to market, to market: scenes from the sf ferry building.

One of my favorite things to do in the entire world is to head to one of our great outdoor markets.  Farmer’s Markets are a commonplace thing in Europe, where the refrigerator units are small, necessitating daily shopping. Here in San Francisco, we have a plethora of supermarkets that stock good produce year round so the Farmer’s Market is more of an attraction than a regular shopping stop for many working people.  When I have time to make it down to the Ferry Building on a market day, it’s less of a shopping trip and more of an exploration!
The Ferry Plaza Farmers Market is a California certified farmers market operated by the nonprofit Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA). The market is known for its high quality produce, other fresh farm products, and artisanal foods (though you will pay a pretty penny at many of these stalls).  Many of San Francisco’s best known chefs shop here, for personal or professional use, and you may run into them during a busy Saturday market day.  It is estimated that over 25,000 people visit this market every week.
dry farmed tomatoes

There are so many fantastic vendors here, like Tomatero Farms (where I get my kale, chard, and other bunches of greens at 3 for $5), Dirty Girl Produce (the best damn dry farmed tomatoes ever), Marin Sun Farms (purveyors of sustainable, organic meat), and one of my personal favorites – Happy Girl Kitchen, an artisanal producer of pickles and preserves. Their spicy green beans make your homemade Bloody Mary as good as any brunch hot spot bloody!

Aside from the bountiful produce and fun local products available at the market, the Ferry Building Marketplace is also home to some of my favorite shops:

  • Cowgirl Creamery – local producer of artisanal cheeses (they carry their own crème fraîche and fresh chevre), and they also stock international favorites such as aged Mimolette, Abbaye de Belloc, and Tomme de Savoie.  If you like pungent and creamy cheese, try the rare Sir Francis Drake if it’s available!
  • Boccalone – Chis Cosentino’s shop, producers of Italian cured meats.  You can even get a cone of salumi to snack on as you walk around the building.
  • Far West Fungi – When you come back from a foraging trip with an empty basket, you can find all kinds of amazing mushrooms here.  Not too cheap, but actually less expensive than Whole Foods, with ten times the variety.  Plus, they have “grown your own” mushroom kits here!
  • Golden Gate Meat Company – One of the best butchers in San Francisco, merely because they carry almost everything you could ever want.  I am fond of the partially deboned quail.
  • Recchiuti Confections – Chocolate.  Need I say more?
  • Hog Island Oyster Company – Hand shucked oysters by the tray full, on a sunny day, with a glass of chilled white wine, staring out over the Bay.  Sigh. Heavenly.

The Ferry Plaza is worth a visit for any food lover, whether you’re just visiting San Francisco or you’ve been living here for a while. Go early, go hungry, and enjoy everything the Farmer’s Market has to offer…you won’t regret it!

Swiss Chard
Ferry Building Marketplace
One Ferry Building
San Francisco, California 94111
(415) 983-8030

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fiendishly fond of cooking, SoulCycle, Pilates, green smoothies, and Korean spas.

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