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Tower Grove Farmers’ Market Kickoff Celebration, May 12th

May 8, 2007 Events/Meetings, South City 14 Comments

From my friend Jenny Ryan….

FARM FRESH PRODUCE AND MEATS, LOCALLY BAKED GOODS, HANDMADE WARES, ART ACTIVITIES AND LIVE LOCAL MUSIC AT TOWER GROVE PARK

On Saturday, May 12, one of St. Louis’ newest and most successful farmers’ markets will celebrate the start of its second season by hosting its Kickoff Festival. The Tower Grove Farmers’ Market, together with community partners, The Southside YMCA and KDHX will host an event filled with great food, music and family fun.

Joining the Market’s regular cast of farmers, bakers, ranchers and artisans, the Tower Grove Farmers’ Market Kickoff Festival, scheduled for Saturday, May 12 from 8:30 am – 2:30 pm, will feature the following activities:

  • Various arts and crafts
  • Face painting
  • T-Shirt art
  • Sack racing
  • Food concessions by Missouri and Illinois small farmers and restaurants
  • Free Yoga
  • Music by Noah Earle, Swing De Ville and Grass Pack
  • Outdoor fitness activities with the South City YMCA

For additional information on the Tower Grove Farmers’ Market Kickoff Celebration visit http://www.tgmarket.org or email the Tower Grove Farmers’ Market at [email protected]

Tower Grove Farmers’ Market’s mission is to enhance the quality of life in the St. Louis area by providing a community activity that fosters social gathering and interaction while promoting sustainable agriculture and urban education.

 

Currently there are "14 comments" on this Article:

  1. Jim Zavist says:

    Farmers markets are another example of too much of a good thing. In theory, A farmer’s market is great and wonderful thing. Even two or three in an area can be successful. But when every yuppie community decides that they need one of their own, the retail pie just gets sliced into way too many small pieces, and nobody wins, not the people selling (not enough business) and not the people buying (not enough options)!

    http://www.riverfronttimes.com/2006-05-31/news/produce-row/

    http://www.riverfronttimes.com/1999-10-06/news/market-forces/

    Still, I wish the Tower Grove folks the best of luck . . .

     
  2. dialog says:

    Jim,

    The name farmer’s market has become somewhat of a misnomer for these tented
    neighborhood mercantiles.

    Here is where you find veggie ink greeting cards, homemade candles, natural soap on a rope, indie-art, and
    other such basement manufactured local crafts.

    The more people need places to market their homemade creative work, the more of
    these “farmer’s markets” we can support.

    The question is, should they allow “Party Light”, “Stamp-Em-Up”, and “Silpada” dealers
    into the bazaar?

     
  3. The two statements above are a little misguided, at least regarding our TG Farmers’ Market. This season we will have an average of 25 vendors per week and only two of those will be local artisans. The rest will be vendors of locally grown and made foods. We see no problem with allowing a couple of artisans into the mix, especially when they offer such things as soy candles and soaps with natural ingredients. Likewise we don’t find any fault with apiaries making candles out of the beeswax to sell alongside their honey. It is a good thing, the wax should be put to use and the hardworking beekeepers should be able to make some extra money at it. It is only our festivals, at the beginning and the end of the season, where we allow more artisans in since it’s more than just a food shopping event on those days.

    Regarding the comment about too much of a good thing, St Louis city now has the Tower Grove Farmers’ Market and the new North City Market as its only two grower only markets. Soulard is a resellers market for the most part with just a handful of (very good) local farmers. There is much more demand in St. Louis for high quality, locally produced food than there is supply. What is happening in the suburbs is a different story, but here in the city, we actually need more.

    Also, the 2006 Randall Roberts story linked to above was off base. He tried to make a controversy where there wasn’t one. We worked hard to increase the local food supply in St. Louis rather than spreading the current supply even thinner. We have added to the supply with three farms new to the region and by urging existing farms to increase their production. The TG Market will be twice as big as it was last year for primarily those reasons.

