Spotlight: Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market: A Photo Story

9 May

Though the farmers’ market I usually shop at is the Heart of the City, I stop by the Ferry Plaza a few times a year. This is not so much for the produce, as I find that the fruit and vegetables at the Heart of the City are quite fabulous and much less expensive, but for the items that are harder to find, The Ferry Plaza Market is great!

Since today was such a lovely San Francisco day, I decided to head out early to see if I could get to some of the market goodies that tend to vanish before 10am, beat the lunch crowd and take some photos.

I am also starting to keep a list of the farms that I learn about and how far they are from San Francisco. To see a map of North California farms that travel to or sell in San Francisco markets click here: Northern California Farms Chico, California

Massa Organics

Massa Organics

I have been a fan of Massa Organics since I first encountered them. They are one of the few grain producers in the area (currently brown rice and red wheat berries) and their almonds are wonderful too! You can even follow them on twitter now @MassaOrganics and get updates direct from the tractor. Which, if you are an agro-nerd like me, will make you giddy. But maybe that is just me. .. Napa, California

Rancho Gordo

Rancho Gordo

Beans, beans and more beans. Well, there are some herbs and spices too. And fantastic ones, at that. Many of the beans are heirloom varieties and since there aren’t many places to get such a wide variety of local beans, that makes them doubly unique. The staff are always very friendly and knowledgable and happy to pass along their cooking suggestions and recipes. Berkeley, CA / West Coast (Oregon, California)

Juniper Ridge

Juniper Ridge

I heart Juniper Ridge. This is a company that uses wild plants such as  White Sage and Douglas Fir to make the most wonderful soaps, incense and teas. I visit this market stand enough to be recognized and there’s always time for a nice chat and a refreshing sample of sun tea. In fact, I am drinking some of their Douglas Fir Tea right now and am enjoying every moment of it. Juniper ridge also offers free wild flower hikes. For more information, visit their website. Healdsburg, California

Tierra Vegetables

Tierra Vegetables

Tierra Vegetables sell something that they call “Bacon for Vegans” which turns out to be glorious smoked onions. They also have a wide variety of chili jams and spice mixes, pickles, raw wool and my favorite: freshly ground corn flour. Local flours or any kind are a rare find! Moss Landing, CA

Far West Fungi

Thanks to Far West Fungi, I now understand the heaven of Morels and Lion’s Mane mushrooms. They have a store in the Ferry Building and are at both the Ferry Plaza and Heart of the City markets each weekend. Though they are known to sell out of some of the more interesting varieties before Heart of the City on Sunday rolls around but their store is always full. Last time I visited the shop I found some fern fronds, which I have never seen outside of New Zealand! Mountain Ranch, CA

Mountain Ranch Organically Grown

Mountain Ranch Organically Grown

A new addition to the market, Mountain Ranch Organically Grown offers an interesting variety of meats and items too cook and eat with such as broth, salsa and tamales. They grow their own corn and beans so the tamales really are homemade. The couple seemed very nice and I look forward to seeing how things go for them! I also look forward to having the tamales for dinner tonight!

http:/// Point Reyes, CA

Marin Sun Farms

Marin Sun Farms

Local meat extravaganza. All organic, all fresh and a wide variety. Best to get here early for some things. The sausage is wonderful. Petaluma, California

Spring Hill Cheese... and my cat who never leaves me alone.

Spring Hill Cheese... and my cat who never leaves me alone.

Local, organic butter. They also have many varieties of cheese including 3 or 4 kinds of quark which is generally hard to find. I am glad I arrived early today as the stand was free and clear of the usual crowd and elbow fights over the many samples. I guess I was in shock that I had the place to myself since I forgot to take a photograph. But, my cat assisted with a kitchen photoshoot…

I’d love to hear about your market experiences and if you have suggested to add to the farm map, please leave a comment!


3 Responses to “Spotlight: Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market: A Photo Story”

  1. Véronique May 13, 2009 at 12:48 pm #

    Nice tour of your farmers market!

    One thing that’s going to have to be factored into sustainable agriculture that seems to be missing now is water use. Organic or not, brown or white, growing rice requires huge amounts of water. In California, growing rice requires huge amounts of irrigation and depends on the fact that agricultural water is subsidized. So depending on where you are, locally grown organic rice might not be as virtuous as it first appears.

    • mindfulindividual May 13, 2009 at 7:27 pm #

      Absolultely! Luckily, Massa Organics provides some great information on their website:

      “In 1997, after several years working as tropical ecologists in Costa Rica, my wife, Raquel, and I returned to the Massa family farm. Rice farming offered an opportunity to do real conservation work on our own land, rather than the theoretical work of university-based ecology. Stewardship of the air, water and land became our primary focus, something we continue to take seriously today. For example, we have installed recirculation systems to reclaim our irrigation water, and do not burn any crop residue. We have planted native oak trees along field borders, and have installed nest boxes for wood ducks, barn owls, American kestrels, and bats. Future plans include the creation of waterfowl and shorebird habitat WITHIN our rice fields–an idea unheard of in rice production today. However, we measure improvements to the farm not just in crop yields, but in the numbers of sandhill cranes and California quail we see using the land.”

  2. delairen May 16, 2009 at 12:13 pm #

    Wow! Some Great information, lady! I’m going to check out some of these links!

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