When you walk into the clean, bright space of newly opened specialty food and meat market Twine, it’s clear there’s no place quite like it in Baton Rouge.
The food display counter is full of high-quality cuts of meat, prepared dishes and some more unique creations by owner and local chef Steven Diehl. From Moroccan shrimp to ground lamb meat balls, and Gouda grits to seaweed and cucumber salad, you won’t find options like these at any old grocery store or market.
Behind the counter, an invigoratingly fresh scent fills the air. It’s the mouthwatering, sweet seaweed and cucumber salad. Like just about everything in the Government Street store, it’s organic and locally grown.
“I don’t think people realize how much food Louisiana produces,” Diehl says. “It’s important to take advantage of what’s grown in your state as opposed to it being grown in a big old stock yard somewhere else. You just need to know where your stuff is coming from.”
Diehl posts signs throughout the story letting customers know which local farm, for example Iverstine Family Farms, certain meats in the display counter came from.
At Twine, Diehl takes farmers market-style goods from local farms and fisheries and makes them into seasonal dishes customers can either prepare at home themselves, like the Moroccan shrimp, or simply eat straight out of the container, like the seaweed and cucumber salad.
Diehl sells plenty of prepared meals and side dishes for customers to take home, as well as some items to round out a meal or properly stock a pantry, including wine, milk, eggs, stocks, olive oil, specialty chocolates and more.
A personal chef in Baton Rouge for four years, Diehl says his passion for both food and people led him to open Twine.
“I love seeing people’s faces when they eat,” Diehl says. “I’ve just always loved it, and I’ve been in the food industry for 15 years now.”
One of the best things about his store, Diehl says, is that it’s an opportunity for people to learn more about what they eat in a way that also pushes them out of their comfort zones. For many customers, the food he makes is something they’ve never tried, and maybe never would have if they hadn’t stopped by Twine.
While he acknowledges that organic local food can be expensive, Diehl says it’s all worth it when it comes to health.
“It’s the importance of eating real food,” Diehl says. “I make everything in-house and I get everything from local farms with no preservatives or hormones or any of those XYZs that you would see on the back of the package.”