new Things I Ate in Cambodia: The Indian Spring Farmer's Association

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Indian Spring Farmer's Association

Farmer's Market Profiles

The Indian Springs Farmer's Association!!

The Indian Springs Farmer's Association folks bring a fascinating array of native Louisiana products to market. You're guaranteed to run into a fruit, vegetable, or legume that you've never heard of before at this stall, be they pink peas, different varieties of muscadine grapes, and passion-fruit like maypops.I've very much enjoyed sampling fruits and vegetables I'd never heard of before via their stall: there's something different on offer every weekend. Just the way seasonal eating should be.

The Indian Spring Farmer's Association booth has got an incredible variety of crops on hand, and the assortment changes constantly. A healthy selection of greens includes collards, mustards, kale, turnip greens and spinach. They've also got bags of boiled peanuts, earthy field peas, cut fresh okra, and squash. Many customers can't get enough of their bags of blow-your-head off multicolored hot peppers. Indeed, they're some of the most fetchingly jewel-like produce at the Saturday market, little mega-hot wonders. The Associations has just finished up or is about to finish up with their huge watermelons, but sweet potatoes were on hand at last Saturay's market. (Start getting those Thanksgiving recipes ready!) Broccoli and brussel sprouts will emerge in the springtime.

Multi-colored habaneros. Yum.

The Indian Springs Farmers Association sellers hail from Petal, Mississippi, and drive down to NOLA every Saturday to sell their stuff. They represent a 42 member vegetable marketing cooperative, an unusual group that handles the produce of six different African-American Mississippi growers. The cooperative set-up allows farmers to negotiate better prices and engage in collective marketing practices. Each member owns shares in the coop and must pay a mere dollar to join in, ensuring the take home of maximum profits. heir reach extends further then NOLA: the Indian Spring's Farmer's Association's produce is sent as far as Chicago and Boston.

Holy God, it sure is squash season.

The coop began in 1979 as an effort to fight back against white brokers who paid African American farmers less then white farmers for the same crops, using "white prices" and "black prices" for commodities. The Association and other co-pops like it have been success ever since.
Indeed, thehe Indian Springs Association recently became a member of the 35-coop strong Federation of Southern Cooperatives, which represents African American farmers from Texas to North Carolina. Check out the Federation of Southern Cooperatives website to find out how you can help promote cooperatives and help small farmers hold onto their land in the process.

A great cause, drop-dead gorgeous produce, and a couple of truly nice sellers. Fact is,you can't pass up the Indian Spring's Farmer's Association Inc. Go grab some chilis, some field peas, some collards and make something good next weekend.

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