BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - On two Tuesdays in May, the ExxonMobil YMCA on Howell Boulevard in North Baton Rouge hosts a spread of local grown fruits and veggies sold by the farmers who grow them.
The Red Stick Mobile Farmers Market is adding a new location and later shopping hours to better accommodate work schedules.
The Exxon YMCA makes the fifth location for the popular "pop-up" market, featuring local in-season produce. Blue Cross Blue Shield and the Mayor Kip Holden's Healthy City Campaign are major sponsors, meaning these mobile markets are set up in accessible locations.
Mobile Markets already in action are:
The Exxon YMCA fits into this lineup by starting the schedule each week on Tuesday.
The first month of the market at the Y on 7717 Howell Boulevard is a test-run, so there will be only two markets in May: May 5th (the grand opening), and May 19th. If all goes well, there will be markets every week just like the other locations starting in June.
The May 5th rollout was with a little fanfare Farmer's Market Style…The John Gray Jazz band, a market favorite, performed, with Zumba dance demonstrations by the YMCA, cooking demonstrations by Chef Celeste Gill of Louisiana Treasures, and Emanuel Andrews will offer healthy eating and nutrition tips from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center.
It's important to note that many forms of payment are accepted in this mobile markets, SNAP/EBT, WIC, Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Coupons, credit and debit cards.
Copper Alvarez, director of BREADA, the organization that runs the Red Stick Farmers and Main Street Markets, says the mobile markets are seasonal because Louisiana crops are seasonal. So there are a few months in the winter when local farmers are frozen out and do not reap the bounty from their fields. The markets are responsive to the supply-side of the produce stream and so there may be days when the market is in hiatus.
Alvarez says the active seasons usually begin in Mid-April and continue through mid-August, and then from Mid-September through December.