Thursday, July 4, 2013 / 9:12 AM
For many, visiting a farmers' market is a staple in their weekly schedules—but not just for stocking the pantry. Rather, it's a time to come together to socialize and celebrate the place they call home. “Farmers' markets are unique in that they represent the communities they’re located in,” says Deborah Henderson, market manager for the Clayton Farmers' Market. “In the homogenization of communities with chain restaurants and chain stores, farmers' markets work to maintain what’s unique about [the town].” Here are just 10 markets across the region that are worth checking out:
Clayton Farmers' Market
Brown Shoe parking lot, 8300 Maryland, 314-913-6632
You’ll find everything from olive oil to goat’s-milk soap, made-to-order waffles (courtesy of Waffle-licious) to handmade jewelry every Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Clayton Farmers' Market. When local chefs aren’t dishing out their culinary secrets via cooking demonstrations, the 40ish vendors are sharing recipes to encourage shoppers to cook with local ingredients. “Clayton really emphasizes the relationship between the locally grown food and what’s done with that food after the market-goer buys it,” Henderson says. “It’s just not enough to say ‘farm to table’ because sometimes there’s a big gap there, and that gap is filled at the farmers' market."
Farmers' Market at The Cheshire
7036 Clayton, 314-932-7840
The Farmers' Market at The Cheshire, running every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon, is a foodie’s delight. The market features ingredients from the menu at The Cheshire, as well as cocktail demonstrations, recipes, and the occasional acoustic performance. And because it’s on private property, shoppers can browse with a glass of wine in hand.
North City Farmers' Market
Intersection of N. 14th and St. Louis, across from Crown Candy Kitchen, 314-241-5031
Now in its seventh season, running every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the North City Farmers' Market includes about 20 booths containing baked goods, barbecue sauce, fresh produce, local artwork, and more. The market also offers free health screenings, childrens' activities, and live music. “A lot of the North Side is often seen as a food desert,” says Claire Wolff, community-engagement specialist for Old North St. Louis Restoration Group. “We’d like to get past that and show that we do have options here.”
Schlafly Farmers' Market
7260 Southwest, 314-241-2337 x2
Schlafly Bottleworks hosts a full-fledged farmers' market with nearly 40 vendors year-round. There, you’ll find coffees, meats, beans, fruits, veggies, eggs, breads, and more. The brewery even keeps a blog about the company’s green efforts, including its solar roof. Every Wednesday from 4 to 7 p.m., Schlafly invites St. Louisans to its Bottleworks location in Maplewood for a night of music, local food and, of course, beer. And when the summer sun fades, the market moves indoors for a Winter Market, held one Saturday per month.
Soulard Farmers' Market
730 Carroll, 314-622-4180
The city's oldest farmers' market spans more than two blocks in Soulard and features products from more than 80 vendors. Beyond food, you’ll find everything from handbags to area rugs, pet supplies to Cardinals gear. Inside the Grand Hall, there’s a florist, spice shop, bakery, and snack stand. The market is open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Fridays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Tower Grove Park Farmers' Market
Tower Grove Park, 4256 Magnolia, 314-771-2679
Nestled in Tower Grove Park, this market’s urban-forest setting sets it apart from other markets. Every Saturday morning from 8 a.m. to noon, about 50 vendors meet under a canopy of sycamores, cypresses, and oaks. They offer a veritable bounty of berries, baked goods, meats, cheeses, and rare veggie varieties (not to mention ready-to-eat treats). Since its inception eight seasons ago, the Tower Grove Park Farmers' Market has also been hosting free yoga at 9 a.m. The class started with only 20 people, but it now sometimes hosts approximately 200, says Tower Grove Park Farmers' Market co-founder Patrick Horine. And from 10 a.m. to noon, KDHX Community Media hosts live bluegrass and country bands in the park.
Webster Groves Farmers' Market
Gazebo Park, at the intersection of Big Bend and S. Old Orchard, 314-963-5696 x5888
Webster Groves Farmers' Market, based at Gazebo Park in Webster Groves' Old Orchard shopping district, has only been around for three years, but the atmosphere is unmatched. Shoppers can buy artisanal goat cheese from Baetje Farms, sweet empanadas from El Chico Bakery, gourmet dips from Mamacita’s, and more. And as patrons peruse, they can enjoy live music, cooking demonstrations from local chefs, and kid-friendly activities. The market is held every Thursday from 3 to 6:30 p.m., and runs from May through October.
Cherokee Street International Market
2647 Cherokee, 314-265-5140
The Cherokee Street International Market, held Fridays from 4 to 7 p.m., supports not only the city’s locavore movement, but also diversity, offering food that's locally grown by immigrants and youth farmers in the neighborhood. Approximately 12 vendors sell everything from Asian greens to yoga classes. The market's also working to make health foods more affordable for low-income families, handing out “health coupons” and accepting food stamps. “Come with an open mind and a friendly smile,” says founder Mark Bohnert.
The Land of Goshen Community Market
N. Main, Edwardsville, Ill., 618-307-6045
Located in downtown Edwardsville, Ill., the Goshen Market hosts roughly 50 full-season vendors (not including another 20-something partial-season merchants) who sell naturally raised meats, produce, fresh-cut flowers, and handmade art. In addition to live music, visitors can enjoy demonstrations on a wide range of skills: rope-making, paper-beading, cake-decorating, and iris paper-folding. And as part of the market's child-education program, dubbed Market Sprouts, local farmers donate a different crop each week. The Land of Goshen Community Market runs every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon from May through October.
Kirkwood Farmers' Market
150 E. Argonne, 314-984-9496
Founded in 1976 as a bicentennial project, the Kirkwood Farmers' Market has embodied Kirkwood's hometown charm for more than 30 years. The market boasts approximately 20 vendors and runs almost year-round. From early April through September, the warm-weather market is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays for some vendors. (Though as with most farmers' market, Saturdays offer the best selection.) Every fall, the market hosts a pumpkin patch, open daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., accompanied by the Harvest Market, a mini-version of the market’s summer selection. And come winter, you can enjoy the annual Christmas market daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
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