Push to bring more produce, seafood to French Market - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Push to bring more produce, seafood to French Market

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New Orleans, La. - Brad Collins opened French Market produce five years ago, setting up big, colorful displays of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Then he had to cut back.

"Probably at least twice a day, somebody local comes up and says, 'What happened to all the produce?'" he says. "I say, 'Well, when was the last time you came down here?' And they always say the same thing, 'Oh it's been years and years and years.' You just answered your own question.

Now there's a new push to bring fresh food back to the 200-year old market.

A new executive director took charge last month.

Jon Smith says he would like to see more produce and seafood, making the market a place where people can purchase many of their groceries.

"We probably can't make it exactly how it used to be because we all do our grocery shopping at stores now comparatively," says marketing director Amy Kirk. "But people do like the ritual of coming down to get fresh items and make groceries so we do want to at least bring back, at the very least, a once-a-week fresh produce market."

Kirk believes there's a lot of interest in fresh, local food here.

The market on Sunday hosted the first Satsuma Celebration, honoring the fruit found across the area.

Cynthia Portera remembers the French Market of her childhood.

Her father used to sell produce here.

"It was just all fruits and vegetables and it was an experience coming out here with my daddy," she says.

Portera now sells Italian cookies at the market and believes more fresh food would bring more shoppers.

"I think it would be great, it'd be great to see the place with a little bit of the character that it used to have," she says.

Collins watched other attempts at fresh markets here fail.

He hopes the idea will work this time but that will take changing shopping habits, he says.

"That's what we hear everyday. People want fresh seafood, they want all the produce back and they want everything and we're here to give it to them but they just gotta come get it."

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