2021-May

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Ta Da! Please enjoy the one and only Graduation Map of Saint Louis. This is a culmination of all good things to be found about growing up in Saint Louis. It was created to help your student “fly away” with strong roots from home. #FlyAwayHome

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You can buy a nifty magnet for the dorm refrigerator at the Nook in Ladue for $15

The Nook

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Green Spiral Tours has five of the above shopping bags left for $10 each

Pick one up at the amazing Green Spiral studio near the Lion Gates in UCity!

GreenSpiralTours@gmail.com

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Here’s an adorable small pillow you can buy on Zazzle for about $35 each.

It is 12″ x 16″ and very durable; it makes a perfect car pillow or dorm room accent pillow.

Zazzle Fly Away Home Pillow

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“Fly Away Home” is the one and only Graduation Map of Saint Louis.

Saint Louis is an amazing city,

and for those who want to take a deeper dive,

here’s the decoder guide for the story-map:

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It’s fun to watch Saint Louis fall in love with itself,

and sometimes young people go away to find out there’s no place like home.

Isn’t life funny that way?

#LoveYourCity

#FlyAwayHome

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Welcome to Green Spiral Tours:

adventure maps

& field trips

designed to help you

fall in love with your place on the planet.

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2014-08-06 Windcrest Tutu Square LOGO small best

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Field trips spiral the calendar,

 and are one-of-a-kind,

off-the-beaten track adventures.

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Typically a $10 per family donation

is requested as a donation

by the trip leader.

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2010-09-22 Citygarden Rainbow Umbrella Arch

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Founded by nature teacher

Jessie Hoagland in 2008,

Green Spiral Tours offers a way

to supercharge your learning

in the company of curious

and like-minded others.

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Feb 2020 marks the beginning of

Year Eleven

for Green Spiral Tours.

While families remain the central focus,

everyone is welcome on all adventures at any time.

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We have lots of grandparents, nannies,

architects, landscapers, and yoga teachers

on any given adventure.

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2016-lake

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To find out about the next adventure,

join the Green Spiral invitation list

by submitting the form below.

Emails come out about once per month,

or when inspiration strikes.

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The emails are fun and educational —

they give you the bigger picture,

while the field trips bring big ideas

down to practice.

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Lots of people are inspired to follow along

with their own adventures,

at their own pace,

and on their own time.

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2012-05-12 Thies Farms Frog

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Unplug, play with your city

and get connected

to nature and each other.

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Scroll down to see where we’ve been,

and to collect ideas about where you can go

on your own.

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2016 Best Photo

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Or

Buy these adorable

Green Spiral Adventure Maps

on Amazon.com

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And because “less is more,”

keep a sharp eye out for Green Spiral emails,

and know that your email address

will never be sold or shared.

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Let the Wild Rumpus Begin!

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Stardate: April 15, 2021

Quick reminder that NOW is the time to go on a bluebell hunt!

Here’s a lovely micro-map from an earlier Green Spiral post…

Check the earlier Green Spiral blog for details on this hike…

BLUEBELL HIKE

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OR, check the official Rockwoods Reservation trail-map by the MDC…

ROCKWOODS RESERVATION

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Green Spiral believes this to be the most magical bluebell hike,

but YOU be the judge.

If you find a better bluebell hike, please post so below!

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Happy Hunting…

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Stardate: 2021-April-08

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Let’s go on a Tennessee Williams hunt!

Tennessee Williams considered himself to be a poet first,

but here’s why he’s America’s greatest playwright:

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Spring in Saint Louis is the perfect time to go on a Tennessee Williams hunt.

Here are your clues…

starting with Tennessee’s birthday in March,

you can go looking for the violets that have broken the rocks…

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Tennessee’s grave-marker at Calvary Cemetery can be hard to find.

Take a picnic on a lovely Sunday and

look for the red-bud tree that blooms in early April…

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The marker is located in a corner of section 15A –

pick up a map that looks like this

at the front gates of Calvary Cemetery.

