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By LouisianaTravel.com Staff
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Farmers market in in Covington
With the year-around growing season in south Louisiana, farmers markets are abundant.

You don’t need to drive to New Orleans for a great meal.  In fact, much of the beautiful food showcased in New Orlean's best restaurants came from Northshore farms. St. Tammany Parish’s rich culinary scene starts with the farmers and continues with the beekeepers, the bakers, the confectioners, the brewers, the mom-and-pop seafood shops, po-boy stands, and, of course, our accomplished, passionate chefs.

Great food starts with fresh local ingredients, and Northshore chefs depend on the beautiful produce grown by locals like Nick Usner of GROW Farms in Bush. Usner sells to area restaurants and to foodie locals at New Orleans and Covington farmers markets.  He is an experienced farmer and passionate, articulate spokesman on the subject of farm-to-table.  His cultivated gardens northeast of Covington are home to a variety of organically grown vegetables (Chinese long beans, heirloom tomatoes, and tender baby squash) grown without pesticides and with pride.

There are farmers markets all over the Northshore.

Find farmers Markets in Covington and Mandeville, Folsom and Slidell, each giving growers a chance to showcase the abundance of the region. Covington’s market is the largest, held twice a week, on Wednesdays and Sundays.  It features a bounteous spread of locally grown produce (Satsuma oranges, greens, Creole and heirloom tomatoes, mirlitons and much more), as well as regional specialty prepared foods (stuffed artichokes redolent of garlic, tender tamales, the world’s best fig cookie), reflecting the area’s rich and varied ethnic heritage.  Discover Creole cream cheese from Mauthe’s Dairy, awarded the first “Ark of Taste” designation from the Slow Food Movement USA.

Chefs like Keith and Nealy Frentz (crowned the King and Queen of Louisiana Seafood) love to use Louisiana products and local produce from St. Tammany growers in many of their dishes.  You’ll find their charming renovated train depot restaurant, LOLA,  in historic downtown Covington, a short walk from the Covington farmers market.  Celebrity chef John Besh of Food Network fame cooks with produce and herbs from his own kitchen garden at La Provence in Lacombe.

Explore Louisiana’s Northshore and St. Tammany Parish by enjoying fine dining at restaurants resplendent with fresh ingredients and local produce. It’s where soulful food reflects tradition, heritage and hearty appetites.  Come hungry - there’s a place at the table waiting for you.

Get more information on the culinary scene and farmers markets in St. Tammany Parish, log onto LouisianaNorthshore.com/ltpa.