Local farmers offer product alternatives as supply issues persist

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) – Supply chain issues are still affecting grocery store shelves and prices, which is why some people are choosing to shop at local farmers’ markets.

Joe Simmons of Baton Rouge said there’s no such thing as fresh produce.

“We make it a point to come to the market every weekend we are in town, certainly on Saturdays. It’s such an important part of the week for us,” Simmons explained.

Simmons said he and his wife shop for seasonal produce from the Red Stick Farmers Market in downtown Baton Rouge. They know what will be available from local farmers, and that’s why they don’t always have to go to the grocery store, wondering if they’ll find what they need.

“Well, that’s the only thing we don’t have to worry about here. Our farmers work in the fields every day to provide us with wonderful fresh produce,” added Simmons.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the pandemic is affecting grocery store shelves and prices, but it’s not really affecting local farmers.

“No matter what happens at that time, you know we’re always planting something. We’re always picking something. Right now we’re entering strawberry season,” explained William Fletcher, owner of Fletcher Farm.

Fletcher is known for its vegetables and fresh strawberries. This year, he is expecting a good strawberry season and is keen to remind customers that he will always be in stock, even when the grocery store is not.

“You know, we always try to pick something and sell it at the market. You know, there’s a lot of talk about supply chain issues and products getting stuck offshore in container ships. I am the supply chain. We picked it up from my house yesterday, put it in my truck this morning, and brought it here and put it in their hands today,” Fletcher added.

So sometimes buying locally can be healthier and cheaper. That’s why local farmers like Fletcher hope to see buyers like Simmons keep coming.

The Red Stick Farmers Market is open every Thursday between 8 p.m. and 12 p.m. behind the Pennington Biomedical Research Center. The market will also be in the city center every Saturday from 8 p.m. to 12 p.m.

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