tower grove farmers market photo courtesy of tower grove farmers market

Your guide to some of the best farmers markets in the St. Louis area

With summer unfurling like the leaves of a hosta in the backyard, it’s market time again. And like those hostas, many of these markets in our area go from strength to strength, increasing in breadth each year. Now, in addition to shopping for local produce, you can enjoy an agua fresca, taste some local gin, eat some Thai food and listen to a bit of live jazz. So here, at the beginning of the season, are a few markets we’ve been scoping out, along with some of the vendors we think you’ll be frequenting this summer.

The Boulevard Farmers’ Market
At the height of the season, this offshoot of Tower Grove Farmers’ Market is host to more than 45 vendors. We like this one because it takes place on a Sunday. Yes, it’s smack in the middle of Brentwood (in the breezy passage between Maggiano’s Little Italy and Crate & Barrel), but it feels perfectly pleasant, especially after a sampler of local whiskey from Switchgrass Spirits. We particularly loved the stunning melon-y cantaloupe microgreens we found from Ferguson-base microgreens farm Ann’s Roots. We also enjoyed the gorgeous, robust produce (specifically the big bucket of leeks and the rainbow-colored selection of cauliflower) brought to market by Howie Farms & Produce from Villa Ridge. The big bags of fresh pecans from Friedel Family Farm in Batchtown, Illinois, also caught our eye.
Sundays through Oct. 29 - 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., The Boulevard, Richmond Heights,

Rockwell Beer Garden Farmers’ Market
The patter of small feet is unavoidable at this family-friendly Rockwell Beer Garden Francis Park market, which has become another successful offshoot of the Tower Grove Farmers’ Market group after only two seasons. We always feel rich when we have a sourdough boule in our basket, and We’re Dough Baking has a good one. The bakery also pops up at Tower Grove on Saturdays with interesting weekend specials like cherry chocolate and dill pickle sourdough. Have a spot of lunch at Big Mama's House, where you’ll find vegan dishes like meatless meatballs and pulled "pork" shawarma in addition to bundt cakes, tarts and fruity drinks. Summer Family Farms, in town from rural Illinois, brings bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup, which – come to think of it – you can enjoy over that same farm’s sausage. And we always cheer to see Mister’s Hand Pies. On a recent visit, we noticed strawberries and cream, Mexican veggies and chicken mole. Mylk + Hummus, a sustainable food start-up, also makes an appearance with its nutrient-dense, pulse-based foods. What’s not to love about that?
Thursdays through Sep. 26 - 4 to 7 p.m., 5300 Donovan Ave., St. Louis,

SOL Food Farmers Market
SOL (which stands for “sustainable, organic, local”) recently moved from the Schlafly Bottleworks parking lot to the lot at Living Room Coffee & Kitchen on Sutton Boulevard. It feels like a better space – leafier, a little more “country” – and a good fit for vendors like Josh Plack of Wine Creek Farm. Plack is a herbalist whose lineup includes teas for anxiety which he makes with ingredients like valerian, jasmine and sarsaparilla. Meanwhile, next door, Christina Svetz distills her own version of “anxiety medication.” Svetz, who owns and operates Samuel Berton Distilling, merrily hands out generous samples of her six different spirits and three liqueurs. Her gin – light on juniper, heavier on licorice root and clove – will knock your socks off.
Wednesdays through Oct. 27 - 4 to 6:30 p.m., 2810 Sutton Blvd., Maplewood,

The Summit All Seasons Market at Kirkwood Farmers’ Market
To a greater or lesser degree, this is a year-round affair: plants and produce in spring and summer, pumpkins in fall; and Christmas trees, wreaths and ornaments as the holidays come around. Summit owner Dan Mitchell has been “working” at the market since 1978 when he was 9 and his job was “to look after the strawberries.” Now he’s grown up a bit, his goal is to increase the number of vendors from Missouri and neighboring states. “I want as much local as I can possibly get.” He’s not doing too badly: There’s a good selection of regional frozen meats from Robinson Family Farms out in Wellsville, Missouri, and local aged and smoked cheddar from Hemme Brothers Farmstead Creamery in Sweet Springs. Goat cheeses in various flavors like chive and cranberry orange from Baetje Farms can also be found here. In any event, who doesn’t adore the quaintness of a covered market across from an old feed store with the odd train rumbling by?
Monday through Friday - 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Saturday - 8 a.m to 5 p.m.; Sunday - 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 150 E. Argonne Drive, Kirkwood,

Tower Grove Farmers’ Market
Now with more than 100 vendors, this has become a behemoth in recent years. It’s a place to buy your groceries for the week, yes, but it’s also the place to chow. On Saturdays, for starters you can have hotteok (Korean sweet pancakes filled with cinnamon sugar and walnuts) from Food With Yoo or a croissant and pain au chocolat from Comet Bakery. Fourth City BBQ usually brings their brisket breakfast sandwich to the party, as well as breakfast fried rice and blueberry cornbread. (Pinch us, we must be dreaming!) Tee Rak Thai makes an excellent lunch or breakfast with its rotating menu of dishes like pad see ew (stir-fried noodles), drunken noodles and pad Thai, and occasional specials like khao soi. To boot, Amaizing Arepa Bar, the Venezuelan restaurant in Downtown St. Louis that started out as a market vendor, still has their Amaizing Cakes Latin Food stall, where you can find reliably delicious cachapas and arepas. STL Barkeep is in the mix, as well, with cocktails to kick off your weekend in style. Kim Winn Yoga hosts a pay-what-you-can, drop-in class at 9:30 a.m. The Tuesday market features a scaled-down lineup, but it’s still a fine way to decompress and enjoy the outdoors.
Every Saturday through Nov. 2 - 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; every Tuesday through Sep. 26 - 4 p.m. to sunset, west of Center Cross Drive, Tower Grove Park, 4256 Magnolia Ave., St. Louis,

U City Farmers Market

Snug in a mini piazza just behind the Delmar Loop’s main drag, this market (celebrating its 10th anniversary) offers a perfect after-work stop-off on Wednesday evenings, but it’s an equally fine way to start a Saturday morning. What we love here are the unctuous homemade caramels (coconut, crunchy sea salt, cardamom and more) from Steele Caramels, a new woman-owned business; and the gorgeous eggs of all varieties laid by Rosalie Truong’s birds at Grand Army Farm in Labadie, Missouri. Also from there, baby peas, darling in their pods; and nettles for soup (or pesto). There are seasonal jams and jellies handmade by Cindy Higgerson of Larder & Cupboard: At this time of year, that means ingredients like strawberry and elderflower. If you’ve come ready to eat or drink, there are beautiful vats of agua fresca and birria quesadillas from Brew Tulum, and Tee Rak Thai is also here, perfuming the air with sizzling Thai street food. The Saturday market features ready-to-eat food from vendors like pie specialist Pie in the Sky, Sryian falafel wraps from Falafel Saha, breakfast sandwiches and burritos from Windy Lake Farm, and Thai street crepes from Crispy Thai Crepes, and produce from farms like Elixir Organic Farm, Rockbridge Trout Farm, Friedel Family Farm, Blue Heron Orchards, Red Hawk Acres, Biver Farms and Idle Wind Farm. 

Saturdays through Nov. 23 – 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; Wednesday through Oct. 16 – 4 p.m. to dusk, 6655 Delmar Blvd., University City,

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