Lisa Dahlke

Feb 272018
 

On Monday, February 26th, New Orleans citizens were hit with hard news: after nearly ten years of operation, Hollygrove Market & Farm announced it would be closing its doors. They offered a glimmer of hope in a revival, but additional news coverage detailing the mounting debts of the organization make it seem highly unlikely that the hub of local food in New Orleans can come back to life.

Shoppers wait in line at Hollygrove Farm & Market’s clearance sale and last day of business. *Photo courtesy of John Strange

Hollygrove Market & Farm strived to set the precedent for what local food needs to be: accessible to all.  Whether or not they achieved their goal is another subject matter, but for the past ten years they’ve been selling local vegetables, fruits, and food products in an area that is a food desert, and they offered discounts to residents in the neighborhood. Over the years, they slowly changed their hours of operation to being open every day of the week. This past year, they introduced workshops on how to grow your own food and other do-it-yourself programming. The organization delivered their $25 boxes filled with vegetables and fruit to over 100 households every week. If people needed free food they could get a box in exchange for volunteering at the market for four hours. Hollygrove also had a farming apprenticeship program, and many community gardening plots. The staff at Hollygrove were slated to take over the Eat Local Challenge this year. Last June, Why NOLA Farms and the NOLA Social Ride began and ended the annual urban farm bike ride in conjunction with the Eat Local Challenge at their farm and market.

Where do we go from here? Who’s responsibility is it to ensure that the local food economy continues to thrive here? What will become of the farmers who depended on this market’s existence for revenue? What can WE do?

I’m not sure what the answer is yet, but I know that I will now be making more of an effort to support our local farmers markets. Instead of having access to local food 7 days a week, we will have access to it only 5 days a week now. Why NOLA Farms will be continuing the tradition of the urban farm bike ride. You can expect for this blog to become much more active. There are lots of gardeners and farmers in this town, there are likely more than you realize. It’s time that we supported their community events more. If you’d like to see what events are happening, visit the Community Events calendar on this website. Please contact us if we are missing any events.

Thank you Hollygrove Market & Farm for everything that you have done for the community over the past decade. It’s time that we citizens step up to continue the legacy of what Hollygrove Market & Farm started. We need to engage in our community more. We need to grow our own food. We need to attend farmers markets and workshops. We need to help and revive our community gardens. We need to keep the dialogue of local food needs open. I look forward to seeing you all out there.

Dec 042017
 

On Saturday afternoon on December 2nd, following a long day of work, I pedaled slowly on my bicycle down Dumaine street in Treme, headed towards Claiborne Avenue. The previous month, I had tried to make the first-ever Treme Farmer’s Market but missed it as the market was breaking down early after a long day. As I reached Ms. Gloria’s Garden and walked my bicycle into the yard, I quickly realized that my luck was the same for the second market. The garden space was mostly empty, and some folks were still in the middle of packing up. Still, I was curious to learn more about the market. Everyone was friendly and greeted me as I walked through. As I gazed around at the garden beds that were raised up to waist level and flush with vegetables, a lively older woman wearing a black hooded sweatshirt greeted me warmly. She started to mention that the market was closing down because it was getting cold out, but they would be back there again in a month. I quickly realized that it was Ms. Gloria! Ms. Gloria told me that I was welcome to come back whenever to get some vegetables that she would pick fresh straight from the garden. She explained that she gave away vegetables to anyone who was hungry, and pointed out the space where an herb garden would soon be for the children in the neighborhood to take care of.

Ms. Gloria in her garden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second Treme Farmer’s Market had about eight vendors overall, and four of them were farmers. Ms. Gloria hopes to have more in the future after other farmers have had more time to grow additional crops for the market. The market happens every first Saturday from 11 a.m. to around 4 p.m. in the winter at Ms. Gloria’s Garden, located at 814 N. Claiborne. I hope that I can make the next market!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re a farmer and you’re interested in participating in the market, or you’d like to volunteer, e-mail bwblouisiana@gmail.com. To donate to the garden, here is the gofundmepage: https://www.gofundme.com/gloriastremegarden.

Aug 012017
 

While August is traditionally the month that many New Orleans residents go into hiding indoors to seek the comforts of their air conditioned homes, there are still lots of workshops and events happening in the gardening/eating local scene. Be sure to go out and support these organizations and businesses if you can!

