German Coast Farmers' Market celebrates 10 years
Rene Schmit, LSU AgCenter County Agent for St. Charles Parish (center), congratulates Home Vegetable Garden Growing Contest winners, Doug Robicheaux and Jerry Hummel.
Door prizes were also awarded to attendees arriving every half hour.
The farmers’ market has been hosting vendors every Saturday since May 2003 in the Ormond Plantation parking lot in Destrehan. They expanded in July 2006 to include a West Bank market on Wednesdays.
The market was named "America’s Favorite Farmers’ Market in Louisiana" in 2010 and 2011 by the American Farmland Trust.
Ann Montgomery, marketing chairperson and vice president of the board of the German Coast Farmers’ Market, said it was a perfect day for the celebration.
"It was beautiful weather. With so many of our events we have to fight the weather, but it was nice," she said.
Montgomery said the timing was right as the first batches of the much sought after Creole tomatoes had only started to come in recently.
"We had lots of good produce," she said. "The Creole tomatoes were full. The week before was the first time we had Creole tomatoes and that is always a big draw."
One of the main attractions was a vegetable growing contest judged by LSU AgCenter County Agent Rene Schmit who named Doug Robicheaux and Jerry Hummel as the winners.
"We had very nice baskets of vegetables from our backyard growers," Montgomery said. "First and second place got T-shirts and seedling cards."
Other displays included a museum with ancient artifacts, a informational booth by the St. Charles Parish Library, book signings by local authors Ollie Voelker and Renelle Folse and a cooking demonstration by local chef and hospital nutritionist Blaine Guillot.
A beekeeper was also on hand to show how to harvest honey from an apiary.
"We had our bee lady Jeanette for Bees Are Our Business. She used an extraction tool to show us how she harvests honey," Montgomery said.
However, the bees were not present as they have been in past demonstrations.
"She didn’t have the bees this time though because last time it was too hot and her queen died," Montgomery said.
And while those in attendance made their way from stand to stand, musical artist favorite Blanch Newsome was on hand singing to the crowd as he is every week of the year.
There was also a radio crew broadcasting live from the event.
However, it was the farmers who were the main attraction.
Durham Produce had an offering of fruits including Alabama peaches, plums and nectarines.
Perilloux’s Produce stand was filled with Creole tomatoes, bell peppers, squash and cucumbers.
Story Produce had on display tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, squash, sweet corn, green beans, blueberries, peas and red potatoes.
Zeringue Farms was selling Creole tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, eggs, eggplant, beets, banana peppers, jalapeno peppers, yellow squash, white squash, zucchini, kale and artichoke.
Despite the success and longevity of the farmers’ market, Montgomery said she and other board members are continuously striving to make the experience of visiting it more enjoyable.
"We are constantly looking to improve and grow the market," she said. "We are trying desperately to grow and get more vendors. They constantly ask for more vendors and more variety and we are constantly working to get new vendors and programs to get people out there."
According to Montgomery, many of the farmers’ market customers make the trip in from New Orleans and other surrounding areas.
"They take a ride to the ‘country,’" she said. "If people in just St. Charles Parish patronized the market we wouldn’t need to tell people in the city about it."
Montgomery said she is very appreciative of all the years and support from the community and is hoping it will continue.
"We want to thank all the vendors and the patrons who attend and we want them to keep coming back and support their local farmers," she said.
The East Bank market is held every Saturday from 8 a.m.-noon at Ormond Plantation at 13786 River Road in Destrehan.
The West Bank market is held every Wednesday from 2:30 p.m.-6 p.m. at the St. Charles Plaza Shopping Center at 12715 Highway 90 in Luling.
Those who would like to become vendors at either market can contact the German Coast Farmers’ Market by email at email@example.com or by phone at (504) 782-8517.
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