Farmers’ Market offers fresh grocery alternative
DESTREHAN – With food items like meat and dairy in low supply at traditional grocery stores, patrons and vendors alike are thankful for the continued operation of the twice-weekly German Coast Farmer’s Market in St. Charles Parish.
The unique market is a local source of artisan bread, farm-grown produce, natural dairy products, mouth-watering meat, seafood straight off the boat, homemade honey and so much more.
Organizer Ann Montgomery said the market has taken special considerations to keep the community safe from COVID-19 spread while providing an essential service.
The German Coast Farmers’ Market is open from 1 to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays in the Winnwood Shopping Center parking lot at 1313 Paul Maillard Road in Luling. This location accepts SNAP benefits. The German Coast Farmers’ Market is also open from 8 a.m. to noon every Saturday in the Ormond Plantation Parking lot on River Road in Destrehan.
Vendor tents are spaced at least six to eight feet apart to comply with social distancing guidelines. Patrons are encouraged to visit germancoastfarmersmarket.org and click the vendors tab to place orders prior to visiting the market.
“Patrons can go online to get the vendors’ phone numbers to place orders. The vendors will have those orders ready for pick-up,” Montgomery said.
Once at the market, patrons must space themselves six feet apart while waiting in line to pick up orders. All vendors are wearing gloves, and people are not allowed to walk up and touch products on display.
There were 14 vendors at Ormond Plantation last Saturday and 11 vendors the week before. Vendor information is available at germancoastfarmersmarket.org prior to the market days, though this list may be subject to change.
Only food vendors are attending the farmers’ market currently to provide an essential service. Craft vendors and entertainment will come back after the COVID-19 threat passes and life returns to normal.
“I think customers are appreciative that we’re there because some of these things aren’t available in the stores,” Montgomery said. “We are very conscious of the situation. The vendors who are here want to be here.”
One of those Saturday morning vendors is Robert Cox with Cox’s Meat Market in Reserve. He is continuing to sell red meats, tasso, smoked sausages, Andouille and smoked chicken at the farmers’ market and from his storefront at 1162 Highway 44 (River Road) in Reserve.
Cox’s Meat Market provides a great alternative to grocery store shopping as deli sections sell out from increased demand. The store has been a staple of the River Parishes for more than 87 years, and customers continue to frequent the location for unmatched quality and service. It’s one of the few places that still procures and prepares free-range, grass-fed beef and chicken rather than purchasing pre-butchered packages.
Driskell’s Original BBQ is another popular meat vendor with a menu including but not limited to brisket tacos, burnt end kabobs, baked beans, German-style potato salad and pulled pork sandwiches.
Another frequent vendor is “Bees Are My Business.” Jannett Cancella specializes in honey, honey butter, pickled items, fruit, vegetables, eggs, baked goods and more.
Montgomery said the New Orleans-made artisan bread from Fleur Dough Lis Bakery is a popular choice. Pastalaya, jambalaya, hot tamales, French pastries, kettle corn, butter, cheeses and a wide variety of vegetables from experienced farmers are also available at the market.
Arthur Joachim with Jefferson Food Shack usually arrives around 9 a.m., one hour after the Saturday market starts, because his fresh shrimp, fish and oysters are literally coming right off the boat.
“First and foremost, it’s convenience shopping for healthy foods,” Montgomery said. “It’s a great place to socialize under typical conditions, just not right now. When we have entertainment out there, people like to sit at tables, eat their pasta for breakfast and listen to the music. We hope to get back to that soon.”
The German Coast Farmers’ Market has been in operation since 2003. It was started by the German Coast Community Heritage Group to celebrate a living tradition passed down within the community. The German Coast, encompassing St. Charles, St. John the Baptist and St. James parishes, is one of the oldest settlements in Louisiana, and some of the descendants of those settlers continue to farm and feed the community to this day.
For updates throughout the week on vendors, please visit German Coast Farmers’ Market on Facebook.