-652-9569 or download an application at