Posted from Glen Ellen, CA
When it’s Saturday morning in San Francisco, the place to be is the farmers market at the Ferry Terminal at the Embarcadero.
Within the Ferry Building itself is the Marketplace, an enticing array of large and small food-related shops, restaurants, and cafes that is open daily. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, a small farmers market is situated at the front of the Ferry Terminal. On Saturdays, the large farmers market takes over both the front of the building and the rear plaza overlooking San Francisco Bay. Constructed in 1898 on the site of the 1875 wooden Ferry House, the now restored Ferry Terminal has been called “a famous city’s most famous landmark.”
This outdoor farmers market, renowned for the diversity, quality, freshness, artisanal nature, and seasonality of its regional foodstuffs, much of which is organic, is regarded as one of the best in the country. Famous chefs, home cooks, residents, and tourists – foodies of all stripes, actually, and some 25,000 strong each week – congregate at this historic building in a public ritual devoted to sampling, talking, learning about, savoring, and purchasing food.
We simply had to be there to experience this cultural paradise, and we brought along our friend, Ter, who was visiting from Cincinnati.
The farmers market was a riot of colors, tastes, sights, and aromas enlivened even further by the sounds of street performers.
Breads and breakfast pastries from Della Fattoria in Petaluma and Acme Bread Company in Berkeley. Fresh, raw oysters from Hog Island Oyster Company. Creamy cheese from Cowgirl Creamery. Sweet and chili peppers from Happy Quail Farms. Stall upon stall of vendors’ displays simply overflowing with fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, eggs, herbs, honey, nuts, seafood, and condiments. Many items were unfamiliar to us East Coasters. Who knew that eggplants could be lavender, that carrots come in red, or that the shape of some summer squash is round? Quite a few local restaurants whipped up an assortment of street foods for on-site consumption.
Coming from the Sonoma Valley, we decided the most expedient way to travel to and from the city to avoid traffic and parking hassles was via the ferry. We boarded at the dock at Larkspur for a 45-minute cruise. Even with the cool blanket of fog that traditionally envelops the city in the summer months, our views from the water were dramatic. We were especially delighted to see one of the sleek boats that is competing in the America’s Cup in the bay. On our return, the sun had broken through. The thought of anticipating our farmers market dinner accompanied by a Sonoma Valley pinot noir was a fitting conclusion to our journey.