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Loyola University-sponsored Crescent City Farmers Market Marks fifth anniversary October 7, 2000

Loyola press release - September 27, 2000

On Saturday, October 7, 2000, give the pie lady a hug! Congratulate the satsuma people. Celebrate with the organizers of the Crescent City Farmers Market because on that day, the Loyola University-sponsored market turns five years old.

What began in the autumn of 1995 as a place for a dozen truck farmers and community gardeners to hawk their produce directly to urban foodies has since grown into a full fledged local institution that serves as a national model. Moreover, the Saturday Market at 700 Magazine Street has borne fruit -- a Tuesday Market at Uptown Square, located at 200 Broadway.

The market has incubated 22 new businesses, pumped new life into old ones and rewarded the hard work of small farmers and fishers who showcase the freshest products in town.

In five years, the market has grown steadily with widespread support from business leaders like William B. Reily Company who owns the mural-lined parking lot at 700 Magazine Street, and Zapp's Chips who provides the shopping bags. Support has also been forthcoming from high profile restaurant chefs, like Jamie Shannon of Commander's Palace, Susan Spicer of Bayona, and Frank Brigtsen of Brigtsens; from City Hall; and from New Orleanians who generally live to eat.

Strawberry farmer Henry Amato of Independence, La., exclaims, "Wow, five years, and what a great ride it's been." Amato has reason to celebrate. Five years ago, the little mom and pop winery in Tanigpahoa Parish had difficulty getting its wines onto store shelves. By using the Crescent City Farmers Market as a gateway to New Orleans retail opportunities, today Henry's operation has grown: "With exposure from the market and their help I am making nine different kinds of wine, and shipping over 150,000 cases of blueberry wine all the way to Japan."

The Saturday and Tuesday Markets’ combined now average over 65 small-scale farmers, fishermen, community gardeners, food producers and over 2,000 shoppers each week. The farmers are now coming from three states and fishing families from all over southeast Louisiana.

In a June 1999 economic impact study conducted by students at the A.B Freeman School of Business at Tulane University, it reveals that the Saturday morning market generates over $1 million in direct economic impact benefiting market vendors and downtown businesses, thus creating a new vision of regional cooperation.

As described by co-founder Sharon Litwin, who conceptualized the market with Warehouse District resident John Abajian and market director Richard McCarthy in 1995, "We wished to create a village green that would bring life to downtown, reward food producers for the hard work and innovation, and provide a welcoming atmosphere for all of us who live for food in New Orleans."

Vendors will be out in full force with the finest offerings of the autumn harvest, with everything from the first satsumas and lettuces of the fall to the freshest oysters and soft shell crabs.

Festivities include:

  • 8 a.m. music from the Tony Green & Gypsy Jazz Trio. Their appearance at the Market will be their first appearance in the U.S. after months abroad in Venice, Italy.
  • 10 a.m. a very special cooking demonstration focusing on using a number of the just harvested fall crops from the Market by Chef Emanuel Loubier of Dante’s Kitchen
  • 11 a.m. gigantic sacher tort birthday cake from Croissant d’Or for all to enjoy.

The Crescent City Farmer Markets’ Saturday Market is open Saturday mornings, 8 a.m. until 12 noon at 700 Magazine Street, and the Tuesday Market is open 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., at 200 Broadway in the Uptown Square shopping center. All events are free and open the public and the markets are always open rain or shine. For more information, contact the vegetable hotline at 861-5898, visit the web page at www.crescentcityfarmersmarekt.org or email us at ecoinst@loyno.edu.

Based on the heritage of Catholic Jesuit higher education in Louisiana since 1849, Loyola University New Orleans was chartered in 1912. Today, the university serves approximately 5,550 undergraduate and graduate students. The university is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.