What the Bayou Taught Me about Food in Minnesota

12 Sep

When I volunteered in Louisiana last year I was expecting it to be hot as hell – that didn’t come as a surprise. What did come as a surprise, however, was how different my weekly grocery shopping trip turned out to be.

Gone were the misting shelves filled with fresh, beautiful fruits and vegetables. Instead, the produce was on the verge of (if not literally) rotting.

Every week I would repeat the same cruel routine. I would walk into the produce section of Albertson’s Grocery, head for the vegetable displays, and sigh longingly at the two bunches of dried-out, browning leeks that had most likely been sitting there since I last visited.

I wondered, Why is the produce so terrible here? Shouldn’t it be better since the growing season is so much longer? I eventually settled on the hypothesis that produce in Louisiana, for the most part, is worse because people don’t eat vegetables.

Less Demand = Less Turnover = Less Freshness

Fellow Minnesotans, thanks for eating fresh food. I appreciate YOU.

My immediate reaction was to scour the city in search of a co-op, which proved to be wholly futile. Apparently those don’t exist in Louisiana. Silly me.

Other Fun Facts about Food in the Bayou

  • If you ask a grocery store clerk where the sauerkraut is they will look at you like you just requested the most direct bus route to the moon
  • Crawfish season is actually a season of competitive eating involving ripping apart a swamp-creature carcass and sucking the brain juices out of its head
  • During certain seasons, the Baton Rouge Farmer’s Market pretty much sells okra exclusively, which, according to locals, is best prepared by frying it for an extended period of time with some water in a pan “until the sliminess goes away for the most part”

A Beautiful Saturday, an Appreciation of Minnesota and St. Paul

Bouquets at the St. Paul Farmer’s Market

Produce from the St. Paul Farmer’s Market

Mears Park, St. Paul

Mears Park, St. Paul

How could one possibly take a lone stroll in the park without a little existential literature?

My Spoils


Have you ever seen such a gigantic deek.. er, I mean, leek

Neighbors, Family, Strangers, and Loved Ones: Take advantage of the amazing co-ops, grocery stores, and farmer’s markets while you still can, because one day you may find yourself staring at a wall of okra under the merciless beating of the hot Louisiana sun with nowhere to run.


Do tell.

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