My Week of Eating Locally -- and What I Learned

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Photo by Steve Truesdell
It is 4:15 p.m. on a Tuesday, and I'm sitting in a Starbucks' drive-through on the verge of delirium. "How did it get to this?" I berate myself as I order coffee and a chocolate croissant. "If this is what eating locally does to a person, count me out."

I am just eight hours into Day One of my "week of eating local" challenge, yet here I am in the parking lot of a multinational corporation, slurping down mass-produced Indonesian coffee and gobbling a defrosted pastry baked in San Francisco. As I suck down my caffeine fix and begin to come to, I try to figure out where I went wrong.<

My plan had been to spend May 6 through May 15 eating only foods sourced from within 150 miles of St. Louis. It was the locavore equivalent of a crash diet: no salt, no coffee, no olive oil, no Burgundy.

Admittedly, the parameters I'd chosen were somewhat arbitrary. "Think about what is important to you," I kept hearing when I asked the experts how to eat local. I never got a straight answer — because there isn't one. The group organizing St. Louis' Local Food Challenge — which kicks off for most participants on May 27 — set a 150-mile radius for its boundaries, but the rest was a bit nebulous. Did I have to stick to it every day, every meal? For how long? Are raw ingredients the most important metric, or can we include independent business such as craft breweries, which manufacture here even if they use hops from, say, Bavaria? As a prominent local chef would later tell me, "Once you start going down this path, you find yourself with questions, not answers."

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Clayton Farmers' Market Returns May 1

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The return of famers' markets all over the city is one of our favorite ways to tell it's finally spring. More and more local produce will become available in the coming weeks. all the way until fall. Sure, the Soulard Farmers' Market goes year-round, but what fun is that? (OK, lots.) The Clayton Farmers' Market opens Thursday, May 1, for the 2014 season.

See also: A Farewell to Summer at the Schlafly Farmers' Market

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Grove East Provisions, a European-Style Corner Shop and Cafe, Opens in April

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The future Grove East Provisions. | Google Maps Screenshot

Barry Kinder returned to St. Louis a few years ago after a stint in London as a musician. He was happy to be back, but he missed just being able to walk to the corner store and pick up fresh produce and everything he needed to make a healthy dinner. He began rehabbing buildings in St. Louis, and the idea to open such a place began to take root. After more than five years, he's finally opening East Grove Provisions at 3101 Arsenal.

See also: Concerts and Cocktails and Hipsters, Oh My! An Updated Guide to the Grove

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Maude's Market and CSA Calls It Quits

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Maude Bauschard in front of her Dutchtown shop. | Mabel Suen

After three years, Maude's Market (4219 Virginia Avenue; 314-353-4219) is closing. The market and CSA was a locavore's paradise in Dutchtown, but owner Maude Bauschard tells us she just couldn't make it work anymore.

See also: Maude's Market: Recipe for Apple-Stuffed Acorn Squash

"Essentially it plateaued. I never reached my goal of getting the number of CSA customers that I wanted to get," Bauschard says. "So at a certain point you just need to realize that it wasn't going to be viable anymore."

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Fresh Thyme Farmers' Market Adds Ballwin and Kirkwood for 2015

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Fresh Thyme Famers' Market announced last week that it's coming to Ballwin and Kirkwood in 2015, in addition to the already in-progress Fairview Heights store. It's part of a major expansion plan to bring the farmers' market-style stores to the Midwest.

See also: Fresh Thyme Farmers' Market to Replace Kmart in Fairview Heights

"St. Louis doesn't have this concept. It offers a convenient shopping experience at great value and great prices," CEO Chris Sherrell tells Gut Check. "We're really looking to become the stepping stone to a healthier lifestyle."


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Vincent Van Doughnut Scores Wholesale Deal with Straub's

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       Vincent Van Doughnuts. | Brian Marsden

Vincent Van Doughnut (@vinvandoughnut) -- the doughnut food truck -- is still angling for a bricks-and-mortor location, but starting February 21 it will be sold in Straub's Markets (multiple locations) across the city on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. That means you don't have to track down the mobile shop to score a delicious doughnut.

See also: Vincent Van Doughnut Truck Debuts Nov. 16

We talked to owner Brian Marsden about the collaboration and what it means for the Vincent Van Dougnut van, a.k.a. Clyde.

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Fields Foods Hopes to Become a Locavore Paradise in Lafayette Square

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       A rendering of the future grocery near Lafayette Square. | Fields Foods

Lafayette Square is one of the most historic neighborhoods in St. Louis, but developers Chris Goodson and Jeff Randol still thought something was missing. Goodson, a lifelong St. Louisan, has enjoyed seeing the area spring back to life in recent years and wanted to contribute to the momentum. His solution?

"Bring local farmers to a food desert and keep the area in the revival. People will leave if you don't keep it going," Goodson says.

In three short months, Goodson and Randol will open Fields Foods, a grocery store whose food and produce are all sourced from within 100 miles of St. Louis.

See also: Lafayette Square: The Food Lover's Guide to One of St. Louis' Tastiest 'Hoods

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A Farewell to Summer at the Schlafly Farmers' Market

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       Nothing says summer better than juicy peaches. | Cheryl Baehr

It's still technically summer for another week, and the blazing humid weather of the past few days makes us feel that pool season should go on forever. However, the temperature is dropping, slowly but surely, and before we know it, we will be busting out our favorite sweaters and making pumpkin tarts. In this spirit, we are looking back on summer's bounty through the lens of the Schfafly Farmers' Market (7260 Southwest Avenue, Maplewood; 314-241-2337).

See Also:
-SLOWednesday Farming & Fracking Discussion at Schlafly Bottleworks


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Shakespeare's Pizza Will Be at the Soulard Farmers' Market This Weekend

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Shakepeare's Pizza (225 South Ninth Street, Columbia; 573-449-2454) will be at the Soulard Farmer's Market (730 Carroll Street; 314-622-4180) starting this weekend. The booth will be selling Shakespeare's frozen pizzas as well as t-shirts and some other merchandise.

See also: Schnucks Adds Shakespeare's Frozen Pizza Due to High Demand

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Schnucks Chesterfield Undergoing Extensive Renovations, Will Remain Open

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Schnucks (141 Hilltown Village Center, Chesterfield; 636-532-2505) in Chesterfield will undergo an extensive remodel over the next few months to update the store according to the neighborhood's needs. Construction began earlier this month and is set to be completed early next year.

See also:
- Schnucks Adds Shakespeare's Frozen Pizza Due to High Demand
- Jilly's Cupcakes Closes Location, Inks Deal With Schnucks
- Six Solid Wine Values from the Shelves at Schnucks


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