Workshops: This month, Rosalie Apothecary has lots of workshops for participants to choose from. Rosalie kicks off two different kinds of class series, the Heart of Herbal Medicine, which happens every Wednesday evening from 7 to 9 p.m., and the DIY Fermented Food Series, which occurs every Monday from 7 to 9 p.m. Class subjects are comprehensive, and you can learn about how to make tinctures and syrups with local herbs, or how to make water kefir, kombucha, yogurt, and more. Check the calendar to view all of their class offerings, or go to their website.

On Saturday, August 12th, head over to City Park’s Botanical Garden at 10 a.m. to learn more about how to plant a fall vegetable garden. If you’re interested in learning about how to grow flowers year-round, head over to Hollygrove Farm & Market at 1 p.m. for Joanna Sese’s workshop, of Honey Pop Flowers.

At Longue Vue House and Gardens on August 26th, young children can learn about seed planting, dig for worms, and taste vegetables at the Kinder Garden event.

Parties: Also on Saturday the 12th, Grow On is hosting their first-ever Pepper Fest! Try samples of different pepper varieties, listen to some music, and grab some food and cocktails. Every Sunday, Hollygrove Farm & Market hosts a brunch in their garden from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., featuring a different food pop-up vendor each week.

Markets: While the Wednesday Crescent City Farmers Market and the Creole Marche are on a summer break, you can still attend one of the Crescent City Farmers Markets on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, as well as the Refresh Farmers’ Market on Mondays, and Sankofa’s Fresh Stop Market on Saturday mornings.

Plant Sales: City Park will be hosting their monthly plant sale on August 5th, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

If you would like more information about these events, please check out our Community Events Calendar. We update it often, and it is where you can find all of the farming/gardening information for New Orleans events in one place! Please feel free to contact us at whynolafarms@gmail.com if you would like your local food event posted on the calendar!

Jan 172017
 

grilled-rosemary-lemonade

‘Tis the season for carnival, and…meyer lemons, which means it’s local lemonade season! It’s mid-January, and depending on the day, the weather can sometimes be in the 70s and is ideal for lemonade drinking (although admittedly, I drink lemonade all year long).

Have you ever heard of grilled lemonade? I heard about it for the first time last month, and being the lemonade lover that I am, I just had to try it! What’s the difference between grilled and regular? It has a more caramelized, slightly smoky taste to it. If you don’t have a grill, no worries, a cast iron pan on the stove top will work just fine.

Grilled Meyer Lemonade with Rosemary Simple Syrup

whole-lemons

Track down 3-4 meyer lemons (or 5-6 regular lemons). This season, I have purchased meyer lemons from A&K Citrus at the Thursday Crescent City Farmers Market, and also from Hollygrove Farm & Market. Hollygrove was selling lemons from “backyard growers,” so they may be more difficult to track down there. A&K Citrus appears at many of the Crescent City Farmers Markets, and meyer lemons should be around for at least another couple of weeks.

Next, cut your lemons in half. Prepare your grill for use, or start heating up your cast iron pan on medium-high.

cut-lemons

Then, find a large shallow bowl or plate and evenly spread about two tablespoons of sugar across it. Place each lemon down into the sugar until it is well coated.

sugared-lemons

Check to see if your grill or cast iron pan is ready or hot enough. When ready, carefully place the sugared lemons down onto the grill or pan. Allow them to cook until they appear golden and caramelized. The lemons took about five minutes to caramelize on the cast iron pan.

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grilled-lemons

The meyer lemons have reached another kind of beautiful! Allow them to cool down until they are no longer hot to the touch, then juice them while they are still warm. The juice should equate to about one cup. Pour the lemon juice into a container, and add about four to five cups of water, depending on how tart you prefer your lemonade. Add up to 3/4 cup of the rosemary simple syrup.* Use less or add more depending upon your sugar preference.

*To make the rosemary simple syrup, bring a 3/4 cup of sugar and 3/4 cup of water with a sprig of rosemary to a boil, then turn off the heat. Allow the sugar to cool, then add it to the lemonade. Enjoy the lemonade over ice or by itself, and share some with a friend or neighbor!

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Dec 102016
 

This has been an increasingly active year in farming & gardening happenings in New Orleans. Despite the cold weather, lots is still happening in December, so be sure to get out and support your local farms and food organizations!

