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Soulard Farmers Market

May 14, 2011

When the spring season is in full bloom, I get excited and imagine the variety of produce the local farmers are selling at the area markets.  Soulard Market is Saint Louis’s largest and oldest running farmers market and is a historic attraction for many visitors.  Of course they sell fresh fruit, veggies, cheeses, and meats, but they also have flowers, homemade soaps, an incrediable spice shop, and live animals.  If you get hungry while shopping,  you can sip on a bloody mary or enjoy fresh mini donuts that you can watch the vendor make. My personal favorite is the salsiccia sausage wrapped with a Gus’s pretzel – YUM!

Soulard Farmers Market was created when Julia Cerre Soulard donated undeveloped land from her estate to the city of St. Louis in 1838. Her request was that the property be used only as a public marketplace, and thus was created the oldest farmers market west of the Mississippi River.

There have been several soulard market structures over the years.  The first building was a one-story red brick building that was developed by a private group of farmers and other investors, and it was not until 1854 that the building was sold to the city.  Many additions were made to the building as the surrounding neighborhood grew.  Over the years the market has been steady and peaceful, but it has also experienced severe tornado damage, violence in the 1850’s due to slavery issues,  construction of a new building in the late 1920’s, and the decline and rise of the Soulard neighborhood.

The building that you see today was finish in 1929 and mimicks the circa 1419 Brunelleschi Foundling Hospital in Florence, Italy.  The market thrived during WWII and the Great Depression; however, in the 40’s and 50’s people began moving west and slowly the area declined.  Over the last 30 years the Soulard neighborhood has improved and several new businesses have moved in, making this a popular place for locals and tourists to visit today.

Open Wed-Fri 8am-5pm; Sat 6am-5pm (arrive early, as parking can be tricky)
The Soulard Market Official Website is http://stlouis.missouri.org/citygov/soulardmarket

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