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CULINARY ADVENTURE AT SOULARD MARKET IN ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI
5 reasons to visit Soulard Market, the historic St. Louis Farmer's Market that began in 1779. Culinary travel adventure full of history and delicious food!
Soulard Farmer's Market is a historic farmer's market that's been around since 1779. Yes, you read that right, since colonial days of old.
And though it doesn't make me colonial, I remember going there with my mom when I was a little girl. I also remember Mom would always try to save money by finding free parking on the street.
Soulard holds kind of a special place in my memories because we went there a lot. Whether we were shopping for fresh produce or picking up auto parts nearby, the area brought back a lot of memories for me on a recent trip to St. Louis.
Even though the market has changed and grown through the years, just walking into the market made me want to reminisce about the old days. Good food always has a way of doing that, doesn't it?
And so I give you 5 reasons you should visit Soulard Market on your next trip to St. Louis, Missouri.
For this list, I'm going to do something a little different and count down; because even though they're all very good reasons for visiting the market, #1 is my absolute favorite reason why you should get yourself to this historic St. Louis Farmer's Market.
5 REASONS EVERYONE SHOULD VISIT SOULARD MARKET
#5. Buy Anything and Everything You Can Imagine
While you'd think this reason would be #1, you'll understand when you get there.
Soulard Market offers both locally grown and shipped in goods. When I say locally grown, I mean produce that's been grown in both Missouri and Illinois, since Illinois is literally right across the Mississippi River.
You'll find all sorts of good things, including meats, cheeses, farm fresh eggs, breads and other baked goods, pastas, fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, fresh flowers from Soulard Florist, all kinds of spices at Soulard Spice Shop, cheeses, jams, jellies, candy, popcorn, souvenirs, and so much more.
I could likely spend most of my time and a LOT of our money at Soulard Spice Shop, where you'll find spices, seasonings, and dressings of all kinds. It smells so amazing.
My mouth is watering just thinking about it all.
#4. The Historical Significance of Soulard Farmer's Market
Like I mentioned above, Soulard Farmer's Market began in 1779 as a field where farmers would meet to sell their products, which included produce, dairy, and livestock.
A 122-acre plot was gifted to Antoine Soulard by his father-in-law in 1795, and that plot included the farmer's market. After a series of events, including the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, a legal battle, and Antoine's death, Julia Soulard, his widow, acquired the deed to the land in 1836.
Julia is the one who officially set aside two city blocks for the farmer's market in 1841. Since then it has had 2 buildings, and the current building was built in 1929 in the Renaissance style of Italy.
The first floor of said building has all the shops and is connected to the open-air farmer's market. I had no idea, but the second floor has both a gymnasium and a theater.
#3. That Soulard Atmosphere
The atmosphere at Soulard Market is pretty relaxed, and the people are friendly. You'll have about 147 stalls to browse.
Take a walk or a scooter ride in the Soulard neighborhood, and you'll find beautiful colonial architecture and brickwork, loads of restaurants and good places to eat, and beautiful churches.
#2. The Bloody Mary Drink at Norton's Cajun Corner
Dan loves a good Bloody Mary drink. He usually always gets the non alcoholic version, just because neither one of us likes the taste of alcohol. (We don't like coffee either. Haha!)
The Bloody Mary at Norton's must have been good because we went back the next day for a second one.
I'm pretty sure it was the best Bloody Mary he's ever had. I know it looked amazing.
#1. Gooey Butter Cake at Soulard Bakery
Now you understand why I had to save this one for #1.
Seriously, the BEST gooey butter cake in likely all of St. Louis… I say likely because I only tried one other place, but I didn't need to try anymore after getting this piece from Soulard Bakery inside the farmer's market.
I almost want to say it was just as good as homemade, if not better. It was that good.
It was just the right thickness, the right texture, the right sweetness, everything!
If you've never had gooey butter cake, it's a St. Louis staple. I grew up enjoying my mom's gooey butter cake, and now I make it for my kids.
It's the most delicious ooey gooey cake made with cream cheese and powdered sugar. You can make it homemade or even with a cake mix; it's delicious either way.
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU HEAD TO SOULARD FARMER'S MARKET IN ST. LOUIS
Soulard Farmer's Market is located at 730 Carroll Street in St. Louis, Missouri. Parking is available both on the street and in a parking lot next to the market; both free and metered parking are available.
There are a few things you should know before heading out to the market on your St. Louis travels.
- Soulard Market hours are Wednesday through Saturday, year round. Hours are 8am to 5pm Wednesday thru Friday and 7am to 5:30pm on Saturday.
- The Soulard Market website gives info on when are the best times to shop and which days have more vendors. Since we shopped during the week, there were not near as many vendors as there would be on a Saturday. Saturday farmer's market for the win!
- You can also find information on which seasonal foods will be available on the Soulard Market site.
- Bring cash. Some vendors take cards, but many take cash only. An ATM is available on site.
- While pets are not allowed, service animals are welcome.
- The market is partially wheelchair accessible.
- And as for restrooms, I am not sure. I didn't see any while we were there, but that doesn't mean there aren't any.