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CALVARY CEMETERY

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In 1918 Thomas “Tennessee” Williams moved to Saint Louis as a child when his father, a traveling shoe salesman, was promoted to a job at the International Shoe Company.

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Remember this would have been in the wake of WWI and during the 1918 pandemic.

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The International Shoe Company is now the City Museum, and the first home of Tennessee Williams has been occupied by Our Little Haven, a home for traumatized children.

Thomas’s father was an abusive alcoholic…

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Our Little Haven is located across the street from the Saint Louis Basilica,

where services were held for Tennessee Williams upon his death in 1983.

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You can buy timed tickets to the City Museum,

where Thomas got a job as a teen and escaped via the “Stairs to the Roof”,

so a Tennessee Williams hunt works well as a pandemic adventure.

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CITY MUSEUM

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Perhaps a better starting point might be Writer’s Corner

and Left Bank Books.

LEFT BANK BOOKS

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Start at the Tennessee Williams sculpture

and have a warm weather walk around the CWE neighborhood looking for clues….

Here’s your adventure map!

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Much was written by Tennessee Williams and much has been written about him.

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We’ll leave the words to professional writers like the Wash U Professor

for which this story-map was created.

Professor Schvey discovered a “new” poem by Tennessee Williams

and wrote a whole book about it!

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BLUE SONG

by Henry Schvey

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It’s fun to watch Saint Louis fall in love with Tennessee Williams,

and perhaps Tennessee Williams is also falling in love with Saint Louis.

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Be sure to post clues about your Tennessee Williams adventures below,

and finish your hunt at the annual Tennessee Williams Festival in May!

TWSTL

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Stardate: 20-Mar-2021

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If kids could vote, Rocketship Park would win the prize as favorite playground.

It’s a launchpad for fun!

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Rocketship Playground is located in Deer Creek Park, and a warm day near the vernal equinox is a particularly nice time to visit. Most people who visit America’s national parks never stray far from the parking lot and the same is true of Deer Creek Park. If you are one of the few who likes to get off the beaten track, this map’s for you!

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Rendezvous with friends at Rocketship Playground, search for the “secret steps” down to the creek, and start exploring. Then follow the bouncing star over the bridge, along the creek, and hunt for the secret spring, the “ghost trolley” and climbing boulders. You get the idea; the map is a starting point for your explorations but here’s a journey guide to tell you exactly where to go and what to look for:

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If you begin from the top of the park (near the ghost trolley and MayPop), look for three waterproof adventure maps that were hidden in the daffodils on the Spring Equinox, and if you find one, let us know below!

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Here’s the secret spring you’re looking for; it tends to dry out as the summer wears on, so spring is a good time to go. Keep an eye out for water sprites and woodland faeries! Building strong imaginations in early life is the secret to creating strong innovators later in life.

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Download the above map for print out

or save your ink and buy our book of ten adventure maps on Amazon,

HERE

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If you want to make your very own adventure map,

here’s a black & white download:

ETSY

Print out the map, draw your unique adventures in stick-figures and send them for us to see!

Send us your very own adventure map, funny family essay or children’s artwork,

we’ll print the very best of them for all to see!

Enter submissions via email to Green Spiral Tours @ gmail.com

REI customers love our adventure maps.

They sell out in about a week!

#PlayOutside

REI

10-March-2021

Three Flags Day has come and gone again, without much fanfare. March 10th is the birthday of Saint Louis, which is possibly the most fascinating city on the planet. Three Flags Day is the day three flags flew over Saint Louis, in succession, as the Louisiana Purchase passed to America from France. Saint Louis was under Spanish jurisdiction at the time. On March 10, 1804, first the Spanish, then the French, then the American flag were hoisted in succession over Saint Louis.

Remember Aaron Burr, who shot Alexander Hamilton? Shortly after that dastardly deed, Aaron Burr hatched a conspiracy with the Saint Louis governor to take Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mexico, AND the Louisiana Purchase, to create a new empire, installing the brilliant Theodosia as empress. As often happens, the seditionists lost their nerve, the conspiracy fell apart and Aaron Burr ran off into Indian territory, never to be heard from again.

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Speaking of little known stories, check out this movie about Toussaint Louverture. Known as the “Black Napolean” from Haiti, Louverture single-handedly stopped the french Napolean from sailing ships straight up the Mississippi River to set up camp in Saint Louis. We owe our very democracy to this brave fellow, and more people need to know about him and Three Flags Day in Saint Louis.

These two stories are little gems, and can be found in this 1960s book of Saint Louis history written by Ernest Kirschten, an editorial writer for the Saint Louis Post Dispatch. See why it’s important to read books? There’s treasure hidden inside the books!

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Here’s the opening quote in the above book:

“We may be through with the past, but the past is not through with us.” – Bergen Evans.

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Saint Louis has long been a battleground,

and somehow the battle ultimately tilts towards the light.

If history is written by the victors,

then let’s go looking for Three Flag Day adventures,

and keep historic victories alive.

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If you know of a “Three Flags Day” adventure,

please post below!

2021-March-06

Mark your calendars on March 6th for a Harriet & Dred Scott adventure hunt; the Old Courthouse in downtown Saint Louis is a good starting point. March 6th is the anniversary of the preposterous Supreme Court decision in 1857 that decided “Any person descended from Africans, whether enslaved or free, is not a citizen of the United States.”

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For every action there is a reaction — the Supreme Court got it wrong and reaction to that judgement helped spark the Civil War. Your destination is the Harriet & Dred Scott sculpture that faces the Arch and the Mississippi River. It’s sitting on a slave auction site.

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The Old Courthouse in Saint Louis is a very majestic building and stands a living temple to the Rule of Law. It’s modeled after the Vatican and was built at the same time as the US Capitol in Washington. It’s free to visit and important for children to do so. Enter through front doors and explore the exhibits; kids especially like the underground railroad and finding the secret staircases that lead up to the top of the cupola. Here’s a previous adventure guide with clues on how best to do that:

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The Old Courthouse is incredibly grand and worthy of many repeat visits. Don’t forget to say hello to Harriet Scott, Lucy Delaney and Frankie Freedom on your way into the building, as women are often behind many successful struggles for freedom.

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Not far from the Old Courthouse is the home of Dred Scott’s lawyer, who was Eugene Field’s father, Roswell Field. Eugene Field was a poet who became famous for his children’s poems, notably Wynken, Blinken and Nod. Eugene Field loved toys, so the Field House also houses a toy collection and interesting toy exhibits.

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The Field Museum is located near the Old Courthouse but too far to walk; it’s fun to visit during the holidays to enjoy the home in full seasonal splendor, and maybe to pick up an old-fashioned wind-up toy to add to your collection.

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The tour of the home is quite interesting, but more suited for older children as are the changing exhibits, including the exhibits on Dred Scott and Saint Louis history. It’s sort of dear to know that Saint Louis children collected pennies to help save this historic home for posterity.

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Your third destination on the Harriet and Dred Scott adventure hunt is Calvary Cemetery, where Dred Scott and Harriet Scott are buried. Their grave-sites were hard to find in the past, and can still be hard to find, which makes it a worthy adventure hunt. Dred Scott’s new gravestone makes the hunt a little easier. See section 19 on the Calvary Map:

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Many people bring pennies to leave as an offering; place them Abe Lincoln side up!

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March 6th is a great day to go on a Harriet and Dred Scott adventure hunt, or any day for that matter. They say Saint Louis is the most fascinating city in America, it’s also an important city, a historic city, a legendary city. Be sure to bring your pennies with you and then share the wealth with others.

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Speaking of pennies, there’s a penny drive to help pay off the balance of the Harriet and Dred Scott statue recently installed near the Old Courthouse. There are 22 more sites you can visit on your Harriet & Dred Scott adventure hunt!

Dred Scott Heritage Foundation

22-Feb-2020

In the wake of “frozen Texas hellscape week”,

here’s a map of the Saint Louis energy grid:

Energy Matters

This map was created in 2019 and fact-checked by the League of Women Voters.

It went out to 55,000 voters in early 2020.

