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SATW Fam Tour – Farm to Table


On Friday, February 12th, the Natchitoches Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau had a Media FAM tour entitled, “A Farm to Table Experience” hosting three travel writers associated with the Society of American Travel Writers. The travel writers were Peter Wilson of Saskatoon, Canada; Jason Frye of Wilmington, North Carolina; and Terry Gardner of Santa Monica, California. All three are freelance writing for various publications across North America.

Madeline DeBlieux, Marketing and Public Relations Manager, led the tour which began with a visit to Little Eva Pecan Plantation. Owner, Mark Swanson told the history of the plantation and described how pecans are harvested, afterwards there was a tasting of pecans and pecan treats.

A tour of Melrose Plantation was next on the agenda where the writers learned much about Clementine Hunter and how Melrose became an artist retreat with the assistance of Cammie Henry.

Lunch was enjoyed in the garconniere at Melrose and comprised of a fresh salad, mini meat pies and crawfish pies followed by a taste treat of homemade peach cobbler.

The writers were able to walk off lunch at St. Augustine Catholic Church and Cemetery and then Oakland Plantation. Peter, Jason, and Terry were able to visit Clementine’s gravesite and then learn more about creole culture and farming life at Oakland.

The tour then made its way to downtown Natchitoches where they toured the Louisiana State Museum. They were overwhelmed by the architecture of the building and amazed by all the interesting exhibits inside. Afterwards, a stroll through Beau Jardin and down Front Street ensued with a last minute stop at Louisiana Purchase for a fudge and praline tasting! Dinner was then held at Bon Ami where the writers were entertained by live music and dined on delicious artisanal cuisine.

“Besides experiencing absolutely gorgeous weather, Friday was a great day to be in Natchitoches and showcasing all we have to offer to those who visit. The writers loved the cuisine and the history of Natchitoches parish and our city. Peter Wilson loved downtown and Cane River Lake; he commented it reminded him of Holland with the river flowing through our town! Personally, I am looking forward to seeing upcoming articles and editorials on Natchitoches and our delicious cuisine.” – Madeline DeBlieux