As calendars flip to May and warmer weather settles in, farmers markets will begin opening throughout Jefferson County.
Markets are slated to be held this year in Arnold, Cedar Hill, Crystal City, De Soto, Herculaneum and Hillsboro, with Arnold and De Soto kicking off the season May 1.
Two cities that have not had a farmers market for a while will open ones this season, with a market in Herculaneum opening on May 4 and another new one opening in Crystal City on May 9.
The Cedar Hill Farmers Market will open for the season on May 7, and the Hillsboro Farmers Market is set to open May 12.
The markets will be open through various dates in October.
A new certified kitchen is expected to be up and running shortly after the
De Soto Farmers Market officially opens for the season.
Melissa McAlpine, executive director of Get Healthy De Soto, said the organization is spending an estimated $57,000 on the kitchen. It is being funded through money collected from fundraisers and a $45,000 Jefferson Foundation grant.
The market’s grand opening for the season is set for May. 1, and then it will be open from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays through Oct. 16.
McAlpine said the kitchen is expected to be open in mid-May.
“We are hoping vendors will utilize it for prepping samples,” she said. “It also could help extend the life of some of the vendors’ product. It has a lot of potential. It could be used as an incubator kitchen for a caterer, and I would like to (use it for) a summer food program through DESE next year.”
When the season opens Saturday, live music will be performed from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Members of the POP (Power of Produce) Club, which is open to children ages 4 through 12, will receive $2 worth of tokens to spend on produce.
The first day of the market season also will feature a tractor and Little League parade, which was postponed a week after rain on April 24.
The market will unveil its new token design for the season. A contest was held last year to design tokens for debit and EBT sales. McAlpine said Xanthus Watkins of Vineland Elementary School won the debit token design contest, and Trinity Shipp of De Soto High won the EBT token design contest.
She said customers and vendors will be asked to wear masks and sanitize their hands when they enter the market to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“We don’t want our customers to feel unsafe,” McAlpine said.
For more information about the market, go to its page on the Get Healthy
De Soto website, gethealthydesoto.org, or its Facebook page or call 314-471-3681.
Amy Dickemper found herself overrun with tomatoes from the garden her husband, Jeff, tends to.
“I canned so many tomatoes last year,” Dickemper said. “I had so many I didn’t know what to do with them. I thought it would be nice to have a place where we could sell our extra produce and give back to the community.”
That led to her creating the Crystal City Farmers Market, which will operate from 1-5 p.m. on Sundays at the Grace Presbyterian Church, 105 Bailey Road. The market is slated to open May 9 and run through most of October, Dickemper said.
She is working with city officials to make the market a nonprofit community venture.
Dickemper said she started signing up vendors for the first market at the start of April, and as of April 22, she had 13 vendors confirmed to be at the opening day. They will sell produce, plants, crafts and baked goods.
“I’m still working on getting more vendors,” Dickemper said.
Dickemper said she hopes the market, which is the first one to operate in the city for at least five years, will grow over time to include live music performances and festivals throughout the season. She also said she hopes the market will encourage people to explore Crystal City.
“Festus has done such a good job setting up their Main Street, and the Crystal side is beautiful,” Dickemper said. “I would like to see that continue into downtown Crystal. It is my hope the Farmers Market will entice people to come into Crystal City because it is a beautiful town.”
Dickemper said customers and vendors will be encouraged to stay 6 feet apart to help stem the spread of COVID-19, but masks will not be required.
For more information about the market, go to ccfarmersmarket.com or the market’s Facebook page.
Mayor Bill Haggard said he has wanted to reestablish a market in the city since Herculaneum Today and Tomorrow stopped operating one in 2016.
Herculaneum market master Rena Klahs is fulfilling his wish.
She spearheaded the effort to open one in that city after being a vendor at the Cedar Hill market last year.
“This is a big venture for me. I’m looking forward to it and getting out there and meeting people in the area where I live,” said Klahs, who along with her husband, Jay, owns Sandcrest Haven Farm in Hillsboro.
The Herculaneum market will be open from 4-7 p.m. on Tuesdays from May 4 through Oct. 12. It will be at Herculaneum City Park, 776 Joachim Avenue, under the pavilion near Kade’s Playground.
