Hollygrove Market, the urban farm, local produce market, and community garden space known as much for its local products as it was for its popular Brunch in the Garden (often featuring Burmese pop-up Lahpet) will close at the end of today, February 26. GM Paul Bericos made the announcement on the market’s website. Its future is uncertain, though he hopes that the market can find a financial savior who can pull it out of debt, allowing it to reorganize and re-open.
The nonprofit farm and market owes between $30,000 and $40,000 in debt to farmers, vendors, its landlord, and the city, Bericos told NOLA.COM. Right now, farmers and vendors who are owed money are missing that income plus the loss of an outlet to sell their products.
In many ways, the market was a post-Katrina dream. In 2009, it turned the tables in an area with little easy access to fresh produce by re-imagining an abandoned nursery as a community hub for affordable, fresh, local produce. Then, in 2015, after six years of primarily focusing on a weekly subscription box of produce, the market expanded hours to seven days a week, nine hours a day, with 300 products from 115 farmers and vendors, according to a report by Edible New Orleans.
This isn’t the first time Hollygrove has run into problems that threatened to shut it down. In 2012, the board rejected the proposal from a couple employees to split to the board, with Hollygrove remaining a retail produce market and the employees running a wholesale distribution business to the market and local restaurants. The board rejected the proposal and the employees started their business elsewhere in New Orleans. The changes damaged relationships and the financial stability of the market, according to the report.
Soon after, Angelina Harrison, the new GM, found “financial wreckage” on the books. She helped the market re-organize and gain strength, but it seems that it never fully found firm footing. Harrison eventually moved on the Crescent City Farmers Market.
On Tuesday, February 27, the market will hold a clearance sale.
- Hollygrove Market’s Debt Forces Closure of Post-Katrina Bright Spot [NOLA.COM]
- Hollygrove Announces Closure [website]
- Resilient Hollygrove [Edible New Orleans]
- All Hollygrove Market Coverage [ENOLA]