Hwy. 90 location sparks renewed interest in market

April 08, 2009 at 11:32 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Since moving to its new location on Highway 90, the West Bank Farmers’ Market has taken off, with about 600 people making their way to the market weekly to buy fresh produce, seafood and other items.

“We are doing very well at the new location,” Ann Montgomery, the marketing coordinator for the German Coast Farmers’ Market, said. “We expected the numbers to be good, but we were cautiously optimistic. After the patron count remained steady during the first month, we have high hopes that this location is going to be successful.”

The West Bank Farmers’ Market, formerly located on River Road, was forced to close in July due to dwindling customers and vendors. On Jan. 21, the market opened at its new location in the parking lot of the old K-Mart building of the St. Charles Plaza on Highway 90. So far, the 600 weekly patrons that frequent the market’s new location is a far cry from the less than 100 that visited the market at its River Road site.

“It’s just been unbelievable,” Montgomery said. “Several times the weather forecast has been very threatening and it appeared that the market would rain out - fortunately this has yet to happen and the customers keep coming.” 

And the renewed interest from residents has re-energized the market’s vendors. The West Bank market now averages 20 vendors on Wednesdays, which is more than the 18 that stock the parish’s East Bank market. The East Bank market has been a staple in the parish for nearly seven years, and in the past, had always outperformed the West Bank market in terms of both customers and vendors.

“Recently, the West Bank market has begun to attract new vendors from the Gretna, Crescent City and Westwego markets,” Montgomery said. “Vendors are starting to spread the word about how many people visit us on the West Bank. This seems to draw new vendors who want to be part of the action.”

Smith’s Creamery has recently been added to the West Bank market, and brings with them a whole line of dairy products, cream cheese, and desserts.  Another new vendor, Rogers Royal Farms, sells a complete line of products made with goat milk, including cheese and yogurt.

And Simply Sweets, which has a store on Highway 90, has joined both the West and East Bank markets.

“We just had lots of interest from vendors who wanted to try out the new West Bank location,” Montgomery said. “They returned week after week and their attendance has been consistent since we opened here.”

Besides the new vendors, the market still has all of its old staples in place, including baked breads and pastries, rotisserie meats, hogshead cheese, local honey, soy candles and seafood.  Lots of fresh produce are also available including tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, cabbage, greens, lettuce, mushrooms and citrus. Other favorites at the market are herbs, citrus trees, bedding plants and hanging baskets along with the value-added products of wines, jellies, kettle corn, crackling, gourmet rice and hot plate suppers.

The West Bank market is open from 3 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. every Wednesday.

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

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