Local farmers see ‘significant damage’ from Hurricane Ida; farmers market returns this weekend

We’ve all seen the Hurricane Ida aftermath images—fallen trees, high waters and leveled homes across the state. But there’s another type of property that was hit especially hard by the storm, too: Louisiana farms.

“This has been a very difficult year for farmers, with the freeze and the unprecedented rainfall, and now a Category 4 hurricane,” says BREADA executive director Darlene Adams Rowland.

BREADA, which oversees the Red Stick Farmers Market and other local programs, has been trying to get in contact with farmers across the state. It wasn’t able to reach many until Tuesday. 

“Our farmers to the east and south have suffered significant damage, with some still yet to be seen,” Rowland says.

And the worst could be yet to come.

“With the rising of the Tangipahoa River, it is very likely that at least one of our vegetable farmers will completely flood, losing their entire fall crop planting,” Rowland adds.

Baton Rouge Area Foundation’s Louisiana Small Farm Fund is collecting donations to support impacted farmers.

Those looking to help can also donate to BREADA and add a note that their donation should be directed to the Small Farm Fund.

“We will do all we can to raise funds to assist our farmers so that they continue to stay on the farm and grow food for our community,” Rowland says.

BREADA’s Thursday market at Pennington Biomedical Research Center has been canceled this week. But the market will reopen this Saturday in downtown Baton Rouge. Baton Rougeans are encouraged to stop by and refill their fridges with fresh local produce and goods ahead of the Labor Day holiday.

“Our farmers to the west, of course, fared much better. So we will have some vegetables Saturday,” Rowland says.

At this weekend’s market, expect to find okra, squash, cucumbers, dandelion greens, peppers, mushrooms and potatoes.

Feliciana’s Best Creamery will have fresh, locally produced milk and eggs—which are not always easy to find in the aftermath of a storm.

Other vendors will be stocked up on beef and pork products (steaks, ground meat, sausage and more), bread, baked goods, honey, jams, jellies, preserves, honey, corn flour, grits and other specialty goods.

The downtown Red Stick Farmers Market is at Fifth and Main streets. It will be open Saturday, Sept. 4, during its regularly scheduled time slot of 8 a.m. to noon.