Because fresh ingredients are the foundation of my cooking philosophy, I thrive on my weekly trips to our local farmers markets. The process of personally selecting the produce is as important as the act of chopping, preparing and cooking the meal. I enjoy talking to the people who are growing the food that makes it onto my plates, and the sensory experience of touching, smelling, and tasting the ingredients is unbeatable. Here are some of the markets that are integral spokes in San Francisco’s culinary wheel.
The Dining Room at The Ritz-Carlton,
600 Stockton Street
San Francisco, CA 94108
Ferry Plaza Farmers Market
Location: In front of the historic Ferry Building
Hours: Tuesday & Thursday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Saturday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
History: What started as a one-time “Harvest Market” back in the fall of 1992 has developed into what is now a year-round central staple for the camaraderie that characterizes San Francisco’s epicurean community. Since its first beginnings, the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market has continually strived for growth, organizing as the nonprofit Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture in 1994, and finding a permanent home at the Ferry Building back in 2003.
Fact: Saturday is the largest of the three weekly markets and provides the best opportunity to really get to know your local farmers
To learn more: www.cuesa.org/markets lists participating farmers, upcoming special events, and other info.
Agricultural Institute of Marin
|This nonprofit umbrellas many of our great area farmers markets, like Thursday Marin, Sunday Marin, Grand Lake Farmers Market-Oakland (Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.), Stonestown Farmers Market (Sunday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.), and many others, which you can read about on their website at www.agriculturalinstitute.org.|
Location: Marin Veterans Memorial Auditorium parking lot
Hours: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
History: Thursday Marin was the first market to grow under the guidance of AIM.
Fact: The year-round market features more than 100 local farmers, specialty food purveyors, and artisans, which attracts many of the Bay Area’s most acclaimed chefs.
Location: Located in the parking lot behind the Marin Civic Center
Hours: Sunday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Facts: Sunday Marin Farmers Market is the largest under the AIM umbrella and the third largest farmers market in the state, with close to 200 purveyors.
The Marin Farmers Markets have taken home the title for “Best Organic Produce” four years straight.
St. Helena Farmers Market
Location: Crane Park, about one mile from downtown St. Helena in Napa Valley
Hours: Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., May through October.
History: The market, organized by a group of volunteers, opened on July 4 in 1986. Some of the original growers are still participating, 23 years later.
Facts: St. Helena Farmers Market is a favorite of the First Lady of Napa Valley, Margrit Mondavi, who said, “When I come to the St. Helena Farmers Market, I always feel happy.” Nancy Pelosi is also a frequent visitor.
The 2010 season opened on May 7, and there is a full lineup of events and programs planned for the upcoming months, including a chef’s demo with the Culinary Institute of America on May 21, “Spring into our Senses” classes on May 28, and the St. Helena Farmers Market Fundraiser at CaMeO on June 15, with a special screening of the film Ingredients.
To learn more: Check www.sthelenafarmersmkt.org for information on additional upcoming events and programs.