With so much good food in New Orleans, we’re never far from our next great meal, and around here we’re never far from the source of most of the bounty of ingredients that make for a tasty dish. We’re known for our plentiful seafood: oysters, crabs, shrimp, and we’ve figured out ways to fry, saute, boil, poach and blacken anything with gills or claws or an exoskeleton. It’s been recently that New Orleans has seen its farmers markets grow wild like an abundant herb garden, diversifying beyond the choices of produce one could typically find in any small town grocery store into heirloom produce, local meats and dairy, and many delicious prepared foods and products from new vendors starting up businesses.
In the past decade, the dozens of area farmers (including many urban farmers within the city limits) have been engaging in dialogues with their customers and local chefs to grow far more than the crops that are most famous to South Louisiana: our prized citrus, tomatoes and strawberries — this growing farming scene helps elevate our cuisine and widen our palates, and their availability is a win for us all! Eating well in New Orleans has never been so easy.
Saturday Farmers Markets and Stands in New Orleans
Crescent City Farmers Market
The Crescent City Farmers Market is located downtown in the Warehouse District on Magazine and Girod streets, every Saturday from 8 a.m. – noon. The year-round market takes place rain or shine (it moves next door and indoors during inclement weather) and features dozens of vendors. Right now, it’s winter – which in Louisiana is comparatively mild to other places. Now’s the time to grab a bag of satsumas, our tangelo-like, easy-to-peel winter citrus, or gigantic Meyer lemons or red Louisiana navels. They travel well, and are hard to find out-of-state. You’ll still find Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, carrots, and hearty collard and mustard greens. In addition, you’ll find locally baked goods like flaky, buttery croissants, pies, pralines, as well as seafood, dairy (including goat cheeses and milk) and meats.
Sankofa Farmer’s Market
The Sankofa Farmers Market is Saturdays in the Lower Ninth Ward on St. Claude Ave. and Forstall streets from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. This small but important farmers market in the Ninth Ward is bringing beautiful produce like yams, leafy purple dinosaur kale, collard greens and citrus right on St. Claude Avenue in the neighborhood, working with neighbors and engaging youth as peer leaders to educate them on the foundations of agriculture and nutrition. This mobile market also pops up elsewhere in the neighborhood on other days.
Grow Dat Youth Farm
Grow Dat Youth Farm is located at City Park at 150 Zachary Taylor Drive and occurs weekly through the end of June, from 9 a.m. – noon. There’s a working farm inside City Park. Call it a collaborative utopia, with an office, storage and education structure constructed partly out of shipping containers where people can come to learn about farming and walk a couple of paces to the farm. It’s readily accessible by public transportation, and the farmers are mostly in high school or volunteers. Grow Dat builds upon the successful Edible Schoolyard programs flourishing in New Orleans K-8 schools by engaging high school students with an interest in urban agriculture. It’s a 19-week intensive program whose results can be seen and tasted throughout restaurants in the city, and a significant amount of what they grow is donated to local hunger relief agencies. They recently launched a Saturday stand at the farm in City Park, selling lettuces, herbs, and other greens.
Tuesday Farmers Market in New Orleans
Crescent City Farmers Market
Find this market Tuesdays in Uptown on 200 Broadway at Leake Ave. from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Similar in size and scope to the Saturday market downtown, the Tuesday market has many vendors throughout the year, including live plants and herbs for sale, plus the weekly Green Plate Special, made with market ingredients from a monthly rotating guest chef from a New Orleans restaurant. It’s just steps from Audubon Park and the zoo, too!
Thursday Farmers Markets in New Orleans
Crescent City Farmers Market – Located in Mid-City at Orleans Ave. at Bayou St. John at the American Can Co. parking lot from 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. This neighborhood market year-round on Thursdays is decidedly for the after-work crowds in Mid-City & Faubourg St. John. It’s a little smaller than the other CCFM market days, but features regular produce, seafood, dairy, meat and prepared food vendors. It’s also the only market next door to a wine store!
Marketplace at Armstrong Park – Open seasonally on the edge of the French Quarter and Treme next to the entrance to Louis Armstrong Park at Rampart & St. Ann St., the market opens in February and runs through June and reopens in fall until it closes in early December, with hours generally from from 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. or 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. depending on the sunset. In late spring and fall, the market coincides with the homegrown Jazz in the Park concert series, a weekly free-admission outdoor concert with all local food and crafts for sale in a vibrant marketplace within the park. The concerts showcase the best in New Orleans music: past headliners have included Rebirth Brass Band, Kermit Ruffins, Treme Brass Band, Jon Cleary, Cyril Neville, Big Sam’s Funky Nation and Los Hombres Calientes . The weekly second line with Da Truth Brass Band in the park starts at 4 p.m. when Jazz in the Park is in season and should not be missed.
Daily Farmers Markets and CSAs in New Orleans
Hollygrove Market & Farm not only has a working urban farm, its cooperative store is open seven days a week to the general public and sources from many of the same vendors that appear at other Farmers Markets around town. They also offer delivery service of their popular weekly CSA box of assorted produce and prepared foods.
Good Eggs NOLA
This last market isn’t really a market at all! Good Eggs NOLA is an online marketplace cooperative with local fruits, vegetables, meats, artisanal coffee, gourmet syrups, even eggs (duh) and breads. Order what you want when you want online, and pick it up at one of several locations, like Swirl wine shop in Faubourg St. John, or have it delivered to you in New Orleans!
All photos by Paul Broussard