As promised months ago, I have returned to the Soulard Farmers Market to soak in all the culture during the warm and presumably more active months. To be honest I've been back dozens of times since the original post. I go almost every Saturday, actually. Funny thing is - I rarely buy anything. I know that doesn't make much sense but I liken it to the grocery store. I peruse all of the fruits and veggies yet very rarely bring any home due to... "The Pressure." I use quotation marks here to make it read much more intimidating than it really is. Using reality, all "The Pressure" really boils down to is the urge to eat all of your purchased produce before it goes bad. I've never been one to be wasteful and that's my hard earned cash slowly degrading on my kitchen counter/hidden refrigerator fruit drawer (once your food goes in that drawer it is over for that particular food. It will never be eaten. It's science and you can't argue with science). The truth is I just can't take "The Pressure." It gets to me in a bad way if you count getting to you in a bad way as eating it all the first day I bring it home. At this point I tend to just skip getting produce all together. Still, this never keeps me from planning on buying some every time I step foot in the Farmers Market. This time was no exception.
As I had always suspected, contrary to the claims of Presidents Of The United States, peaches are, in fact, not free. I was forced to pay very near 25 cents for mine. Actually it was exactly 25 cents. Who really wants the change? And yes, I only purchased one so as not to lose another one to my fridge drawer of doom. I even waited a day to eat the one I did get. Dare I say it was the best darned peach I've had in a dog's age (peaches always make me talk old-timey).
Now, in the winter I claimed disappointment in the fact that many of the vendors sell the same produce you can purchase in the local supermarket. Unfortunately the same still holds true in the summer. As I don't purchase perishables too often, I don't know the difference in savings between buying from the two, but I've seen others marvel at the low prices in the Farmers Market. I'm not sure it's enough to counter the extra gas you'll burn driving down, but there are plenty of other things to purchase here.
There are fresh meat, eggs and flowers; a great selection of interesting pastas and freshly baked bread; a whole store of fresh spices as well as a whole section with flea market-like selections. Yes, you too can support Michael Jackson's death by buying an over-priced shirt with his likeness and years not dead printed on the front.
One new addition this summer is a large indoor store with freshly butchered meats and a large selection of jarred goods. What makes this store different is that it is run by the Amish. Well, I haven't noticed any claims that the store is Amish, but either the people working there are wearing the least revealing pieces of flair ever, or they're indeed Amish. They even sell fresh sandwiches which, as you know, I'm a fan of. I almost had one too, but instead opted for Julia's Cafe and their awesome Red Beans and Rice. Next time I'll get one because I can't imagine they aren't good. I'm not sure if I believe that because the meat is likely fresh or from my strange unsubstantiated trust of the Amish. You have it too, admit it. I feel a bit brainwashed all of the sudden.
How do I sum up the Soulard Farmers Market? First of all I'll say it's very much worth it to go down there just for the people watching. The atmosphere is a bit electric with the vendors shouting out the deals and the distant sound of jazz and bluegrass floating in from the outer edges of the market where the musicians are allowed to set up. As far as food goes, it's a great place to buy fresh bread (don't forget to barter) and pastas. My favorite thing about the market are the true farmer's stands where locally grown and hand-picked fruit and vegetables are available for purchase. You never know what they'll have any time you go. One week they'll have bushels of blueberries and the next raspberries. I'm not sure there's a great way to tell which stand has the local stuff, but other than asking, I think the easiest way is to look for what they are unloading the fruit from. Wooden bushels is a good sign. Waxed boxes with logos are not. The local farmer is where I got my peach from. It was worth every cent.
I think I might take the old Oscar drawn buggy down there again this weekend. Now that I've eschewed electricity and running water for a simpler lifestyle I no longer have to worry about "The Pressure." Wait a second... Damn you Amish and your entrancing yet trustworthy lifestyle!!!