It wasn’t that long ago that eating organic was a niche kind of thing. Convenience was king and farm-to-table restaurants were seen as little more than a trend for diners with big wallets. You might find some novelty snacks at a grocery — or if you had a Whole Foods around and the willingness to spend your whole paycheck.

But eating “organic” is really how we ate for most of human civilization. It shouldn’t be that surprising that there’s a demand for something we’ve had in our cultural DNA for centuries. 

Christiaan’s guests on this edition of Out to Lunch Acadiana both operate homegrown food brands that get back to the roots of how we eat, with a mix of innovation. They’re familiar faces at farmers markets, but landed in the trade at very different points in their lives. 

Hydroponic farmer Larry Lemarie

Hydroponic farmer Larry Lemarie

Larry Lemarie spent most of his life in the oil and gas industry. After he retired, he became a hydroponic farmer. At Cajun Acres Farms in Arnaudville he grows tomatoes and lettuce and kale that he sells at farmers markets. The method is clean, naturally bug free and fast. His basil is in high demand and he’s been struggling to keep up with orders. He’s currently designing and building a version of his hydroponic system to bring to Haiti as a part of a nonprofit mission.

Taylor Stokes, Queen of kale

Taylor Stokes, Queen of kale

Taylor Stokes broke into the organic snack business when she broke her leg. Inspired to find something to munch on that could satisfy her carb cravings without gaining weight, she went vegan and experimented with veggie snacks with Cajun flavor. Out of the lab came Taylormade Eats, a line of kale chips that she launched at local farmer markets. Her chips landed on shelves at Lafayette’s Whole Foods when the organic grocer opened a few years ago. They now stock Taylormade chips at their stores in Houston. 

Larry Lemarie, , Christiaan Mader, Taylor Stokes

Larry Lemarie, , Christiaan Mader, Taylor Stokes

Photos by Jill Lafleur. Here’s some more lunch-table conversation about organic options in Acadiana

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