A beautiful sunny Saturday invited St. Louis area residents to the to try locally grown peaches. The annual Farmers' Market Peach Festival celebrates the spirit of farming and the competitive nature of selling homegrown produce. Big name farms, such as Eckard’s, to small family owned farms like the Baalman family were on hand to deliver patrons varieties of the fruit that symbolizes summer.
The Baalman family is a special family where the husband, Mark, is a farmer during the summer and a schoolteacher during the fall.
Maintaining 300 peach trees and over 4,000 tomato plants is hard with just two parents and three children. So Mark and his wife, Kristy, have help from the Mark’s seven brothers and sisters and his 23 nieces and nephews.
Although Thompson Farms doesn’t stand out the much at the farmers' market, the company has been selling soups and more for over a quarter of a century. Vern and Linda Thompson began selling jarred pickles, jams and other items, and as more and more people started realizing their knack for creating delicious, quality food, they began to grow their menu and the kitchen.
With the new space, they began creating soup and dip mixes. But as their business grew, so did Linda and Vern. Sadly, a year ago, the creator of the soup and dip mix business passed away leaving her hand written recipes to her husband. Vern sold the business and the recipes to the Dennis family who follow in Linda and Vern’s foot steps to “work together to continue to bring a great product to our customers, to make a fair profit from doing it, and maybe by the grace of God, to touch some lives, and make many new friends.”
Through the Dennis family, the legacy of Linda and Vern will live on and be shared that the Kirkwood Farmers' Market.
Along with these companies, the market was filled with other exclusive stores that have been able to stand out and make a name for themselves.
El Chico Bakery has been known for being one of the few Mexican bakeries in the St. Louis area. The name derived from the father and creator of the bakery, Mr. “Chico” Rivera. His nickname means “little” or “small” and he was given this name for his size.
But the name was also given to the bakery because of its size. Although the building on Cherokee St. may be small, the business is not. El Chico creates authentic empanadas, or fruit pies, which is hard to get anywhere near town.