Classes/Workshops: As usual, Southbound Gardens is hosting a variety of workshops this month. Look out for their Basics of Beekeeping, Organic Bug Management, and Urban Composting workshops. Grow On will be hosting a Seed & Plant Winter Workshop on the 11th, and if you’d like to learn how to grow your own winter greens in a container garden, then you can also attend Longue Vue House and Gardens’ workshop on the same day.

Parties: There are lots of fun garden parties happening on Saturday, Dec. 10th! Press Street Gardens will be hosting their Winter Informal, where you can buy locally sourced holiday decor and food preserves. Also, Nola Tilth will be celebrating their new garden space with a bonfire, music, cocktails, charbroiled oysters, and there will be plants and gift items for sale from CRISP Farms and others. Every Sunday, Hollygrove Farm & Market will be hosting a Brunch in the Garden party. Look for different vendors selling locally sourced items, and the market will also be selling their satsuma sparklers, cheese plates, and French Truck coffee.

Volunteering: Every Wednesday afternoon, Press Street Gardens hosts an open garden time for volunteers. You can also volunteer at ReFresh Community Garden’s Volunteer for Veggies programs on Tuesdays (in Spanish), Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Markets: There are now farmers markets happening six days a week in New Orleans! On Mondays, head over to the ReFresh Farmers’ Market, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, the Crescent City Farmers Market hosts a market in a different part of town each day, and on Sundays check out the brand new Marche Creole Community Market!

Plant Sales: As usual, you can always depend on Southbound Gardens for their gorgeous plant starts. They have a plant sale every Sunday at their greenhouse, and this December they are hosting one on Saturdays as well!

If you would like more information about these events, please check out our Community Events Calendar. We update it often, and it is where you can find all of the farming/gardening information for New Orleans events in one place! Please feel free to contact us at whynolafarms@gmail.com if you would like your local food event posted on the calendar!

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Oct 182016
 
dryades-market

The restored Dryades Public Market

It was a cloudy, dreary day outside when I stepped into the newly restored Dryades Public Market in Central City. I quickly forgot the state of the weather once I had a look around the space, however. The giant market has an open space concept, and everything is gleaming and new. The market is still slowly unveiling different sections, but they still offer an impressive array of items. From the fresh pasta bar and bakery, an oyster bar with beer on tap and a cocktail menu, a produce and deli section, and lots of friendly staff roaming about, the market has something for everyone, and lots of options for folks who love to support local Louisiana products and produce. The market intentionally focuses on providing affordable and local food options for nearby residents. I was overjoyed to discover local products I’d never seen, and was particularly excited about the squash and mushroom selection!

flavored-sugars

Ginger, lavendar, and pecan smoked flavored sugars from La Canne Sugar Products in Lafayette

 

 

 

 

 

 

eggs-dryades

Local eggs from free range chickens on Happy Hen Farm in St. Rose

 

Do you like mushrooms? So far, Dryades Market has the largest selection of local mushrooms that I’ve seen in a grocery store!

mushrooms-dryades

You can choose from portabella, oyster, cremini, or shiitake mushrooms, all from Envie Garlic Farm in Chauvin!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

honey-at-dryades-market

Avoyelles Honey from Moreauville, and raw honey from Capstone in the Lower 9th Ward

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

local-squash-dryades

There’s a decent selection of local squash from Up to Grow Good in Cottonport

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

gator-relish

Gator relish from Creative Cajun Cooking in  St. Amant!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

sacred-earth-granola-bars

They sell four different kinds of the incredible Sacred Earth Granola Bars from Mandeville!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

peppers-and-okra-dryades

During my visit, they had organic red and green okra, Hungarian Antoni sweet peppers, and jalapenos from Inglewood Farm in Alexandria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

popcorn-rice

Popcorn rice from Baker Farms in Gueydan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These items were just some of the local food products they had. I look forward to discovering more local food at their market, as well as at other grocery stores in New Orleans!

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Sep 072016
 

As the much-anticipated autumn season approaches us, garden and farm events are gearing back up once again for new workshops and events. The events calendar for the fall is starting to fill up, and it has something for everyone!

ClassesSouthbound Gardens will be offering their $10-by-donation classes once again, but for the next two months, they’ll be partnering up with Whole Foods and hosting their classes at various Whole Foods locations. SPROUT NOLA will be presenting a gardening class in Spanish on Saturday, September 10th, and they will also host a Family Gardening class in conjunction with the Friends of the Lafitte Greenway on Saturday, September 17th.

Plant sales: There will be three plant sales happening this weekend (Sept. 10th & 11th)! Two of them take place on Saturday morning, and they’re just blocks away from each other so you can easily catch both of them. Recirculating Farms is hosting an end of the summer sale, while Parkway Partner’s monthly Second Saturday event also features a plant sale, along with an educational speaker. Southbound Gardens will be selling their plant starts once again at the Crescent City Farmers Market on Thursday or every other Saturday, or at their Uptown greenhouse every Sunday afternoon.

Volunteering: Volunteer for Veggies, in English or Spanish, at the ReFresh Community Farm in Mid-City! In English: Wednesdays mornings and Friday afternoons (happy hour version!). In Spanish: Tuesday afternoons.

Events: Also on September 10th, the 4th Annual Downriver Festival at the Old U.S. Mint features tastings and lectures on the oyster, and Grow On farm will be hosting a farm party with eats from the farm, music, and drinks. Paradigm Gardens will begin their outdoor garden concert series once again on September 20th, with restaurants Coquette, Patois, and Primitivo cooking from the open kitchen, while Courtyard Brewery, Spirit Wine, and Swamp Pop will be providing libations, and Hansen’s Sno-bliz will be serving up their famous snoballs.

Markets: Be sure to catch one of the Crescent City Farmers Markets on Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday, or attend ReFresh Community Farm Stand on Monday evening.

 

For more information on the time and location of these events, go to the events calender here.

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Jun 292016
 

Every year I look forward to planning the urban farm bike rides for the Eat Local Challenge. There are so many enthusiastic growers in this city, and they are happy to show off their hard work to our participants—even in the June heat (although someone usually grumbles about how their garden “isn’t looking great because it’s June”). And each year, there are new farms and gardens that pop up and are brimming with growth. This year, however, things didn’t go quite according to plan. We made a difficult decision and canceled the bike ride on June 4th due to predicted severe weather. The following day, the storm missed us. Thankfully, most of the farms were available and were so kind to accommodate us and we were able to reschedule for the following Saturday.

The ride began at the Eat Local Challenge headquarters, the Zeitgeist in Central City. Everyone started meeting up around 10 am, and over 30 cyclists took off at 10:30 and headed towards Agrowtopia.

Start at Zeitgeist

Agrowtopia is located on the Xavier University campus in Gert Town. The farm was founded by Xavier students to provide fresh, affordable produce to students, staff, local residents, and the general public. Agrowtopia farmers spoke about the challenges they faced with their shallow beds and soil quality. During the school year, students help them with farm tasks. Agrowtopia has an online store that is updated every Monday afternooon. Customers can select their purchases and arrange a pickup time. The university farm also sells their produce to several restaurants.

flowers agrowtopia

agrowtopia sign

even a dog came

The bike ride had a four-legged participant this year!

lotsa mint

An entire bed of mint

crowd listens sprout nola

Participants gather to listen to Agrowtopia farmers

moth agrowtopia

rescue dog enjoys view

The second stop was at First Grace Community Garden in Mid-City. First Grace is part of First Grace United Methodist Church. Community garden members do not need to be a part of the church to have a plot in the garden.

first grace comm garden sign

flower background comm grace

purple flower comm grace

The gardens were filled with a variety of stunning flowers

community grace gardens

purple kale comm grace

Purple kale

flower berries comm grace

For the third stop, the ride breezed on down the new Lafitte Greenway to the Refresh Community Farm of SPROUT NOLA, which has two garden plots outside of the Whole Foods Market on Broad Street. SPROUT is led by Emily Mickley-Doyle and Faubourg Farms also has a plot on site as well. SPROUT is a teaching farm that has a mission of increasing fresh food access to an area that was previously deemed a food desert. The organization collaborates with the Refresh Project, which is an innovated fresh food hub with several programs that focus on providing affordable and healthy food through community education, training, and events. The farm provides gardening classes for people of all ages, garden plots for community members, farm apprenticeships, as well as a Volunteer for Veggies program. The gardens plant herbs, flowers, and vegetables for community members outside of their fenced gardens. People can harvest the food at any time of the day at no charge. The farm even grows moringa, an incredibly nutritious and resilient plant.

