Sweet potatoes from man who grew them
Ainít the Farmerís Market grand?
But by far my favorite part of the farmers' market is the atmosphere, the real sense of community that's a rarity these days, and it's directly attributable to the great folks who are out there selling their wares. They're friendly, chatty, and willing to share the story behind their products or themselves.
On a recent ridiculously cold morning I happened on the booth of Betty Dumas. I was drawn there by her crab cakes and gumbo, but a chance comment about cashews started Betty talking about her native land.
Betty was born in Trinidad and attended school in St. Croix, where cashew trees are common. She told me that the tree produces a fruit and that one nut grows at the bottom of each fruit. She said they ate the fruit and collected the nuts for roasting, a slow and time-consuming process - small wonder cashews are so expensive.
While I stood there freezing and longing for something hot to warm me up, Betty told me that her grandmother had cocoa trees in her yard, and that real cocoa just can't be beat. Cocoa trees bear fruit shaped like footballs, and Betty said they would suck the pulp out of the fruit and dry and roast the seeds.
Then they'd pound the seeds in a mortar, releasing the oil and creating a very fine powder. They formed this oily powder into balls, allowed them to dry, and then grated them when they needed cocoa. She said real cocoa makes the best hot chocolate in the world.
Betty told me she had a little bit of culture shock when she came to Louisiana at the age of 17.
She said all the trees back home were fruit trees, and she was somewhat surprised to see so many trees here that didn't bear fruit. She also planned to bathe in the river, the way she had always done in the crystal clear water back home, and was somewhat shocked at the size (and dirt) of the mighty Mississippi.
I've been to the West Indies only once, but I found it so beautiful that I actually cried when I left. I asked Betty how she could leave such a paradise for Louisiana, and she told me that she wanted something different. She married her sweetheart, settled in Vacherie, and raised four children, and she has no desire to return to her Caribbean homeland. As Betty put it, "this is home."
The next time you're shopping at the farmers' market, take the time to chat with the sellers, and while you're at it, stop by Betty's booth. She sells crawfish pies and bread pudding, typical Louisiana fare, but with a West Indies twist. You won't be disappointed.
Subscribe Today and Save!!!
St. Charles Herald-Guide is an award-winning newspaper that covers all aspects of St. Charles Parish - from schools and parish government news to social events, features on our local residents and sports.
Order your subscription today!
After more than a decade battling the St. Charles Parish Council in an attempt to...
The Hahnville Lady Tigers (3-1) cruised past Assumption and Dominican in the...
The Destrehan Lady Wildcats lost only their second game all season when they fell...
A Destrehan teen who lost her sister to a rare genetic disorder is on a mission to...
A 21-year-old Montz man was arrested and charged with obscenity after a motorist on...
A 53-year-old Destrehan woman who is charged with attempted murder after shooting...
Why Is Brazilian Waxing So Popular? Many just enjoy the clean feeling that comes with being hairless. Some who did it just to wear a bikini now keep it up because "it just feels great"! Our Brazilian wax has unique properties that will leave your skin f
Lady Wildcats fall to Mt. Carmel in state championship game - 511 views
The Destrehan Lady Wildcats lost only their second game all season when they fell to the Mt. Carmel Cubs 69-60 in the 5A state championship game.