St. Louis’ Farm Market Harvest: Eating Fresh in the Neighborhood

Tuesday September 2, 2014

By Explore St. Louis Guest

School has begun and summer is winding down but that doesn’t mean the garden is over.

The growing season remains in full swing and neighborhood farm markets are gearing up for its seasonal peak.

“Now is the time when you can get it all - the freshness of summer with the beginning of the fall harvest,” said Angela Foley, market manager for Webster Groves Farmers Market. “ It’s the best of the season because you can find summer favorites as tomatoes and cucumbers along with fall specialties as apples and winter squash.”

Webster Groves Farmers Market is one of over 30 St. Louis neighborhood markets that provide fresh produce, artisan foods and a taste of community spirit. Neighborhood markets such as Webster Groves have traditionally served as a gathering place, providing visitors a passport to explore their community culture and history through events and activities while shopping the local harvest.

“We always have some kind of live music and activities for children and some type of food tasting or demonstration,” said Foley explaining how the market’s activities and entertainment provides a total experience for shoppers and families wanting to enjoy their community.

The Tower Grove neighborhood, located in the heart of St. Louis is home to Tower Grove Farmers Market. Each Saturday morning now through November farmers and vendors fill tables near the roundabout within Tower Grove Park, National Historic Landmark renown for its architecture treasures as its Turkish and Chinese pavilions and Victorian gardens. Each Saturday almost 60 farmers and food vendors contribute to the market’s weekly bounty. Before shopping consider taking in with one of Tower Grove’s free yoga or qui gong classes held each week on the market grounds. Or relax and enjoy an impromptu picnic while taking in one of Tower Grove’s Harvest Sessions, the market’s concert series.
Standing neighborhood strong and serving to reunite the community is the Ferguson Farmers Market, whose motto is “ Come for the farmers. Stay for the fun.” It’s a motto that resonates with its visitors today as it did when in 2010 it was voted the favorite farm market in Missouri, which in turn ranked it as number 17 nationwide in the American Farmland Trust’s American Favorite Farmers Market contest. Rising above the current challenges facing the community the Ferguson Farmers Market remains a popular destination for the neighborhood and visitors who support farm raised and locally made foods.

St. Louis’ oldest, continually operating year-round is Soulard Market. Its H-shaped market house is a combination of enclosed and open-air stalls. Within the main building are permanent shops as a bakery, a meat market and a spice shop, many of which have operated in Soulard for over a hundred years. Soulard Market is open Wednesday through Saturday. For the best selection of farm produce shop Saturday, the peak day to catch farmers who travel to Soulard from both sides of the Mississippi to set up and sell. Saturday is also the prime day to enjoy organized market events to those spontaneous sidewalk entertainers that have included bluegrass trios to jugglers.

Cherokee Street Farmers Market (originally named the Cherokee Street International Farmers Market) is one of St Louis’ newest neighborhood markets. Opened in 2012, the Cherokee Street Farmers Market spotlights farm produce grown by neighborhood farmers. Besides an eclectic mix of fresh produce and ethnic food specialties, Cherokee Farmers Market has become a melting pot of artisans, farmers and crafters, beautifully reflecting the neighborhood’s international diversity.

Farm Market 411

Webster Groves Farmers Market: Open 3 – 7 p.m., Thursdays through October
Located at South Orchard at Big Bend Blvd.

Soulard Farmers Market: Open Wednesday –Thursdays 8 a.m – 5 p.m.
Friday 7 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, 7a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Located at 730 Carroll Street

Ferguson Farmers Market: Open 8 a.m. – Noon, Saturdays through October
Located at Ferguson Citywalk district, 20 South Florissant Road

Tower Grove Farmers Market: Open 8a.m. – Noon Saturdays until November 3
Located at Tower Grove Park near the West Pool Pavilion

Cherokee Farmers Market: Open 4 – 7 p.m. Fridays through October
Located 2674 Cherokee Street

Guest Blogger Suzanne Corbett contributed to this blog.