Bring Farm to Table
Story and photos by Angie Kay Dilmore
Farmers Markets come alive in spring and early summer, featuring colorful, fresh-picked produce and herbs, farm-fresh eggs, organic meats and dairy products, jams and jellies, prepared foods, baked goods, handmade soaps and essential oils, arts and crafts, and often, musical entertainment. Here, we feature some of the regular vendors at the Lake Charles markets, as well as details on where you can find other farmers markets around Southwest Louisiana and Southeast Texas.
Stacy Mack with M&M Ranch has been a vendor at farmers markets for 15 years. Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the farmers markets, creating unique challenges to market vendors. “The chickens still laid eggs, and plants continued to grow,” said Mack, who found creative ways to keep her business alive despite the barriers. She arranged to meet individually with her regular clients, offered home delivery, and sold her produce to Restaurant Calla. “Our income was cut in half, but we managed to stay afloat.”
Fran Chaisson, owner of Lil’ Ass Farms, is on the south end of the Saturday Charleston Farmers Market. Their fresh produce includes a variety of fruits and vegetables, depending on the season (think cukes, squashes, and tomatoes). Sweet, juicy, Pontchatoula strawberries were a hit early May.
Carolyn Smith, owner of Carolyn’s Jams and Jellies is a fixture at both the Cash and Carry and Charleston markets, Carolyn sells homemade jams, jellies, and specialty pickled vegetables.
Diana Schutte of Diana’s Cakes, Confections, and More has been a staple at local farmers markets and community events for six years. Her tempting treats include lemon bars, pecan bars, cheesecake bars, a variety of scones and macarons, bread pudding with rum sauce, and seasonal favorites.
Patricia Joseph, owner of The Healing Begins, offers turmeric-infused products, including oils, spice blends, and teas. Their Signature Tea is a delightful combination of hibiscus, elderberry, turmeric, and ginger. She recently introduced a new line of products with lavender and chamomile.
Adele Romero, owner of Piacere, is relatively new to the Tuesday Cash and Carry. She offers three unique varieties of freshly made pizzas. Occasionally, she adds other Italian street foods into the mix. She can also be found Saturdays at the Lafayette Farmers & Artisans Market.
Lynn Semar of Lynn’s Living Foods, LLC, offers sprouts, micro greens, wheat grass, and prepared foods such as salads, nut spreads, and granolas.
In Lake Charles, the Charlestown Farmers Market is open Saturdays, 8:00 a.m. to noon, on Bilbo St. behind Historic City Hall, 1001 Ryan St. The Cash and Carry Farmers Market is open Tuesdays, 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. at the corner of Enterprise and Broad Sts.