To Market, To Market
Explore St. Louis off-the-beaten-path farmers markets.
THE GRANDDADDY OF LOCAL farmers markets —and perhaps the city’s most well-known—has a yearround home in Soulard, where more than 80 vendors sell everything from pasta to pickles to parsnips (and that’s just one letter of the alphabet). It’s a shopping experience worthy of its fame, but its popularity can leave little time for meeting and greeting the folks behind the food.
Not so at some of the area’s quieter markets, where conversations can unfold over unhurried transactions. Like Soulard Farmers Market, many are sponsored by their host cities or neighborhood associations, and nearly all of them offer extra little somethings to really make a morning of it, like hot meals, live music and educational opportunities from yoga to cooking that encourage shoppers to stick around.
Going into its third season, the CHEROKEE STREET FARMERS MARKET takes advantage of heavier foot traffic as the district’s diverse business and restaurant scene continues to grow. An operation that began as a way to highlight immigrant growers’ foods now focuses on local residents, both as vendors and as customers. 2647 Cherokee St., 4 to 7pm on Fridays from June 6-Oct. 17.
The Arch is a fitting frame for the NORTH CITY FARMERS’ MARKET, which brings together citybased farming organizations sponsored by local nonprofits and schools. With this spirit backing the operation, Saturday mornings feel like a mini-reunion as families, vendors and community movers and shakers come together. St. Louis Avenue and N. 14th Street, 10am to 1pm on Saturdays from June 10 to Oct. 18.
Some of the biggest names on the local farm scene—Biver Farms, Baetje Farms, Iron Hill Farm and Rockbridge, to name a few—sell their wares at multiple venues, but their stands at MIDTOWN FARMERS MARKET feel a little more laid-back. The market also hosts a moms’ meetup and social enterprises like Green Spiral Tours. 6655 Delmar Blvd. (back lot), 8am to 12:30pm on Saturdays from May 2 to Nov. 7.
WEBSTER GROVES FARMERS MARKET got its start five years back thanks to a community collaboration, and it sticks to its mission of promoting healthy eating and showcasing sustainability with initiatives like giving kids tokens to buy their own produce straight from the farmers and producers. S. Old Orchard Avenue and Big Bend Boulevard, 3 to 6:30pm on Thursdays from May 7 to Oct. 22
Photo credit: Jennifer Silverberg