Soulard Farmers Market - Grapes
The Soulard Farmers Market, located in downtown St. Louis, Missouri, is one of the largest and oldest farmers market's west of the Mississippi. The market had humble beginnings in 1779 as a flat meadow that farmers could come to, to sell their locally raised fruit, vegetables, dairy, and livestock. In 1795, Antoine Soulard was given a 122 acre plot that included the market grounds by his father-in-law, Gabriel Cerre. But, when the United States made the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, Antoine's claim to the land was put in jeopardy. It wasn't until 1836, after a lengthy legal battle and Antoine's death, that his widow, Julia Soulard, acquired the deed to the land. In 1841, she officially set aside two city blocks to be used as a farmers market. Since 1841 the market has had two main buildings, one that was built in the late 1840's and was almost destroyed in the great tornado of 1896, and the second that replaced the first in 1929. The 1929 building is modeled after a 1419 foundling hospital in Florence, Italy, and was built in the Renaissance style.
The Soulard Farmers' Market remains an open-air market housing various stands that are available for rent. The Market has an atmosphere like the good ol days, with merchants barking out special prices as they compete for your business amongst neighboring merchants. On a weekend, the market is typically packed with merchants and customers. The cacophony of colors, sounds and smells is amazing.
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