Schlafly Farmers Market
Too lazy to wake up in time to get to the Tower Grove Farmers Market before everything's been bought? Me too. Lucky for us, there's another option: Schlafly Bottleworks' Wednesday afternoon Farmers Market. With upwards of 40 vendors (some of my favorites include Baetje Farms, Ozark Forest Mushrooms, and Biver Farms), it's a large affair, full of all sorts of goodies. The Schlafly team arranged a special media day visit plus dinner a few weeks back, which also happened to be a day where it was hot as Hades outside. Smart thinking: dehydrate us to make the beer even more delicious.
We all wandered around, taking in the options—fruit (including white raspberries, which I didn't know existed), cheese, beautiful veggies, more cheese—then stopped by The Tamale Man's tent for a glass of Agua Fresca. If you haven't had Tamale Man's tamales or ice cold agua fresca, make sure you remedy that.
Nothing gets the appetite going like shopping. The Tower Grove market has Kitchen Kulture's confusingly amazing egg sandwich, but Schlafly has a whole restaurant. Who doesn't love shopping local then eating and drinking local?
Before heading inside, we took a walk through their enormous garden, helping to supplement the restaurant's local-focus. If you recall my interview with KT Ayers from earlier this year, you'll catch more insight into that.
Another reason to stick around for dinner is Ayers' new Farmers Menu, a set of specials where all ingredients come from a 100-mile radius of the restaurant. On our visit, we got a big ol' tomato caprese plate, lamb kebabs, a veggie sauté, and, my personal favorite, the burger. Any burger topped with local goat cheese and crispy bacon will get a thumbs up from me. The dessert, a goats cheese cheesecake, was a great way to finish out the meal—and that's coming from someone who thinks most cheesecakes are gross.
The most important part of our dinner wasn't the food or farmers though. No, it was the St. Louis-exclusive Expo IPA. Eight hop varieties, three continents. I'm admittedly not a big hop-head, but what brewers have created is well balanced enough that I was able to enjoy a bottle or six. You can get it on draught or in six packs at either of Schlafly's locations.
Summary: you should spend your next free Wednesday afternoon shopping local at the Schlafly Farmers Market, then go inside and fill yourself with their farmers menu (or regular) dishes and beer.