Klahs said she became familiar with farmers markets in August 2020 when she started selling tomatoes at the Cedar Hill Farmers Market.
“I had a garden with too many tomatoes,” Klahs said. “I couldn’t donate them to my normal charity of choice, so I had a plethora of tomatoes. I called over there (the Cedar Hill market) to sell them there. Things snowballed from there. I started baking and the baked goods took off. I then started making jams and jellies. I thought I would like to do this somewhere else on another day.”
Klahs saw that Herculaneum did not have a market, and that is why she chose the location.
She said 16 vendors are interested in being at the opening day, and she continues to hear from other vendors.
“I want people to grow local, raise local and shop local,” she said.
Klahs said customers and vendors will not be required to wear masks, but it will be recommended.
For more information about the market, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Market master Carmelita Davidson said she has been fielding plenty of phone calls from people wanting to know when the market will open this year.
They will not have to wait long since the market at 10533 Business Hwy. 21 is set to be open from 3:30-6:30 p.m. May 12. Then, the market will be held at the same time every Wednesday through Oct. 13.
She said after averaging seven vendors last year, the market is expected to have 10 vendors this year.
The HerbNSprawl food truck, which sells homemade food with locally sourced ingredients, is expected to return this year on a more regular basis, after being a part-time vendor in 2020.
“It was a hit,” Davidson said.
She also said representatives from the University of Missouri Extension plan to take part in about half the markets this year to share nutrition tips and help families learn how to eat healthier.
“It is a good way for families to learn about eating healthy and learning new recipes,” Davidson said.
She said customers and vendors will be required to wear masks, and everyone will be asked to keep at least 6 feet of space between each other when possible to help stem the spread of COVID-19.
For more information about the market, go to its Facebook page, call 314-650-3830 or email email@example.com.
The Arnold Farmers Market is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this season.
The market is located near the entrance of Arnold City Park on Bradley Beach Road off Jeffco Boulevard near the Meramec River.
It will be open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon from May 1 through Oct. 23.
The market first opened in May 2012 in front of Fox Middle School with seven vendors. It moved to Arnold City Park in 2013, and since then has morphed from temporary vendor spaces set up in tents to a permanent wooden structure for vendors with utilities and water, providing numerous spaces for vendors. A pavilion also has been built at the Arnold market.
Teresa Kohut, who has been the market manager for the past nine years, said at least 36 vendors are expected to be at this year’s opening date for the market.
She said last year’s market averaged about 25 vendors, even with space being limited because of concerns about the spread of COVID-19.
She said the market brought in $6,010 last year, with those funds going into the city’s general fund.
“It has grown so much, especially in the quality of the vendors we have,” Kohut said. “It has become a destination location for produce sellers. That is huge for us.
“We have 12 to 14 produce vendors, two meat vendors, two honey vendors, six to seven egg vendors, compared to when we first started having occasional egg vendors and not having a meat vendor.”
The city is partnering with the Jefferson County Library’s Arnold Branch to bring musical acts to the market throughout the year. Paul Jarvis, a Willie Nelson impersonator, is scheduled to perform the first day of the season.
For information, go to its page on the city of Arnold website at arnoldmo.org, visit its Facebook page or call 636-282-2380.
Cedar Hill Farmers Market organizers hope to build off the momentum they saw toward the end of last year’s season.
Marilyn Enlow, assistant market manager, said the market saw its vendor roster grow from about five in July to 26 in the final two months of the 2020 season.
“We could have between 25 and 40 vendors (this season),” Enlow said.
The market is located at 8100 S. Industrial Drive. It is open from 3-7 p.m. on Fridays from May 7 through Oct. 29.
Enlow said she expects to have a vendor selling poultry and two beef vendors at each market, after adding those products in 2020. Vendors will sell homemade crafts, baked goods, jellies, homemade body care products and coffee from Grebe’s Premium Blends at the markets.
Enlow said masks will not be required at the market, which is mainly in an open-air setting at the Peace Pantry.
For information, go to its Facebook page or call market master Ray Underwood at 314-779-4204.