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Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Shreveport Farmers’ Market

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Area farmers and ranchers to sell their wares

Eighty eager vendors and a community hungry for open-air events will come together on June 5, when the opens for its 35th consecutive year.

The market, which runs through Aug. 28 (except June 19), will be open to the public from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each Saturday during its 2021 summer season. Operated by the Red River Revel for more than 20 years, the market is held inside Festival Plaza at 101 Crockett St. in downtown Shreveport.

“We pride ourselves in offering handmade, homemade and homegrown goods to the community from farmers, ranchers and vendors within a 150-mile radius of Shreveport,” said Shreveport Farmers’ Market Manager Emerie Eck Gentry. “The community is truly getting a farm-to-pantry experience.”

The handmade, homemade and homegrown goods will fill your shopping bag – and stomach – while you’re at the market.

Market favorites returning this year include Mahaffey Farms, Anderson’s Produce & Plant Farm, local Chef Tootie Morrison’s famous fried shrimp and grits balls, Hummer & Son Honey, meat pies, eggs, shrimp, tamales, soaps, pralines and much, much more – including seasonings, dog treats, breads, canned goods and handcrafted items from local artisans.

“Get to the market early if you want corn,” Gentry jokingly – yet seriously – advises.

Meghan Dortlon, marketing manager for Mahaffey Farms, said the vendor is especially excited for this year’s market, as they’ll see how attendees respond to the uptick in the farm’s pasture-raised chicken production.

“In the past, chicken supply wasn’t as consistent as we wanted it to be, and we would often sell out before the season ended,” said Dortlon. “This year, we’ve cranked it up quite a bit and are raising 10,000 birds on pasture. We’re looking forward to how the community responds to that. That’ll give us a better idea of how to scale the enterprise moving forward.”

New goods at the market include homemade donuts by Dripp Donuts, wine jelly by Hearts Gate Vineyard, French macarons by Bella Boop’s Creations, peanut brittle, authentic poutine, seeds and wheatgrass shots.

Harrice Daniels of Simply Delicious Ranch Dressing will return to the market as a vendor in 2021, selling dairy and non-dairy options for her ranch dressing and shrimp salad.

“Everything that I make is made with the freshest ingredients as possible,” said Daniels, who uses fresh herbs and spices in her dressing, along with shallots, garlic and chives.

Also new in the 2021 summer season is the partnership between the Shreveport Farmers’ Market and Louisiana Healthcare Connections; the new “SNAP Match” program will allow shoppers with a Louisiana Purchase (SNAP) card to receive a dollar-fordollar match up to $20 in market purchases.

SNAP, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, offers nutrition assistance to eligible, low-income individuals and families.

“Having Louisiana Healthcare Connections’ support through the SNAP Match program will help us meet increased demand from our SNAP shoppers who want and deserve fresh, healthy, locally-grown and -produced food,” said Gentry.

The market saw a 300 percent increase in SNAP usage between 2019 and 2020.

“We began participating in the SNAP program in 2013, and we’re excited to see the benefits for patrons from the SNAP Match program,” said Gentry. “With 39 percent of the Caddo Parish population considered as Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE), this partnership lessens the financial burden and positively impacts the nutritional needs of these households.”

The Shreveport Farmers’ Market is the only U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)- approved market in Northwest Louisiana, allowing participation in the SNAP program. A few more accolades of the market worth mentioning: American Farmland Trust’s poll in 2020 ranked the Shreveport Farmers’ Market 12th in the nation, first in Louisiana, and fifth in the Southeast.

As for a mix of old and new this season, Eck Gentry said to expect cooking demonstrations from local chefs featured in the 2021 Shreveport Farmers’ Market calendar and live music.

If you’ve yet to venture to the Shreveport Farmers’ Market, Gentry puts it simply: “It’s a great way to spend a Saturday morning shopping for your most essential needs in a fun, family-friendly environment.”

Gentry and her team expect an attendance of 5,000 on opening day, with an average of 2,500 in attendance each Saturday this season. To ensure the community’s safety, Gentry asks the public to observe social distancing guidelines and refrain from touching any items displayed for sale, as the vendors will serve guests one at a time and bag their selected items. Face masks are encouraged, although not required. Per city ordinance, no pets are allowed at the market.

More information about the market and its vendors can be found online at Redriverrevel. com/farmers-market/, on Facebook at Facebook.com/ShreveportFarmersMarket or on Instagram at Instagram.com/ Shreveport_Farmers_Market.

Parking

Public parking is available on streets at meters (free on Saturdays), behind Riverview Hall, or on the lower level of Festival Plaza adjacent to Sci-Port Discovery Center. Handicapped parking is available on Commerce Street or in the Overlook Lot close to the pavilion.

Hours

Saturdays, June 5 – Aug. 28, 7:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.*

*The market will be closed on June 19 for the annual

Let The Good Times Roll Festival.

ON STANDS NOW!

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