St. Isidore’s Garden making it easy for people to eat healthy in Avoyelles Parish
Most of us want to eat healthy, but often life gets in the way and we reach for what’s easiest...which isn’t always the healthiest. St. Isidore’s Garden in Avoyelles Parish is trying to change that, making it easier for people to buy fresh, healthy foods. “That’s Red Cherokee. This is a New Red Fire. That’s a kind of romaine,” says retired nurse Judy Deshautelle as she shows off her garden.
Deshautelle spends her mornings in the 1700 square foot garden in her backyard that she calls ‘St. Isidore's Garden’, after the patron saint of farmers and rural communities. The garden initially started out as a way for her to stay active in retirement, waking up early every morning to plow, plant, and harvest before she takes a nap and drinks her coffee. However, Deshautelle’s micro farm has recently turned into something bigger- what she calls a hobby-business.
Deshautelle's fresh produce is the very first available for purchase online, in Fresh Central's virtual farmer's market. Customers go to the site to see what she has in her garden, add it to the online shopping cart, and prepay for the produce. Then, Deshautelle heads out to her garden to harvest the orders. She then washes the veggies by hand, and lovingly packages them up. "Mom's really do want to feed their children healthy food. So when they find out about me they're like, where have you been?" says Deshautelle.
Customers simply stop by the farm later that day, where she's usually waiting on the driveway for people to pick up their orders without even getting out of the car. "I like to cater to the busy millennial mom,” she adds.
In a place where it's often easier to reach for a bowl of gumbo or something fried, Deshautelle says she takes pride in sustainably growing fresh, healthy food for her community. “It's such a wonderful stress reliever. I love to take a seed and germinate it. Then I love to transplant it and watch it grow. It makes you appreciate and thank God for all the blessings he gives you. It doesn't take much to make people happy,” says Deshautelle.
She also takes orders on her Facebook page here:
Fresh Central online farmer’s market: