Not to sound like every other San Franciscan, but I love farmers’ markets. The one at the Ferry Building has been a favorite since our move to the city, but there are others that dot the streets of the Bay Area on any given day. My girlfriend, H., was in town this weekend so naturally, we hit up the Ferry Building on Saturday morning to enjoy the 70+ degree weather and clear skies.
I’ll be honest, I never really buy groceries when I’m there. Usually our morning farmers market run morphs into an entire day outing, making it somewhat impractical for me to tote bunches of beets and bags of fresh fruit around in my bag. Instead, it’s more of an excuse to browse, sample some goodies, nab some oysters and grab lunch from one of the vendors on-site. H. and I kept with tradition — we perused the markets and grabbed lunch from Alive! before posting up on a sun-drenched bench near the water.
When Sunday rolled around and the sun was in full force yet again, I knew I needed an excuse to spend some time outside. I looked online to find a local farmers market that I hadn’t yet visited (we did Fort Mason last week and wasn’t overly impressed with the options). The verdict: The Heart of the City Farmers’ Market at the UN Plaza.
Despite it being a gorgeous day, I bussed down to the market as it’s held in a grittier part of town. After a 15 minute bus ride, I had arrived. And I was impressed. Tent after tent dotted the area, and the view of City Hall makes for a stunning backdrop. I immediately loaded my bag with garlic veggie chips ($3) from the first vendor and then leisurely perused the tables. There were the requisite fruits and veggies that people naturally stock up on, plus things like eggs, meats, locally sourced and bottle honey, hummus and even a table that focused on mushrooms. Plus, like the Ferry Building, there are vendors that sell pre-made goodies for those looking to grab a bite to go.
I grabbed a few goodies and soon realized that I was out of cash. Smart move on my part. Luckily, this thing is not an amateur operation. The information tent has a pretty cool scheme going on with the local vendors. Swipe your credit or debit card for your desired amount and, in exchange, you’ll get tokens that can be used as money at the market ($1 gives you a $1 coin). I snagged enough coins to get me through my shopping experience (a whopping $10 worth) and began loading up my bag. I tossed in a bag of tangelos ($1), a half pound of sugar snap peas ($0.50), a bundle of beets ($2), a pound of organic Brussels sprouts ($4), and a huge bunch of fresh basil ($1). With some coins left over, I grabbed a pretty bunch of flowers from a stand ($4):
For a little over $10, I filled my bag (plus some) and left a happy camper. The market takes place between 7A and 530P on Sundays and Wednesdays. The one on Wednesday is (allegedly) about twice as big, though I have a hard time imagining that. I’m going to make a concerted effort to re-visit the market on a weekday to check out the crowds and the offerings and will most definitely be back during coming weekends (especially with the sun shining).
Inexpensive buys + supporting local? Not to sound overly indoctrinated with Bay Area mentality, but how can you beat that? Now, off to roast up some Brussels sprouts.