There's no question that interest in locally grown produce is at an all-time high in Baton Rouge. The three locations of the 15-year-old Red Stick Farmers Market host a steady stream of new patrons along with committed regulars who plan their menus according to what's in the fields.
Our progress on this front is palpable—we'd hold our local market up to any city's—but what we still lack in Louisiana is substantial organic produce. The few organic farmers who have sold at the Red Stick Farmers Market over the years have largely faded or moved to other communities. Moreover, organic participation in Louisiana overall is woefully behind other states. Farming authorities here have generally told farmers flirting with the idea that going organic is too hard in a region with near-tropical climates, scads of bugs and other heat-related challenges
“The message to us was that it couldn't be done,” says Corwith Davis, III, chief operating officer of Inglewood Farms in Alexandria. “When we started looking into it a few years ago, we found there were only about 90 acres of certified organic farmland in Louisiana.”
Inglewood Farms, a family-owned former plantation that has historically been used for conventional farming, took the plunge anyway. Three years ago, family members agreed to convert some of the farm's substantial acreage into several certified organic plots. The first 24 acres were certified last year, and in February, Inglewood began bringing its lush produce to the Red Stick Farmers Market. “We just thought this was a really important step for our farm,” says Davis. “And it seemed like an unmet need.”
The farm participates in the Red Stick Farmers Market on most Saturdays and in some weekday markets. For organic fans, it's been a welcome supply of produce that's not only locally grown, but raised in sustainable fashion without chemical pesticides.
To confirm, and to learn more, please visit inglewoodfarm.com.
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