They say Texan Voters shouldn’t have to know about their energy grid, but let’s politely disagree!

It’s important to know how your house is heated and where your electricity comes from.

Here’s a decoder guide for those curious to learn more…

Please feel free to download and share the map and decoder page as you wish.

Also! Be sure to update your notes now that America will be rejoining the Paris Climate Accord.

Energy Matters!

2021-02-20

A warm snowy day is a perfect day for a short winter hike!

Please enjoy the first animated adventure map of a Saint Louis park….

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This is a short 40 minute adventure suitable for all children including small children.

Here’s where to park, what to bring and what to look for when you get there…

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By the way, you can buy alpaca foot insoles at the Midtown Farmers Market in UCity.

Alpacas of Troy

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You can download the above map & journey guide to personalize on your own,

or buy our book of ten adventure maps here…

Urban Wild Adventures on Amazon

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Love your place on the planet,

give the gift of adventure,

and let the wild rumpus begin!

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Viola! The first French story-map of Saint Louis in over 100 years, according to the Saint Louis History Museum.

After many field trips and much research, this map was created with the help of an 8th grade French teacher who likes to take students on local field trips. You can still visit many of these sites during the pandemic!

The journey begins at ​Laclede’s Landing where the streets are still cobblestone and the signs are still in French. This marks the spot of the first French trading village built by french fur trader Pierre Laclede​. It is here that the future city of Saint Louis was named in honor of ​King Louis IX of France.

French culture is firmly embedded in the architecture of Saint Louis, as evidenced by ​City Hall​, a replica of the Hotel de Ville (city hall) in Paris, noted for its beauty and lighting. Here’s the very beautiful Hotel de Ville in Paris:

Powell Symphony Hall is modeled after the palace at Versailles; a beautiful stained glass window can be found at ​St. Francis Xavier Church and Union Station is modeled after a french fortress. A renowned mosaic panel of King Louis IX can be somewhat safely explored during covid times in the vestibule at the ​Saint Louis Basilica​. (Buy the small booklet in the bookshop to enhance your appreciation and enjoyment).

The ​Fleur de Lis​, symbol of french monarchy, was added to the ​Saint Louis flag in 1964 and it’s fun to hunt for fleur de lis motifs springing up with increasing frequency throughout Saint Louis. Potagers​ (“kitchen gardens”) and ​mansard​ ​roofs​ can be found throughout the city.

Soulard hosts the second largest ​Mardi Gras​ in America, and ​Let Them Eat Art​ springboards from “Let them eat Cake”. ​Left Bank Books​ is named after that famous arrondissement in Paris that is filled with bookshops, thinkers and writers.

A vibrant number of language classes and cultural events can be found at ​Alliance Francaise​, while a French film festival is traditionally hosted in February by Webster University’s ​Centre Francophone​. The historic ​Chatillon-DeMenil House​ hosts a Bastille Day Celebration each year on July 14th. French colonial homes are preserved by the​ Les Amis​ organization, which also publishes a map on the​ Creole Corridor​.

Croissants, macaroons, crepes and traditional french cuisine can be found throughout Saint Louis, as well as chocolates by ​Bissingers​, a favorite chocolatrie of empress Josephine.

All french wines owe a debt to Missouri vineyards, due to the ​phylloxera​ bug which destroyed the entire French vineyard crop in 1863, after which vines from Missouri were grafted onto French vine stock. On a nice day, it’s fun to take a champagne picnic out to Calvary Cemetery where the famous french fur trappers are buried. (By the way, Trader Joes has fantastic croissants in the freezer section.)

If you need a hug during these challenging pandemic days, Green Spiral has these “French Lover” pillows available for about $35. You can order them on Zazzle or pick one up at the Green Spiral offices near the Lion Gates in UCity. Just send a note to GreenSpiralTours@gmail.com

Or buy them on Zazzle to have one shipped to your home:

https://www.zazzle.com/french_lover_pillow_saint_louis-256152131763424292

Here’s the zazzle link if you want to buy 5×7 note-cards:

https://www.zazzle.com/z/juosq8xd

Love your City & Vive Saint Louis!

