Nine years ago, Central residents Kacie and Derek Luckett leased Derek’s grandfather’s land from Derek’s aunt and started farming. “We actually started at our house in Central on Denham Road,” Kacie said, “We plowed the back yard.”
After three years, the Lucketts purchased the land from Derek’s aunt and continued farming and selling their produce at the farmer’s market in Zachary, despite initial difficulties generating an income. In addition to produce, the 30-acre Luckett Farms also includes cattle, from which they sell grass-fed beef.
Four years ago, the Lucketts started their CSA - Community Supported Agriculture – box. A CSA box provides a means for a community member to invest in local farmers and truly know where their food is coming from and how their food is farmed.
The Lucketts offer a prepay CSA program which allows farmers to begin each season debt free.
“We deliver a box of vegetables every week,” Kacie said, “CSA is community supporting us, and in turn we’re giving them vegetables where they know how they’re grown and where they’re grown.”
The CSA boxes are not only for households, but also offices and hospitals. The Luckett CSA is available for delivery or pickup, Monday through Friday. If you would like to sign up for a Luckett Farms CSA box, click here.
In addition to the CSA boxes, the Luckets also attend the Red Stick Farmer’s Market. “I go to the one on Tuesday at Goodwood from 8-12 and Thursday at Pennington 8-12,” Kacie said, “And then Derek and I usually go to the one on Saturday Downtown from 8-12.”
Luckett Farm has recently been licensed for agrotourism which farm based operation that attracts and invites visitors onto their farm.
“My kids go to St. Alphonus, and they’ve had a couple of field trips out here. They’ve picked strawberries and pulled turnips,” Kacie said, “It’s really important to educate the younger generation and also our generation about where our food comes from and what goes into it.”
Kacie stressed the importance of fully understanding what goes into the farming process. She noted that while Luckett Farm is open to the public, it is difficult to meet with people when appointments are not scheduled.
During each season, however, the Lucketts have a ‘Farm Day,’ during which time, the public is invited to come explore the farm and its processes.
Due to the high cost of certification and the mountain of paperwork required to complete and logistical issues, many local farms have difficulty gaining organic certification. “It’s very costly to get the organic title,” Kacie said, “It takes years.”
Despite their lack of certification, Kacie said, “I can’t tell you that we’re organic, but integrative pest management is pretty close.”
Though they have not sprayed pesticides in a few seasons, the Lucketts use only certified organic chemicals when they do.
“You have to give and take because we live in South Louisiana, and we have bugs here,” Kacie said, “So it’s a lot easier to do organic practices in other places, like California, where the climate’s different.”
The Lucketts use H-2A labor. Though they tried American labor, Kacie described various struggles from lack of work ethic to theft. “You have to love what you do,” she said emphatically. The H-2A workers travel home in the summertime and send money back to Mexico throughout the year. The previous year, the Lucketts only had 3 H-2A workers. With double as many workers now, Kacie noted the workload is better spread out between the six men. She also remarks how well the H-2A labor workers have settled into life at Luckett Farms. “They live on the farm. They’re pretty much part of my family. My kids play basketball with them, and one of them cut my son’s hair the other day.”
According to Kacie, the Lucketts roadside stand should be opening at their house in Central on Denham Road sometime this week or next. For more information on Luckett Farms, see their website here.