Ferry Building Marketplace
One Ferry Building
San Francisco, California 94111
Farmers Market is open on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings.
It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing to be able to wake up at 7:30am on a Saturday, grab my canvas shopping bag (and/or my French shopping basket), and drive down to the Embarcadero for the Ferry Building’s Farmers Market, a mere three miles from my apartment. The experience of the Ferry Building’s Farmers Market is far from ordinary, as we San Franciscans are lucky to be in fairly close proximity to a mecca of agricultural bounty – the outlying cities of Petaluma, Watsonville, Santa Cruz, Healdsburg, Sebastopol, as well as the Central Valley, are full of produce, dairy farms, artisanal cheeses, wine, you name it – it is made somewhere nearby. The quality and variety of produce is unparalleled, in my book. The best part of the Ferry Plaza market is that the merchants are hand selected – operated by the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA) – all of the vendors are local and most of them are certified organic (or working on their certification).
First stop, Blue Bottle Coffee Co., located outside of the Marketplace (there’s another kiosk inside too). The line is already long at 8:30am, but wait patiently for the $3.00 cup of iced coffee with vanilla soymilk that is pretty close to the nectar of the Gods where coffee is concerned (New Orleans chicory yum). For the regular drip coffee, each cup is brewed to order – hence the wait, and the price…but it is so worth it.
One of my favorite vendors is Marin Gourmet. They have samples galore at their tent, and they MAKE you try them (you can get full just by standing there for a few minutes). My favorite product they have is Affi’s Aubergine Pesto, a very flavorful mix of roasted eggplant and garlic, great to eat with pita chips or on bread. Luckily, if you can’t make it to the Ferry Building, you can get their things at Whole Foods & Andronico’s. Next door is the Della Fattoria tent, showcasing baskets and baskets of bread of all varieties, definitely worth checking out. After an amuse bouche of aubergine pesto, you might be ready to get your grub on. The solution is in the Hayes Street Grill stand.
It’s pretty impressive that these guys can run a pretty organized line in a makeshift kitchen. In place of dupes on a slide (thank you, Kitchen Confidential), they use bright orange post-it notes stuck to the end of the counter. I’ve had the chorizo scramble, and the Hobbs bacon, tomato and eggs on a baguette. The Early Girl tomatoes topping my chorizo scramble the first time I had it were, I kid you not, the best freaking tomatoes I have ever had in my entire life. I would say it was close to a religious experience. HSG makes pretty hearty fare, and it gave us energy to keep powering through the farmers market, which was beginning to get packed (and it was only 9am).
Here are some more photos:
A bounty of peppers, baby artichokes, and Early Girl tomatoes
See what I mean? Produce that not only looks amazing, but is absolutely fantastic. How do I know? Because most of the vendors will let you sample what they have. I love the robustly flavored Early Girl Tomatoes at Dirty Girl Produce based out of Santa Cruz. Their little booth is quite busy, because of the cases of dry farmed Early Girls and the selections of beans, haricots verts, carrots, and mixed greens.
If you’re a tomato lover, look out for Green Zebras and Lemon Drops, from Devoto Gardens (Sebastopol).
My friend AJ swears by Marin Sun Farms (Point Reyes) for meat – they have a pretty impressive assortment of cuts. And they sell the avant garde as well….goat spare ribs, chicken heads….not my cup of tea but I’m sure someone out there eats that. A quick stop by G.L. Alfieri Farms (Escalon) yields a sampling of nuts and almond brittle – they specialize in fruits & nuts. Try the honeycomb from Marshall’s Farm American Honey(American Canyon), then of course, stop at Cowgirl Creamery for some cheese to go with the honey.
Here are a few more photos worth sharing:
Della Fattoria breads, a gaggle of grapes, Dirty Girl’s Early Girls, and a variety of eggplant