Friday, August 31, 2012

Local farmers contend with flooding

Posted By on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 5:08 PM

Braithwaite citrus
  • Ian McNulty
  • Local citrus last season at the farmers market.

Hurricane Isaac may well have put Braithwaite on the map for many people around the country watching the harrowing news reports of flooding there. But regular shoppers at the Crescent City Farmers Market likely already have a strong association between the tiny Plaquemines Parish town and fresh citrus. That’s because Braithwaite is home to two market vendors and citrus-growing families — Lester and Linda L'Hoste of L’Hoste Family Farm and Kenneth and Aloma Savastano of A&K Citrus.

Farmers market director Emery Van Hook says she has heard from both families, and reports that they are safe and are now waiting for flood waters to recede before taking stock of their homes and farms.

While the city of New Orleans is now largely in clean-up mode, many of the farmers, fishermen and fresh food vendors who supply our kitchens and restaurants live and work in areas that have been devastated by Isaac, from low-lying coastal areas to communities in the River Parishes, on the northshore and in Mississippi that are now grappling with severe inland flooding.

Van Hook has been hearing from market vendors from across the region, and thus far the reports confirm that people are safe, though in some cases the condition of crops, equipment and homes remains unknown.

Still, many other vendors have reported that they are ready to start selling again and will be at the Crescent City Farmers Market this Saturday (Sept. 1) as usual.

“We wanted to give an opportunity for people who do have product to sell to come out, and of course it will be good just for people to check in and see each other after the storm,” says Van Hook.

The list of products available from confirmed vendors for Saturday includes apples, dairy, produce, honey, baked goods, pastured meats, juice and more.

The Saturday market is from 8 a.m. to noon at the corner of Magazine and Girod streets downtown. The Tuesday market Uptown and the Thursday market in Mid-City are also scheduled to resume as normal next week.

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