Shopping for groceries at the French Market was once part of daily life for some New Orleanians. Starting this Saturday, March 7, something approaching that historic role will be on display at the riverfront landmark two days a week.
For the second time in four months, the French Market will debut a new farmers market day. This Saturday edition will continue weekly from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the initial market this weekend will offer Gulf seafood, produce, baked goods, preserves and other items from 13 vendors.
In October, the city-run French Market began hosting a new edition of the Crescent City Farmers Market in conjunction with Market Umbrella, the nonprofit that operates other farmers markets around town. That Wednesday market continues each week from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. with about 20 vendors.
Elisa Munoz, market development manager for the French Market, said it’s all part of a larger effort to boost the French Market’s appeal for visitors and locals and revive its standing as a destination for local food. With a history reaching back to 1791, the French Market was the city’s first food hub.
Both the Wednesday and Saturday markets days are convened under a covered portion of the French Market, near a collection of walk-up cafes and food counters and a small stage for cooking demonstrations.
Both markets have room to grow with more vendors. Munoz explained that the new Saturday market in particular is intended to serve as an incubator for urban farmers cultivating small plots around the city and other artisan food makers just getting their own businesses off the ground.
From a once-a-week appearance on a market day, she explained, some food producers may eventually be able to expand to become regular French Market vendors throughout the week. That could, in turn, expand the market’s own draw for shoppers and visitors.
In addition to groceries, the Saturday market will have Sicilian baked goods from Portera’s Panetteria, gourmet popsicles from Meltdown Pops and vegan and gluten-free specialty pastries from Girls Gone Vegan, while New Orleans-based French Truck Coffee and the Crepe Cart will be on hand as well. For a complete list of vendors, see frenchmarket.org.
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