The Winter Farmers Market at Schlafly Bottleworks
Need a scented candle? Some gourmet cheese? A hand-crafted ring perhaps? Well, you’re in luck because during select Saturdays this season, St. Louis brewery Schlafly Bottleworks is transforming into a magical Winter Farmers Market where you can get all these delightful treats and more.
When you walk onto the premise, you see that the Winter Market has two sections: the indoor famers’ market and the Holiday Fair featuring local crafters and artisans. The farmer’s market has all the usual good stuff, including fresh produce, baked goods, breads, jams and other locally made specialty products. The Fair side is quite diverse, offering everything from organic beauty and bath products to handcrafted wooden serving dishes. In between the two is the Schlafly Bottleworks Bar, where a crowd of people was lined up to get lunch in between shopping. You can also buy Schlafly brand products like beanies, T-shirts, mugs—perfect for that friend in you life who enjoys a good pint on the weekends. I personally decided to go this last Saturday because I was hoping to pick up some unique little holiday treats for friends from the farmer’s market. Also, I was hungry.
The first time I went to a farmers’ market last summer, I was instantly hooked. Besides having very warm, friendly environments (and free samples), they are always a great way to bring a community together and celebrate the people who live in it. The farmer’s market at Schlafly was no exception. All the people I interacted with were very engaging and nice and provided thorough responses to my inquiries. The good lady from Baetje Farms, for instance, let me sample all the cheeses (I ended up going with “Coeur de al Creme”…aka fresh goat cheese and olive mixed together, making for quite the orgasmic cheese eating experience). I did not have one bad interaction.
My friend and I decided that we were going to walk to Maplewood, the location of the Schlafly Bottleworks, which is situated about three miles south of campus. On one hand, it was a nice way to get a good look at an area that is right outside of the Washington University, yet one that neither of us had explored before. However, it did mean that, once we actually arrived, we only had about 20 minutes before the farmer’s market side of the Winter Farmers Market had to close up. Even as the vendors were starting to pack up, they continued helping us and letting us sample things. Of course, they wanted our business, but you could also tell how appreciative they were for each and every sale, no matter how small. This is probably owing to the fact that they make everything themselves from start to finish and are involved in every step of the process leading up to the creation of the final product—which is an extra bonus for the consumer, too, since you know that what you’re getting won’t be loaded with anything artificial.
Of course, the downside to the increased quality of food is the higher price tag. It’s a personal choice whether or not you think it’s worth it to spend more on locally made products. I was very close to passing on buying some homemade German Christmas cookies because they were $3 for eight cookies. Luckily, I heard the people in front of me raving about them and decided to splurge, and what do you know, they are some of the freaking best cookies I’ve ever had. The woman who had made and was selling them was also really kind and appreciative, so I felt good knowing that I was directly supporting her.
If you can go this weekend or once in the upcoming months, I would definitely recommend it. We’re always talking about how difficult it can be to break out of the Wash. U. bubble, but sometimes all you need to do is go next door to get a taste of the local community. I’ll give you a hint—it’s delicious.
You can check out the Winter Farmers Market on Dec. 19, Jan. 23, Feb. 27 and March 26.