Downtown Mid-week Markets begin today in Parc Sans Souci, bringing the sundries of the Lafayette Farmers and Artisans Market at the Horse Farm to the organic food desert of central Lafayette. The inaugural Wednesday market begins a four month series of weekly appearances Downtown, in collaboration with the Downtown Lafayette Restaurant and Bar Association.
Opening this week times well with National Farmers Market Week, and promises to have plenty to offer nearby residents despite beginning between harvest seasons. The idea to make a temporary sojourn downtown arose from residents noting their love of Mid-week Markets at the Horse Farm (read: they don’t have to get up so early) but having difficulty accessing it from the more northerly latitudes of Johnston Street. Moving the Wednesday version of the market to Downtown, even if only temporarily, fills a convenience and access need for the kale and arugula crowd that populates the older center of Lafayette in higher numbers.
“It’s not that easy to get to the Horse Farm. There’s no grocery store Downtown but plenty of Downtown residents,” says market manager Molly Richard. “We thought it would be a great way to create a solution to that problem.”
To sweeten the pot, each week will feature a mystery gift card to a Downtown or nearby restaurant, hidden with one of the market vendors. All ye seekers need do is purchase wares from the undeclared and random-chosen market booth to unlock the hidden bounties. Fortune’s repast will be your reward. This week’s golden ticket is to chicken biscuit paradise Rusted Rooster on St. Landry, across from the LCG reichstag and debate bunker.
While it’s not quite a pilot program for a permanent spot amid the fountains, the gazebo and the' “LAFA ETTE” sign, market manager Molly Richard says community involvement could certainly help convince vendors to stick around past the end of the year.
“In peak seasons it's really great to have a secondary market,” says Richard. “Staying there [beyond 2015] really depends on whether or not the community supports it. We’d love to be downtown, and we think it's a perfect fit.”
Downtown Mid-Week Markets will convene each Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. for the next four months at Parc Sans Souci.