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.

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!

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!



Oct 182016

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!


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








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!


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










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










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










Gator relish from Creative Cajun Cooking in  St. Amant!










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










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










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!


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.


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!


Feb 152016

Every Monday from 4-7 pm at the Whole Foods Market on Broad Street in Mid-City, the ReFresh Community Garden hosts a farm stand where you can purchase vegetables and locally produced food items. The ReFresh Project, SPROUT NOLA, and Faubourg Farms are all selling vegetables that are harvested the same day from the ReFresh Community Gardens and another garden in Mid-City. At this small market, you can meet your farmer and your food producer.

From the left: Community gardener Lexa, Emily from ReFresh and SPROUT NOLA, and mentor farmer Monte from Faubourg Farms

From the left: Community gardener Lexa, Emily from ReFresh and SPROUT NOLA, and mentor farmer Monte from Faubourg Farms

Faubourg Farms offered free salad samples of “Mom’s Dressing,” along with komatsuna pesto samples, while community gardener Lexa offered shoppers asian pickles and daikon kimchi samples. Lexa plans to sell different kimchis and pickles as her vegetable harvests change with the seasons. SPROUT NOLA and the ReFresh Community Farm had many greens and other veggies for sale this week–and at a very reasonable price!






Feb 112015






Rutabaga is far from popular these days. No one talks much about the root vegetable rutabaga. Instead, rutabaga lingers on the shelves, while eager customers quickly snatch up the trendy, more attractive kale leaves. But rutabaga deserves so much more, and not just because it’s a fun word to say.

A cross between turnips and cabbage, rutabaga is packed full of vitamins – especially in vitamin C and A. An excellent alternative to the potato, rutabagas offer fewer carbohydrates, although potatoes still contain more nutrients. If you boil both potatoes and rutabagas and combine them in a mash, you may find yourself fighting your family for seconds.

Baked Rutabaga Fries






Two large rutabagas
1 tbsp pecan oil
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp of fresh or 1/2 tbsp dried thyme and rosemary
Additional favorite spices*

1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
2. Wash and peel rutabagas. Slice into french fry shapes.
3. Toss rutabaga fries with enough pecan oil to coat. Add salt, herbs, and whatever else you like and mix until fries are evenly seasoned.
4. Place fries on cookie sheet covered with aluminum foil or parchment paper and cook for 20-25 minutes.
5. Use with your favorite condiment and enjoy!

Note that the fries will not turn out as crispy as potato fries do, but they are still tasty!

*Hollygrove now stocks cayenne pepper, hot lemon pepper, and jalapeno spices from Klein & Sons

Feb 092015

Why NOLA Farms is officially back after a long hiatus! Since we believe in eating locally year-round, we will be featuring many more local recipes with every season. Our focus will be on using all-local ingredients, although we will also post recipes that include some non-local ingredients (because who enjoys flat baked goods?). Thanks for reading and we look forward to posting a lot more!

Jul 092014

Over 25 participants braved the heat of the summer on Sunday, June 29, to attend an urban farm bike ride adventure to the Westbank. Riders began meeting up for the ride at the Zeitgeist (1618 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd) at 11 a.m. and departed at noon to make the 12:30 p.m. ferry across the river to Algiers.

Participants gather at the Zeitgeist before the ride

Participants gather at the Zeitgeist before the ride

bikers on ferry

Riders wait for the Algiers ferry to arrive

The first of the three gardens the group toured was the Federal City Community Garden (400 Guadalcanal St.). Garden members were kind enough to provide refreshing flavored water, tomatoes,  and non-alcoholic mojitos to participants.


The Federal City Community Garden was established about a year ago at the former decommissioned Navy base in Algiers. Master gardener Cynthia Metcalf would pass by the abandoned, decrepit tennis courts nearly everyday which she called an “eyesore.”  With 2,000 residents in Federal City who had nowhere to garden, she began to think about the possibility of utilizing the space for gardening. While some folks thought her idea was out there, she went for it. With a Home Depot grant and a donation from the Master Gardeners of Lousiana, she was able to obtain cinder blocks and soil for the garden.


Cynthia Metcalf explains the history of the garden to participants



Today, the garden has 23 growers. Half of the garden beds are occupied by military families and the other half by Westbank residents. Two of the beds are owned by the military school and police.
“It’s been great for the community,” said Metcalf. “It’s really brought people together.”
As participants explored the many garden beds, entire families were at the garden for the event to show off their hard work. Huge bushes of basil and flowers filled a few beds to the brim, while other garden beds had flowering okra plants and various hot peppers growing. This year, they are trying to grow their own popcorn.
“I’ve heard growing your own can be compared to the difference between Hershey’s and Godiva chocolate,” explained Metcalf with a chuckle.


Purple and green basil


Flowering okra plants



Visitors are invited to join the garden



For only $20 a year, you can lease a garden bed, which includes all plants and seeds in the price. Metcalf was proud to note that the garden is growing “too much food!” Her motto is, “grow food, not lawns.”

Urban Farm Bike Tour participants pose outside of the Federal City Community Garden

Urban Farm Bike Tour participants pose outside of the Federal City Community Garden

The next stop on the tour was the Magellan Street Garden (3320 Magellan Street, Algiers). Lead gardener Tony Lee welcomed participants with a big smile as they parked their bicycles in the designated “Bike Parking” area across the street.
“I almost didn’t want to host you all because I wanted to join the bike tour myself,” said Lee with a chuckle.

DSC_3948 (1)


Lead gardener Tony Lee

Raw vegan chef Dominique Bachemin was on-site preparing green smoothies with various produce including mustard greens, kale, dates, mint, and banana.


Raw Vegan Chef Dominique Bachemin


Pineapples growing in one of the beds


One of two ponds inside the garden


Participants in the tour were fortunate to have LaFiets, a custom-built beverage bicycle, join them along for the ride. LaFiets provided riders with free lemonade and ice tea, and they also captured a time lapse video of the entire event.




The third stop on the tour brought riders into Algiers Point, at Algiers-Behrman Community Garden (615 Opelousas Ave.). The gardeners set out watermelon for participants to enjoy as they wandered past the chickens, garden beds, and vertical growing set-ups. A few of the gardeners who have plots came out in the hot heat to chat with everyone, although they normally operate on such different schedules they rarely ever see each other. One gardener tends to the chickens while another manages empty plots.






With the ferry just a short ride away, riders quickly headed over to the terminal to catch the 4:45 p.m. ferry in time. The ride ended at the Eat Local Challenge finale party at Pistil & Stamen Flower Farm and Studio (1226 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd). Participants and Eat Local Challengers feasted on grilled shrimp and squid, raccoon po-boys, local cocktails, and rosemary ice cream.




Raccoon po-boy

Everyone who attended the ride had a blast – many thanks go out to all of the gardens that were involved, the Eat Local Challenge, LaFiets, and the NOLA Social Ride. For further information about the gardens and the people behind them, view the article below: