Saturday, November 7, 2009

Soulard Farmer's Market: A Love-Hate Relationship

One of my absolute favorite things to do on a Saturday morning is head over to the Soulard Farmer's Market. It is hands down the most interesting venue in St. Louis and a must see for tourists. That said, I have a love-hate relationship with the place.

Let's start with the love. Here are some cool things about Soulard Farmers Market:
  • The land on which it is located was a gift to the city, from a woman. Julia Cerre Soulard donated the land on the condition that it be used as a market, in perpetuity. Should the land cease to house a market, the land (and that's some good location) is supposed to revert back to her heirs.
  • Soulard will give you a real feel for the people who populate this city. I always look forward to seeing Tom at Julia's Market cafe. He's a hoot.
  • You're halfway indoors and halfway outdoors. Its an all weather venue.
  • Live music.
  • You can get a slush puppy with vodka in in. Or a beer, or bloody mary or margarita. First thing in the morning. And no one will judge you.
  • It will make you feel popular. If you don't run into someone you know, you don't get out enough.
  • Mini-Doughnuts.
  • Soulard is open year round, Wednesday through Saturday.
  • The growers. The actual farmers.
  • It is the only place I know who you can buy Ozark Mountain Orchard Blueberries. Sweet sweet Ozark Mountain Orchard Blueberries.
  • For years, Soulard was one of the only places in the downtown area to provide produce at a cheap price, while there was no grocery presence in the area.

Now here are the things that I think could improve at Soulard:
  • There are way more brokers than growers. (People reselling stuff from Produce Row, not actual farmers.)
  • Items that are deceptively packaged. Apples, lettuce and other produce that are moved from the wholesale boxes into little baskets to make them appear as if they are from a farmer. Apples don't grow with stickers on them.
  • I think some brokers (not all) false pack. I have purchased produce at Soulard only to have it be rotten the next day. (False packing is when you put the pretty stuff on top, with the bad stuff underneath.)
  • I can't stand the amount of trinkets and junk sold there. I will give a pass to those selling St. Louis themed items but I don't like all the knock off sold there.
  • That nasty pet store (sorry, pet store people, but selling pigeons and stray kittens is a little creepy.)

All things considered, I love it. And it is the funnest place on a sunny Saturday morning.

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