Much to the dismay of my friends from other cities, I was just recently introduced to the concept of CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). To my understanding, CSA is a way for members of the community to buy shares of a farm in exchange for a portion of what the farm produces. When I began to look into CSA here in New Orleans, I was shocked to find Hollygrove Market & Farm, an urban farm here in the city that has everything I’d ever hoped for.
Hollygrove Market and Farm was established in 2008 and serves a dual function. As an urban farm, Hollygrove houses plots that are tended by community farmers and gardeners. Not only do they contribute to the market, but they are also a wealth of information on organic gardening, farming and composting. As a farmer’s market, Hollygrove collaborates with local farms to offers fresh produce and dairy to the New Orleans community. Unlike other CSA’s, Hollygrove requires no membership fees or buying of shares. Instead, you or I can go pick up a box of fresh, seasonal and locally grown produce each week, without a reservation or advance commitment.
An average box of produce feeds 2 adults and costs $25. The variety of fruit and veggies depends on the season and changes weekly, but here is what they’re offering this week (7/3):
- 3 peaches
- 1 pt. plums
- 1 pt. blueberries
- 5 red potatoes
- 1 bag fresh lima beans
- 1 bunch fresh herbs
- 1/2 lb. assorted peppers
- 1 eggplant
- 1 bag okra
- 1 pt. grape tomatoes
Most of Hollygrove’s produce is grown within 65 miles of NOLA, ensuring the freshest fruits and veggies and reducing the environmental transport costs.
So what happens if the weekly offering features something you can’t stand? Replace it with something else! The Hollygrove staff encourage you to make your own boxes and this can even be done at the satellite locations (although it is recommended you make your own box within the first few hours for best availability). Or, try something new. Even though I probably wouldn’t buy a pound of okra at the store, I can think of a few John Folse recipes that would make perfect use of it. And that’s one of the cool things about CSA, it opens a new door for your cooking. There are tons of online recipes tools (i.e. Allrecipe, foodnetwork.com, TasteSpotting) and Hollygrove also offers a few recipes that highlight the weekly produce box on their website (www.hollygrovemarket.com).
Weekly produce boxes are available for pickup at Hollygrove Market (8301 Olive St.) between the hours of 12-6 on Tuesday and 10-2 on Saturday. They also offer satellite distribution for those not able to make it to the Hollygrove neighborhood (French Market or 1212 Esplanade Ave.). Produce is not the only feature of the market, you can also find fresh dairy products, including feta cheese, goat cheese, creole cream cheese, milk, chocolate milk, butter and goat yogurt.
Perhaps the best part about the Hollygrove Market & Farm is that it fits in perfectly with our family ideals. We are happy to support our local community, we are proud to show our daughter where her food is coming from and we are so excited that our city has aligned with such a progressive and inspiring movement. The only say so we actually have in today’s economy is the dollar. Are you proud of what you support in the way you spend yours?