    Patrick Horine
    TG Farmers’ Market

     
  4. Jim Zavist says:

    I agree that two or three good weekly markets should work well, where all the interested, good local vendors can find a consistently good-sized crowd of shoppers willing to spend money. The problem comes from having a “market” somewhere every day, with a half dozen more competing on Saturday morning. And, no you can’t discount what’s happening in all the suburban areas – if anything, their customers may be more prolific and affluent than those in the city. A true farmer needs to work the land most days of the week, not hang out selling corn by the ear. The simple reason you’re seeing more “artisans” and fewer farmers is simply the limited supply of farmers willing to sell retail (versus wholesale).

    And no, I don’t wish TG ill – they have a proven track record, and I hope they continue to attract shoppers. My point is simply one of me-too proliferation. Anytime you get a group of community-based visionaries together, a local farmers market is always high on their list of wants (along with a Trader Joe’s, a coffee shop [Starbucks or local], more parks, slower traffic and a strong yes or no on a Wal·Mart). Much like an aquarium or a zoo or a convention center, a famers market is not THE answer to creating community in every inner-ring suburb or trendy city neighborhood. Every community is unique and needs to build on what makes them unique, not copy what worked 2-3-10 miles away!

     
  5. Maurice says:

    First I didn’t know that Tower Grove South and surrounding area was a “yuppie community.”

    Second, more prolific and affluent than in the city? I would suggest referencing Steve Shappiro’s study he posted on his website: 15thwardstl.org where he demonstrated the amount of income is in the city…..to get a Trader Joes.

    Farmer markets are good. They will, in time, adjust to the market forces. They will attend the ones where they will have the most traffic and the most dollars. As the demand for local and fresher produce (amazing how we revert to old style farming methods instead of importing) yes the supply may outstrip the demand…but in the long run that means there might be more farmers or more farmer co-ops so that they can pool their veggies and not have to be at every stall their product is sold at..that means their own communities will be built up as well.

     
  6. MH says:

    Wow…talk about over-analyzation of a simple, successful NEIGHBORHOOD market. That is all it is and needs to be. I could care less what worked or didn’t work 2-3-10 miles away, Jim, because I will not be driving there to see it or frequent it. The market serves the immediate neighborhoods well, is within walking distance of most areas of said neighborhoods and will be successful because of that. There is no reason to dissect it as a potential negative. People in Webster or Kirkwood or Soulard to some degree needn’t care about the existance of this market or any others that may pop up.

     
  7. Jim Zavist says:

    So is it a farmer’s market or a community market or an art fair? Is it competition to the struggling corner grocer, art gallery or coffee shop (that everyone also wants)? Is it a place to browse or a place to buy? My point is that any “famer’s” market should be about fresh produce, not about jams and jellies or arts and crafts (they belong in arts and crafts fairs and festivals – honesty in marketing), and there simply aren’t enough local farmers to support multiple markets.

    I haven’t been to TG’s (I probably should, and will), but I have been to Maplewood’s and Kirkwood’s (and several back in Denver), and I wasn’t all that impressed by any of them, by either the produce or the “crafts”. Call me lazy or elitist, but I’d much rather go to Shnuck’s, Shop-and-Save, Direberg’s, Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s whenever I want/need to and find a large selection of exactly what I’m looking for in the world of produce, and to go to high-quality shows like the Clayton Art Fair when I’m looking for real, quality art and craft.

    I also haven’t been to the Soulard Market, but I’d be more inclined to shop there if the selection is deeper, broader and/or fresher, especially if it’s open more than one day a week. And no, I don’t really care where the food came from – there’s nothing inherently better about the corn from Illinois or Missouri than the corn from Texas, Mexico or Chile. Fresh is fresh and safe is safe. Supporting your neighbor is a good thing, but when there aren’t any farms in the City, it’s hard to differentiate between a farm that’s 50 miles away versus one that’s 500 or 5000 miles away.

