So fresh and so cheap – Four must-see farmer’s markets in St. Louis
Some people determine how rich they are by how much money they have. Others, if they are like me, determine their wealth by the number of blueberry packages they can buy at their local grocery store. Often obscenely expensive, considering there are only 40 or so scrumptious berries in each pack, blueberries and other fresh fruits should not be a luxury but rather a staple in our diets. So instead of hitting up Schnucks or Trader Joe’s for groceries this week, try heading out to some of the following farmers’ markets for some affordable, fresh, juicy produce while it’s still in season.
Summit Farms-Kirkwood Farmers’ Market
Address: 150 E. Argonne Ave., St. Louis, MO
Hours: Mon. – Fri. 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.,
Sat. 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Look out for: Apples, orange flesh honeydew
Founded in 1978, the Summit Farms-Kirkwood Farmers’ Market has become a local favorite, boasting to be “Open 8 Days A Week.” With the fall season fast approaching, the market will stock up on locally grown apples and fresh pressed apple cider. The Summit Farms-Kirkwood market also provides a wide selection of locally canned vegetables, jams and salsas as well as fresh heirloom tomatoes and orange flesh honeydew—a hybrid of honeydew and cantaloupe that tastes as delicious as it sounds. And most importantly, make sure to be on the lookout for the elderly gentleman selling fresh homemade pies.
Soulard Farmers’ Market
Address: 730 Carroll Street, St. Louis, MO
Hours: Wed. – Thurs. 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Fri. 7 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sat. 7 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Look out for: Ostrich eggs, ghost chilies
Soulard Farmers’ Market is the oldest of the farmers’ markets in St. Louis, dating back to 1779 when the then- open meadow was used as a gathering spot for farmers to exchange local produce. After Antoine Soulard claimed 122 acres of this meadow, the market continued to flourish until 1803 when the Louisiana Purchase jeopardized his ownership of the land. Thankfully, his widow eventually earned rights to the land and partitioned two city blocks to be used as a market. Today, Soulard has grown to be the largest market in the city, covering four-square blocks. Vendors come from miles around to sell their goods, which often range from fruits and vegetables to fresh eggs to meat and seafood. The most eclectic items of the lot include ostrich and emu eggs, alligator meat and ghost chilies (originating in India and recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records as the hottest chili in the world). If you are skeptical about the prices, let me ease your concerns. You can get 15 clementines for $1 or an entire case of 12 packs of blackberries for $7. Make sure to get there early because they often sell out, and check out the layout of the market online so you can efficiently navigate its enormity once you arrive.
Address: 625 E Lockwood Ave., Webster Groves, MO
Hours: Mon. – Sat. 9 a.m. – 7 p.m., Sun. 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Look out for: Grape Tomatoes, nectarines
Previously a Shell gas station, the small lot that Roger’s Produce sits on is located only 15 minutes south of campus in Webster Groves and has provided nonpareil produce to the community for more than 35 years now. The market is a simple one-room stand with a covered pavilion, but don’t judge it on its small size; the variety of fruits and vegetables that it offers is nothing short of outstanding. Roger’s offers packages of grape tomatoes for only $1.29, a pretty good deal given that they would normally be double or triple that price in most grocery stores. And their nectarines smell and taste amazing. Not only is the produce up to par, but the staff is also friendly, accommodating and full of cooking tips. Make sure to stop by in October when Roger’s Produce rolls out fresh pumpkins in preparation for Halloween.
Market in the Loop
Address: 6655 Delmar Boulevard, University City, MO
Hours: Thurs. – Sat. 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Look out for: Carrots, peaches
For those students who either don’t have the means or the time to get to some of the farther farmers’ markets in St. Louis, Market in the Loop, just north of campus behind the Market Pub House, is the place for you. They stock a fair assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables, including some of the largest carrots I’ve ever seen and some really juicy peaches. While it’s not Soulard size, the workers are friendly and the selection is decent. So if you are planning on a weekend adventure to The Delmar Loop, be sure to stop by.