(News article for May 1, 2020)
National and local news outlets have recently reported on situations in which farmers have had reduced sales due to the coronavirus outbreak. Farmers’ market operations are altered, school lunchrooms are closed, and restaurants have not been able to offer dine-in service.
At the same time, we still have to – and want to – eat. I want to make sure that you are aware of ways to find locally grown fruits and vegetables.
Many of you already know of local growers, roadside stands, or grocery stores where you can buy local produce. There are also websites that can help you find it.
The LSU AgCenter and Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) have recently partnered to put together a map of local producers. This is available under the “LA Farm Food Map and Directory” on LDAF’s Coronavirus Information Center site. (Growers who have not yet submitted their request to be listed on that site can go there to do so, as well.)
There are also other sites where you can find out who offers local produce.
The Louisiana MarketMaker site allows you to search for a particular product in a specific area. LocalHarvest provides information in a similar way as the MarketMaker site, but not as many local operations are listed on this site.
For strawberries in particular, you can go to the Louisiana Strawberry Marketing Board site and click on “Find Louisiana Strawberries.”
To find growers who are part of LDAF’s Louisiana Grown program, you can go to the "Where to Buy" section of that site. There, choose among “Fruit & Veggie Producers,” “Horticultural,” “Sod Producers,” and “Farmers’ Market.” Businesses are listed by parish.
For those specifically interested in a pick-your-own experience, PickYourOwn.org provides information about u-pick farms. First, select Louisiana, either from the list of states or on the map. Note that there seems to be a glitch with the map. To find farms in Tangipahoa or Washington Parishes, you’ll need click on St. Tammany Parish (or another parish in the New Orleans area) or choose “New Orleans and Southeast Louisiana” from the list. Just clicking over Tangipahoa or Washington on the map does not lead to the farm listings for these parishes, even though farms from both are listed on the website.
If you’re thinking of visiting a u-pick farm, please contact them first to make sure they will be open when you plan to go.
Contact Mary Helen Ferguson.
Rabbiteye blueberries will be ripe soon. (Photo by M.H. Ferguson)
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture