Locavores rejoice. May marks the opening of area farm markets. Counted among this year’s market crop is the Arnold Farmer’s Market, located on the grounds of , that opens May 5, the official opening date of most Missouri farm markets.
Arnold’s Farmers' Market joins the growing list of urban farm markets that now number more than 140 statewide. This rise in popularity is a result of the “farm to fork” moment, encouraging one to eat greener and better by filling one's plate with foods grown locally - thus the term locavore. Yet, while farm markets may seem trendy, they’re nothing new. Until grocery and mega-markets changed how we shopped over the last 75 years, farm markets were the gathering place for farmers and the community to connect. Today’s food markets celebrate these old ways (foodways) tradition that allows one to gather with neighbors, shop and bring the best local products to the table -- at often better prices.
Helping Missourians find local farm markets and farm stands is AgriMissouri, a division of the Missouri Department of Agriculture, which promotes Missouri-grown and Missouri-made items. According to AgriMissouri Communications Specialist Christine Tew, farm markets are the best way to eat better and healthier. They also provide wide variety of fresh produce, dairy and meats that include many that are organically grown.
To locate the closest market Tew encourages farm fans and foodies to log on to AgriMissouri’s newly designed website, ArgiMissouri.com.
“AgriMissouri's farmers’ market map currently lists 218 markets,” said Tew, noting the growth of markets across the state. " We’ve seen roughly a 10 percent increase yearly in farm markets over the past decade. And our membership has grown by leaps and bounds – from 350 to more than 1300 AgriMissouri members in 2011.”
AgriMissouri’s website also offers a trip planner. Check the map and follow the promps to plan a market-hopping road trip. Many farm markets have become destinations, providing entertainment as musicians, cooking demonstrations or other special events throughout the year, such as Soulard Market.
Soulard Market, whose simple beginnings can be traced to the late 18th Century, always has street musicians positioned at both the north and south entrances. Soulard is also known for its planned and impromptu events staged at the adjacent Soulard Market Plaza Park. While Soulard is open year round, locals will find more farmers occupying the markets stalls now through late fall.
The roster of Missouri farm markets is impressive. The following is a short list of markets found in Jefferson and St Louis counties. For a complete market directory go online to www.AgriMissouri.com and plot your shopping desinations. Plan a day and market hop, but come prepared. to keep your farm finds fresh, pack a cooler in your car.
After shopping the market you might want to try a few new farm recipes. The following are vintage recipes I grew up eating and feature in my cookbook, Pushcarts and Stalls: The Soulard Market History Cookbook.
Farm Markets in Jefferson County
Crystal City Farmers’ Market: Wednesdays, May – October, 4-8 p.m
Arnold Farmer’s Market: Saturdays, May – October, 8am - Noon
Byrne’s Mill Farmer’s Market: Fridays, May 11 – September 3, – 7 p.m.
DeSoto Farmer’s market: Saturdays, May – October, 8 a.m. – Noon
Farm Markets in St. Louis
Webster Groves Farmers Market: Thursdays, 3 – 7 p.m. May - October
Clayton Farmers Market: Saturdays, May – November 3, 8:30 am – 12:30 p.m.
Tower Grove Farmer’s Market: Saturdays May – October, 8:30 am – 12:30 p.m.
Ferguson Farmers Market: Saturdays, April – October, 8 am - Noon
Soulard Market: Wednesday throughy Thursday, 8 a.m-5 p.m.; Friday 7 am – 5 pm; Saturday 7 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Kirkwood Farmer’s Market: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.- 6 p.m. Saturday 8 a.m. -5 pm Sunday hours vary by vendor
Farm recipes from Pushcarts and Stalls: The Soulard Market History Cookbook, by Suzanne Corbett.
Savory Sugar Snap Peas
- 1 pound sugar snap peas
- Kosher and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon rosemary leaves
- 1 teaspoon marjoram leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup crisp fried and crumbled bacon
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- thyme sprigs for garnish
Wash and trim ends of sugar snap peas. Place in a steaming rack over boiling water; steam for 3 - 5 minutes, or until snap peas are tender. Remove from steamer, place snap peas in a nine-inch buttered baking dish; stir in mustard, rosemary, marjoram, thyme and sour cream. Sprinkle crumbled bacon and Parmesan cheese over top and place in a 400-degree oven to crisp and lightly brown cheese. Serve garnished with fresh sprigs of thyme. Makes 4 - 6 servings.
Charow’s Marinated Tomatoes
- 3 large tomatoes
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped onions
- 1 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
Thickly slice tomatoes and place in a shallow serving dish. In a small bowl combine olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic, onions, parsley and basil; whisk together until smooth. Pour over tomatoes, cover and chill for at 3 hours.
Stove notes: Tomatoes are best when fully ripe and allowed to marinate overnight.
Dutchman's Mixed Salad with Sweet Sour Dressing
- 4 cups salad greens, leaf lettuce, Boston bibb
- 2 red globe radishes, sliced
- 1 medium size white onion, thinly sliced
- 3 slices bacon
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 cup milk or water
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 egg
In a large salad bowl, toss together the salad greens, radishes and white onion; cover and chill. To make dressing, chop bacon and fry in a heavy skillet over a high heat until crisp; set aside. In a bowl, combine the cornstarch, milk, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper with egg and beat until smooth; slowly whisk mixture into the bacon drippings. Cook over a medium heat until thick. Pour hot mixture over the greens and serve. Makes 4 servings.
Stove notes: Dressing is wonderful tossed into fresh spinach. For an old-fashioned salad, try dandelion greens.