by Andetrie Vicks
With hog headcheese and cracklings, chicken and duck eggs, beef and turkey jerky, arts and crafts, starter plants and more, there is something for everyone at the Lafourche Central Market, where all the items here are fresh, homegrown or made by their vendor with no middleman involved.
“The vendors love to talk to customers, and they always have interesting stories,” says Brooke Guidry, Coordinator for Lafourche Central Market.
They are there and eager to answer questions, like what type of fertilizer they used to grow their plants, how much time it took to cultivate them, how they make their products or how they grow their fruits and vegetables. This experience gives the customer more knowledge about the food and crafts they are buying, one they can’t get at grocery stores or other businesses. At the same time, it allows the community to come together and have a good time.
“The market is a way to get the residents together and celebrate its rich southern and Cajun culture,” says Guidry. “It’s a nice relaxing place to be.”
The atmosphere is very open and carefree and the people are friendly and personable. It’s held under a pavilion with the vendors set up like a square within a square, shaded from the heat of the Louisiana sun. On the stage, local bands set up to play soft music to add to the relaxed atmosphere.
Lafourche Central Market opened for business in October 2012. Originally, it was opened by Options for Independence, a non-profit organization providing community based services to persons with disabilities. The organization turned it over to the Lafourche Parish Government in January 2016, and now its chief objective is to provide Lafourche Parish with a central place to get fresh produce and meats and to display the craft talents of the local residents.
It is open year-round on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., located at 4484 Hwy 1 in Raceland, under the Hwy 90 overpass. It’s easy to find by its big white sign off of Highway 1 in Raceland with the words “Lafourche Central Market” printed on it.
Once there, everyone can enjoy in the experience of buying directly from local farmers and crafters who are there to offer their goods to the surrounding community, some of which includes fresh-caught seafood when the season is right.
To ensure that each product offered is indeed homegrown and produced, each vendor is subject to periodic inspections whether they sell crafts, produce, or fresh fruits and vegetables. The market is also on Facebook, where photos, video and more information on the products and people can be found.
Nothing takes the place of the actual experience, though. There’s fresh food, handmade crafts and conversation waiting to be had.
Guidry says, “Come out, enjoy the atmosphere and have a conversation with our vendors.”