Best Farmers' Market St. Louis 2011 - Tower Grove Farmers' Market
How do you know a farmers' market is no longer a bourgie affectation but an essential staple of city life? When the heat index is somewhere north of 150 degrees (OK, roughly), yet hundreds upon hundreds of St. Louisans turn out, clutching their reusable canvas shopping bags, eyeing the stands for the first peaches or sweet corn or tomatoes of the season, jostling for the year's last asparagus, nodding their heads in time to the live music and looking wistfully at the kids splashing in the fountain. This was the scene at Tower Grove Farmers' Market during the peak of this summer's dreadful heat. Crazy? Maybe. But how could you skip a morning at the market? Not only is there a cornucopia of fresh produce and meat from both sides of the river, but there's also artisan charcuterie, cheese and chocolate; baked goods; honey and preserves; and breakfast tacos so popular that their makers are about to open their own restaurant, Southwest Diner (keep up with their progress via Twitter: @SouthwestDiner). In a way you beat the heat shopping here: You'd need to make four or five stops to gather all the groceries assembled in this one place.