The City of Sparkling Lights

21-June-2020

Be a Berry Good Leader

Remember that classic children’s book “Blueberries for Sal”? Maybe we should write a new book – Blueberries for Sam!

Blueberries for Sam

When the Fourth of July rolls around, it’s time to mix red berries with blue by turning your thoughts to blueberry picking. Here’s an easy cake you can make with berries from your very own garden someday.

Blueberries for Uncle Sam

Good luck, bad luck, who knows? When Green Spiral Tours started in 2008, it was hard to find even a few families willing to skip school to pick strawberries; but twelve years later, strawberry picking is now so popular it requires reservations, — so we shift our gaze to blueberries.

Yum

Blueberry picking is a wonderful inter-generational activity because it’s an activity not too tall for youngsters and not too low to the ground for grandparents. It’s also something you can do that honors social distancing during the pandemic.

Better Together

Unfortunately, there are fewer blueberry picking locations than strawberry picking locations. (Entrepreneurial Alert! We need more urban u-pick berry farms!) In the age of covid-19, farms are now booking on-line reservations.

Watch the Wind Ridge Farm web-site for their next u-pick date, and jump on it when it appears.

https://www.windridgefarm.net/Pickingupdate/Pickingupdate.htm

Overview from Shadow Carver on Google

Here’s a run-down of other locations for your general future knowledge:

Babb Blueberry Farm in Beufort – Babb Blueberry Farm is run by a lovely couple who uses organic fertilizers, and no pesticides or herbicides. They also sell frozen blueberries and homemade jam and have an AirBnB near the lake. Located one hour west from the Arch along I-44, this is a small family operation with nice restrooms, a fishing pond and excellent hospitality. Bring a picnic lunch. Or, stop for lunch in Eureka, Pacific or at the Junie Moon Cafe in Union along the way. Babb Blueberry Farm keeps up on their Facebook posts, but always call before you go.

NOTE: In 2020 they were hit with late season frosts and lost 80% of their crops. So no more blueberry picking this year.

GPS: 2751 Highway 50, Beaufort, MO 63013 * (636) 667-1171

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Farmers Markets of Saint Louis – Berries are popular items at farmers markets and sell out quickly. There is no apostrophe in “farmers markets”, because it is literally a market for farmers, plural. Farmers Markets are business incubators, and at the core, farming is a business. If you want to support the local food movement, head for your local farmers market.

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Ozark Berry Farm – This farm offers blueberry, blackberry and elderberry picking from mid-June to mid-July. U-pick is by appointment, and is already sold out for 2020.
https://www.ozarkberryfarm.com/
552 Lick Creek Rd, Leasburg, MO 65535

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Thies Farm – The Thies family has been farming in Missouri since 1885 and now has three locations. Blueberries grown by Thies Farm can be purchased at their stores on location at the North Hanley, Maryland Heights and St. Charles location. By the way, the way to pronounce Thies Farm is like this: “TEES Farm”. Their online communications are sometimes confusing due to all the different locations. It’s best to call them by phone.

GPS: 4215 North Hanley Road, 63121 *(314) 429 – 5506 *
GPS: 3120 Maryland Heights Expressway; 63146 * (314) 469-7559 *
GPS: 3200 Greens Bottom Road St. Charles, MO 63304 * (636) 447-2230 *

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Wind Ridge Farms in New Melle – This family farm offers wagon rides for kids plus blueberry, blackberry and peach picking. It’s a bit of a drive from Saint Louis, but well worth it. By the way, peaches and blueberries are delicious together when served with a splash of cream.

Wind Ridge Farm is offering blueberry picking by appointment this year, so watch their web-site for the next date and “jump on it like a duck on a june-bug”, as they say.

Located one hour west of the Arch, along 40/64 just past Weldon Springs.
GPS: 3511 Highway F, New Melle 63341 * (636) 828-5900

Here’s that link again: https://www.windridgefarm.net/Pickingupdate/Pickingupdate.htm

Enjoy the wild rumpus!