Soulard Market shoppers are fortunate to have another first class vendor. Garden Spot Market, a outlet of Rick's Garden Spot Meats, based in Salem, Illinois, has opened inside the main building, right across the aisle from the Soulard Spice Shop. Meats, old time canned goods and other products, plus hot lunches, are all available on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturdays.
Marcus Shupp, one of several family members running the outlet, is extremely enthusiastic to be at the Soulard Market, and he is overjoyed at the reception the shop and its products have received.
He notes that "we have been in the meat processing business for about 14 years. We started out as a custom only processing plant, and we evolved over the years into what we are now - a USDA inspected meat processor."
The benefit to Soulard Market shoppers is that they can purchase meat products which are locally produced. Marcus observes that "the knowledgeable consumer wants to know where their food is coming from and exactly what the animals (for the meat part of our business) have been fed. All of our fresh meats come from small, local farmers. We know each one of them. We can tell you exactly what farm produced what, how the animal was raised and what they were fed."
He adds that "all of our meat is ‘naturally’ raised. No hormones have been used to ‘greenhouse grow’ or to grow them faster and bigger."
He also mentions that "all beef is dry aged for 10 to 14 days to bring out the best flavor. Store bought box meat does not compare to the quality of good, aged steer. Finally, all our pork, lamb and goat are fresh."
Marcus explains that "we are large enough that we can meet the needs of our customers, but we are small enough to care about each individual person and family we come in contact with in the course of providing service."
In addition to meats, honey, pickled dilly corn, maple syrup, salsa, a spectrum of sugar-free jams and many other canned goods are stocked on the store shelves. Marcus mentions that "all of our canned goods are prepared for us by the Amish community in Holmes County, Ohio. All canned goods are of the old fashioned nature, which means that very little or no preservatives are used in the canning process. Simply said, they are prepared just the way our grandparents and earlier generations would have done it, naturally!
"Our maple syrup is tapped and cooked at a small family operated business in central Illinois. The honey is from right here in southern Illinois and is minimally processed - just enough to prevent the product from crystalizing in the jar. The jams and jellies come from the Miller's, a husband/wife operated small business. Once again, they strive to make their products as natural as possible," Marcus states.
He goes on to explain that "our hot lunches are prepared in our inspected facility before being served in our store at Soulard. All meals are prepared fresh each day and in a home style manner. For example, the mashed potatoes that we serve are actual potatoes that we peel, cook and mash to provide in our meals. They are not instant."
Marcus comments that "we also have deli sandwiches available. They are made fresh with your choice of lunch meat and cheese and are sold from our deli case," he says.
"Our business is a family business, and participants include my parents - Rick & Jean, my brother and his wife - Jordan & Jeri, my two sisters - Lucia & Melissa, and my wife Charlou and I," Marcus concludes.
For additional information, visit their web site at http://www.ricksgardenspotmeats.com/ or e-mail Marcus at firstname.lastname@example.org. The store is definitely a must visit for Soulard shoppers. Pictured is Marcus displaying some of the meat products and stocking the canned goods shelves.