Every weekend in downtown Leesville, you can find the local farmers' market. This market is full of local vendors from across vernon parish who set up on Saturdays to sell their products.
The space provides a location for vendors of Leesville and beyond to put their wares on display, inviting the community to interact and see just what the local farmers and producers of Vernon Parish have to offer.
“We’ve learned about so many people here just by coming out and interacting with them,” Louise’s Kitchen owner Louise Johnson said. “I had a young woman ask me about my procedure and another young man saying how much he remembers my hot tamales.
“That’s special, it means those people remember me and they remember what I have to offer, from my canned goods to my salsa and then again to those hot tamales.”
Johnson and her husband, Robert, have been making it a mission to return to the Third Street Market as much as they can, setting up every Saturday to interact with the community as well as with the other vendors.
Many of those vendors have had continued business at the Market that spans several years; in the case of Kathy Johnson, she has been keeping a physical presence at the market for approximately eight years.
“I very much enjoy visiting with people, that’s why I come,” Johnson said. “I’m up here every weekend, selling all kinds of good stuff. I’ve got pepper jellies, figs and breads that I hand bake every week, always banana and banana walnut.” Johnson was also keen to share that she prepares cakes every week for the market, preparing a black forest cake for this particular Saturday.
In addition, the Farmers Market saws several other longtime visitors setting up shop this past Saturday.
Chris Richmond, owner of Artemis Gourmet Mushrooms based out of Central Louisiana, offered a full display of the various types of mushrooms he produces.
From shitake mushrooms to Lion’s mane, Richmond has kept a presence in Leesville and the greater Vernon Parish area, selling his individual wares as well as the blocks to allow his buyers to produce their own mushrooms.
Also in attendance was the stand for Las Margaritas, run by Robbie and Joan Santana.
A business that’s been around since 1964, Robbie and Joan keep the name alive at the Third Street Market by canning and selling the special salsa of the restaurant, visiting with many locals who remember the restaurant and hope to keep a part of it with them through the salsa.
William Hoover has been setting up at the Third Street Market for around six years himself, providing the community with all manners of jellies and canned goods.
While he finds great joy in what he does, he finds it unfortunate that not many people know about the goods on display every Saturday.
“The problem has always been advertisement,” Hoover said. “People see that it’s called Third Street Market, they don’t know what’s being offered here every Saturday, so it’s a bit disappointing when there’s not too many people showing up but I think it’s on account of not many people knowing what the set up here is supposed to be.”
The Third Street Market is located in Historic Downtown Leesville, on South 3rd street. The market is open for vendors and for the public on Thursdays from 3:00 - 6:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
If you are interested in selling any homemade items or produce, you must fill out an application located on the leesvillela.gov main website and submit it to City Hall.
You can also contact the Main Street Office at 337-423-5110.