National Farmers Market Week

Schlafly Farmers Market
Wednesday, August 9th
Schlafly Bottleworks
7260 Southwest Ave, Maplewood MO

It’s National Farmers Market Week. Schlafly Farmers Market is one of the only mid-week, producer only, farmers markets in the area. We are small, but mighty. Our top notch vendors continuously supply a beautiful array of high quality, seasonal, local produce, pastured meats, eggs, cheese, breads and pastries, raw honey, cut flowers, yarns and handmade fiber crafts, fresh made tamales and more.

**Just as I was finishing this and editing it, Mrs Buila emailed me to let me know that they have just harvested some organically grown sweet corn and will be bringing it to market today….and when my blogs are late, these are typical of the messages and information that I get and can pass on to all of you!**

The definition of a farmers market that is followed by the USDA as well as the Missouri Ag Department is as follows. farmers‘ market (also farmers market) is a physical retail market featuring foods sold directly by farmers to consumers. Farmers‘ markets typically consist of booths, tables or stands, outdoors or indoors, where farmers sell fruits, vegetables, meats, and sometimes prepared foods and beverages.
Note- A grocery store should not be called a “farmers market”. A non-producer market should not be called a “farmers market”. A place where foods ar e sold directly by farmers is the definition of a farmers market.

At last count, Missouri ranked in the top 10 states of our nations number of farmers markets. It can be difficult to keep an exact count. But we are up there in the National rankings. In the St Louis and surrounding area, the count once again is difficult to keep track of. But I believe we are just under 50 farmers markets; weekly, bi-weekly and monthly.

I think our farmer’s market can sustain themselves and remain viable if we maintain the tradition of producer only with seasonal, local foods and vendors at them. I believe communities can and should customize and adjust their market and market vendors to match what each particular community needs and wants. Farmers markets cannot be cookie cutters of each other as customers and communities have different needs and wants, different logistics and  dynamics to work through. Some areas do not have a lot of market producers available and the markets will not be as large. Sometimes an area has a lot of markets and vendors must choose which ones are more economically viable for them. Many times market vendors are producing from a small family farm and do not have the time, energy or staff to make it to markets. If they hire someone they must pay that person a wage and that person. Many times that employee does not have the vested interest or the information needed to create vibrant sales at the market place.  A market must maintain a priority of being a place of commerce or the vendors will not be able to afford to return. Another priority of a successful market would be a place where creating relationships has been cultivated. Vendors and customers that create relationships around the food that has been produced, how it has been produced and how the customer can use it will also be a successful market. Information, education, passion, practical information, a lively and vibrant energy and integrity are all vital to the sustainability of a farmers market.

When enough customers enter, create relationships and make purchases a farmers market will continue to sustain itself and perhaps even grow. Many vendors have been at markets for years and years and finally decide to take a break and leave the farmers market venue. Sometimes it takes a while for new vendors to figure out how to make it all work. Sometimes new farmers need time to figure it all out.  I have had many farmer’s want to start at a market and can never make it to one because of all the learning curve issues that they were not prepared for. From having enough produce from week to week to make it worth the trip, to having the physical energy or having a reliable vehicle. And then the unknown weather and elements that we always deal with are especially worrisome for folks growing and harvesting our food.

I want to thank all of the customers that have supported our markets over the years and continue to shop and support our local vendors. Without you, without the vendors that you support, there would be no markets. Farmers market customers are a unique, very special group of folks! You tend to purchase and prepare food that is the most fresh, seasonal and local. You create relationships around the food that you prepare. You wait and look forward to market days to purchase food. You share and create recipes around the market food. You search for parking spots, shop with coolers, bring umbrellas, walk, bike and drive to markets. You are wonderful! We need a million more of YOU! Thank you.

This week, my busy-ness included canning tomatoes. I also have the food dehydrator out and will experiment with drying some foods in the next week. I will share my discoveries and possible recipes with you soon.

Along with live music by Andy McAllister and complimentary Schlafly beer samples….

Today’s Vendors Will Include:
Rosy Buck and Flower Hill Farm
Larder and Cupboard
Ozark Forest Mushrooms
Alpacas of Troy
The Tamale Man
Biver Farm
Eckenfels Family Farm
Grand Army Farm
Farrar Out Farm
Three Girls and a Tractor
Seed Geeks
El Chico Bakery
Red Guitar
Ivan’s Fig Farm
Buila Family Farm
Weidner Farm
Ishaya Farm
Pawtastic Treats
And as a side note- The Ringhausen’s are not going to be at the market today, because this is the week of the Illinois State Fair and this is their 56th year of attending the fair (without a miss)!! Love it!

Thank you for your support
See you at the market.

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