sprout nola sign

sprout nola fence

monarch butterfly

overlooking sprout garden

harvesting guidelines sprout

edamame sprout

flowers with participant in bg

fun purple flower

sprout nola crowd gathers

krewe de lose garden club sprout

butternut squash growing

Butternut squash

moringa tree sprout

moringa

The final stop ended at Southbound Gardens‘ greenhouse in Uptown on S. Robertson St., near Napoleon and Claiborne. Farmers Jordan Bantuelle and Ian Willson sold $1 plant starts that they grow in their greenhouse and told everyone a little bit about their gardens and weekly workshop offerings. Southbound also offers several Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) options.

seedlings southbound

greenhouse all plants

seedlings sprouted

beehive

Ian and Jordan team up with a beekeeper and occasionally sell honey at their garden parties

southbound farmers

Farmers Ian Willson and Jordan Bantuelle pose for a photo with participant Brooke Bullock

Slice served up a delicious all local kale salad with beets, goat cheese, and pecans. Thank you Slice for this incredible salad!

slice local salad

Thank you to everyone who came out to the first urban farm bike ride, and a big thanks goes out to all of the farms who took the time on their Saturday to host us!

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May 162016
 

Why NOLA Farms is thrilled to be involved with the planning process of the urban farm bike rides that the Eat Local Challenge hosts each year, along with volunteers from the NOLA Social Ride. This year will mark our committee’s fourth year of putting on the rides, and will be our sixth and seventh rides in total (each year we do two rides, one at the beginning of June and one at the end, with the exception of last year). Once again, we will be stopping by lots of new farms and gardens for both of the rides, and we are very excited for the rides we have planned for you all!

RIDE #1 – *RESCHEDULED* JUNE 11th (CENTRAL CITY/GERT TOWN/MID-CITY)

Meetup 10:00 AM: Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center (1618 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.)
Depart 10:30 AM

Stop #1 – 11:00 AM: Agrowtopia (1045 S. Genois St.)
Depart 11:30 AM

Stop #2 – 11:45 AM: First Grace Community Garden (3401 Canal St.)
Depart 12:15 PM

Stop #3 – 12:45 PM: ReFresh Community Farm (300 N. Broad St.)
Depart 1:15 PM

End Stop #4 – 1:45 PM: Southbound Gardens (4221 S. Robertson St.)

There will be a light meal at the end, with produce supplied by Hollygrove Farm & Market and food cooked by Slice!

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RIDE #2 – JUNE 25th (MARIGNY/BYWATER/LOWER 9):

9:45 AM: Press Street Gardens (7 Press St.)

Garden Tour at Press Street Gardens Begins at 10:15 AM
Ride Departs 10:45 AM

Stop #1 – 11:15 AM: Owl City Farm
Depart 11:45 AM

Stop #2 – 12:15PM: Garden on Mars
Depart 12:45 PM

Stop #3 – 1:15 PM: Grow On

End Stop #4 – 2:00 PM: Okra Farm (Industrial Ct.)
There will be a party at the end, with a light snack provided. It’s just a short ride from Okra Farm back to Press St.!

As always, we will be passing by and pointing out as many smaller gardens as we can.

Please be prepared, and bring your own supplies! We will have someone driving a truck to carry supplies from stop to stop. Please make sure your bike is in working order, and bring basic repair items such as a tube, pump, wrenches, patch kit, etc. in case of any mechanical issues.

Please note that everyone is individually responsible for safe operation of their bicycles and for following all traffic laws at all times while on public streets. Ample time has been included in the schedule to ensure that everyone can travel at a comfortable pace. Personal safety equipment (helmets and lights) are encouraged. Handouts will be provided at Zeitgeist with a map of all the garden stops, and a live tracker will be posted for anyone that wants to catch up and join at any point!

We look forward to exploring many pockets of local edible flora on our most sustainable, efficient method of travel available: Pedal Power! Come discover a few of our many local urban garden and farms!

Apr 042016
 

Here in New Orleans, we are fortunate to have so many folks who are enthusiastic about urban farming and gardening projects. The only thing is, there are so many different organizations and farms that it is difficult to keep track of them of all! Not any more—our new calendar features all of the events we can find. Whether you’re looking to take a class, attend a plant sale, or go to a fundraiser, you can find it all here! And if you’re putting on an event, we would love to share it with the community! We welcome you to contact us at whynolafarms@gmail.com.

Click here to view the Community Events Calendar!

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