Thursday, August 9, 2012

New Business Promotes Local Produce

New Orleans used to have one of the largest public market systems in the U.S., with farmers routinely selling their produce directly to the consuming public. But public markets across the country have drastically declined in the past 50 years, giving way to supermarkets packed with mass-produced foods. Now a new metro area company called Jack and Jake's aims to revive a focus on fresh, local products by marketing and distributing local foods to stores and restaurants throughout the city.

Jack and Jakes picks up fresh produce from farms and delivers it to local buyers, making it easier for local growers to get their products into area markets, hospitals and schools. Everything that is picked is delivered on the same day.

The business is the brainchild of John Burns, who grew up on the Northshore surrounded by local growers and producers.

"Local growers have a better product that comes at a better price," Burns said. "It's about giving growers a commitment and giving them access to markets. They can produce."

New Orleans has always been a place of food, and Louisiana is a great state for local farmers because of the diversity of food that can be grown here, Burns said. Support for local foods is also growing, Burns said.

C.C. Gaiennie has owned his own farm for almost a decade, which was certified as organic in 2004. He grows blueberries, apples, figs and much more on the Northshore. Being a certified organic farm means he doesn't use chemicals on the produce he grows.

"We're not a conventional farm," he said. "You have to love this business otherwise you wouldn't be in it."

Gaiennie said the only places people can get local products are the farmers' markets. He used to take his product to the farmers' market but stopped because he felt he was wasting food. Anything that he picked and didn't sell that day had to be thrown out because he refuses to ship day-old produce.

"We want it to hit the store fresh, with our name on it," he said. "We're proud of what we do, we have a unique operation."

Large chain grocery stores buy items in bulk, pounds at a time.

"Everything is in such volume," Gaiennie said. "That's not where the quality is."

As a result, he doesn't see local food in grocery stores.

"It's a win-win for the producers to have more distribution points," he said. "It opens up marketplaces and brings in income."

You can read the full article by DiAngelea Millar published at You can also go to the Jack and Jake website.

Image from Jack and Jakes website

No comments:

Post a Comment