     
  8. LisaS says:

    Jim, I beg to differ. Locally grown food generally is fresher–2/3 days to market instead of 4/5 or more–and assuming you buy directly from the farmer, usually fresher still. There’s a lot of difference in an apple you pick at Eckert’s and a Washington apple from Schnucks–just in flavor. It takes less fuel to get veggies from southern Illinois than Texas, so it creates less pollution. (Yes, I do buy mid-week lettuce at the grocery, but otherwise, starting this time of year, most of our shopping moves to local vendors at farmer’s markets, both here and when traveling.) But really, the flavor–buy a box of Biver Farm strawberries when they come in season, and tell me there’s no difference. They don’t even make it home.

    I agree with you about the art, but I do buy jam from the local vendors–I can’t tell a lot of difference in price or quality, and I’m supporting local business instead of Smuckers or whatever (echoes of Michelle Shocked here.)

    I’m also concerned about the location of food production from a national security point of view. Outsourcing our food supply to other countries, a greater threat than our dependence on foreign oil. Let’s be honest, people: we can survive without our cars, but not without food.

    We belong to a CSA farm, and a suprising benefit of this approach (in addition to supporting small farms and the better flavor) is that we eat a greater variety of vegetables because they arrive in our bag every week. There is a CSA farm in the City–does anyone have a link?

     
  9. Shannon McLaughlin Chanocua says:

    I think the ideal of a market is a great thing, it is a great diversion from corprate ran events. Also the tower grover market is attempting to bring a diverse community together. Something St. Louis needs more of. The city and county needs more socialize within itself of its diverse community. The city is changing, why can’t people attitudes?

     
  10. Supporting local foods is as much an environmental decision as it is a local economy and fresher food decision. The produce at Schnucks and Whole Foods and Shop and Save is being trucked in from other states, countries and continents. If variety is the only criteria for produce shopping, then by far Whole Foods is your best bet. But, as Lisa writes, try their produce and compare it to what’s in season locally. There is no comparison. Most of their produce is not local, and much of what they call local really isn’t. The Whole Foods “local'” tomatoes come from Wisconsin and Arkansas. Ours come from in the city or across the river or just west of St. Louis and when you buy them they will have been picked the day before or that morning. They will not be the engineered tomatoes that are picked green and ripen to a pink mush on their way to the supermarket.

    And you shouldn’t let a couple of artist booths get in the way of enjoying a good food shopping experience. Some people appreciate them being there and others just pass by on their way to the next food tent.

    Their are two city farms, New Roots Urban Farm and City Seeds. I’m not sure if either of them have websites yet. Both of them will be at our market.

     
  11. GMichaud says:

    Jim Z, I am shocked you never shopped at Soulard Market. So much of what you say is wrong, first it is not only open one day a week. Second either your taste buds are dead or you have never tasted the difference between fresh corn, picked off the vine and store bought corn from Mexico or where ever the hell it comes from.
    In any case you clearly have had little experience with fresh food. A friend of mine who grows trees on his farm in Augusta has a large garden and gave me a big bag of greens a few weeks ago. I eat a lot of salad and it is light years higher in quality than greens you get from the industrialized farms that supply Schnucks.
    Finally with your doomsday predictions of too many farmers markets have you ever considered that if there is a demand it may open avenues of other types of agriculture to develop and succeed, I thought capitalism was supposed to meet public demand, not just shrivel up and die.
    Cities such as Helsinki and London are loaded with street markets that put St. Louis to shame. Helsinki is about the same size as St. Louis and they have farmers markets all over the place, not to mention tons of other vendor markets.

     
  12. Maurice says:

    Lets just face it. There will be people that think a green bean is just a vegetable. Then there will be people that want a green bean picked from the blue lake region and want it only 1.3 days old. The point is some value freshness, vitamin content, local farmer over commercial, bland, and nutrient void.

    And what is wrong with selling jams and jellies…if the farmer raised the crop, can’t they make and sell them in any form?

     
  13. Jim Zavist says:

    I stopped by today, and it met my expectations. Probably best to leave it as agree to disagree – I hope it works for those involved (as sellers and buyers), but it didn’t do much for me. But then, I have much greater expectations of the Brewers’ Festival in Forest Park this evening – to each their own!

    One side note – many of the vendors’ booths in Tower Grove Park violate the Americans with Disabilities Act – you’re required to have 80″ (6′-8″) clear under the awnings and umbrellas . . .

     

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