The clanging of the bell reverberates across the shaded parking lot at 2727 Jackson St. signaling that the Alexandria Farmers Market is officially open for business. 

But even though the market officially opens at 3 p.m. every Tuesday, regular market visitors show up early to chat with each other and the vendors. The market is as much a social experience as it is a business.

“It’s experiential. It’s fun to visit with folks,” said Bahia Nightengale, Louisiana Central’s executive director for farm and food. Louisiana Central is the area’s regional economic development organization that sponsors the market which draws visitors and vendors from all over Central Louisiana.

There are about 15 markets in Central Louisiana they are listed on the Louisiana Central website.

“And those are just the ones we are aware of,” she said. “There’s no statewide or state-directed association of markets. There’s no one that reports that information.”

Vicki Paige (left), owner of Bitty Bundts, talks with Susan Dukes and her granchildren, Claudia Detwiler (second from left), Jacob Dukes and Caroline Detwiler at the Alexandria Farmers Market which is held from 3-6 p.m. every Tuesday at 2727 Jackson St.

The surge of local farmers markets is following a national trend, said Audrey Kolde, Alexandria Farmers Market manager. She virtually attended “InTents: The Farmers Market Conference” that brought in experts from across the country who noted the nationwide surge.

“It’s really amazing to see rural farmers markets thriving all the way to big cities that are just bringing that celebration of culture in different ways,” Kolde said,


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