Six months after farmers markets closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, their return to New Orleans gradually continues with the reopening of Sprout Nola’s Refresh Market and the launch of a new weekly market in the Upper Ninth Ward.
Sprout Nola is a collective of local urban farmers that, in addition to farming advocacy and education, helps sell other farmers’ products at markets, at no cost to them. After suspending its Refresh Market indefinitely in March, Sprout teamed up with Top Box Foods to create a vendor produce box for home delivery, an option many New Orleanians took advantage of throughout the stay-at-home-order. The group resumes their weekly Refresh Market this Monday, September 21, on the Lafitte Greenway next to Hey! Cafe — now with masks and social distancing. In addition to being able to preorder fruits and vegetables like okra, red potatoes, and muscadines, Sprout offers free organic fertilizer to community members at the Refresh Market every Monday.
Also this weekend, Barcelo Gardens in the Upper Ninth Ward will host its third farmers market on Saturday, September 19. The community garden plans to host the market weekly, saying it’s “actively doing our best to support local farmers and businesses, especially Black business owners” and bring fresh produce to the 70117 zip code. So far the lineup for Saturday includes tomatoes, yellow squash, zucchini, mustard greens, and pluots (hybrid plum/apricots). Customers are encouraged to drop by, no pre-ordering necessary.
Crescent City Farmers Markets first brought back the beloved pillars of local produce in the form of weekly drive-thrus a few months ago, now taking place Sundays at Parkway Bakery and Wednesdays at Bucktown Harbor. Since then, CCFM has also relaunched its weekly Uptown market, Tuesdays from 8 a.m. to noon. There’s no word yet on if and when former CCFM market locations downtown or in Bywater will reopen.
On September 21, Refresh Market will open every Monday from 4 to 7 p.m. at 2606 St. Louis Street. The new farmers market in the Upper Ninth Ward is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.