Soulard Market is still impressive to me. It has a very nice, quite original choice of products, catering for needs of all types of communities. The meat comes from all kinds of animals, incl. frogs, the vegetables appear in all their shapes and colours, there is nuts I have not seen elsewhere like whole black walnuts, which are really hard to crack, there is a great spice shop, of course there are also cheeses, even raw milk ones, and seafood is available (sea is quite far). But there is also funny popcorn, donuts etc. Not everything is regional, but everything is interesting and mostly of good quality.
And the crowd visiting the market seems to be as the market itself: rather unpretentious, not flashy, and with very diverse backgrounds, kind of little melting pot. Often people are coming with trolleys to carry their purchases, as it seems to be affordable for everyone unlike on some farmers markets.
Apparently a lot of vendors remain the same as the market has not changed much over the years. It has resisted any potential gentrification as described e.g. for Boston. Yes I missed the vendor of the hot sauces. The Goose Poop (a relish) stand was new to me and showed clearly attempts to create an own brand, rather unusual for this market. There was a new food stand as well, probably the one & only which might be close to be called hipster. They sold nice spring rolls, wraps and alike, ginger salad and more (how does that fit with Dr. Pepper, guys?). But otherwise? …
There seemed to be no substantial change. Is this good? Well, people seem to like it, the flow of visitors never stopped despite the hot humid summer. It is also nice to see some things become a tradition, having own roots and may be called something like home. Despite the lack of change, I have not observed complacency.
I am really curious about the times to come and how new generations of visitors and vendors will shape the market or how the master plan of the city of St. Louis will be put into action (or has it already been put into action?).
All in all: Soulard Market remains one of my favorite ones for its wide diversity in products and visitors, for its down to earth approach, and maybe for the stubbornness to remain as it is.
A little link list
- The official website – kind of …
- The one of the Historic Soulard Market Merchants Association Official Website soulardmarketstl.com
- On facebook
- On Twitter
- Soulard market on the St. Louis city site
- Master plan of the city of St. Louis concerning the market
- An interesting perspective on the development of the Boston Public Market and its impact on gentrification – from untappedcities.com
- A nice video presenting the market from Phil Stephenson