The Ultimate Farmers Market

Inside the Ferry Building is an upscale climate, but just as packed as the market outside

Inside the Ferry Building has an upscale climate, but just as packed as the market outside

If you are a farmers market kind of person—you spend all morning examining produce stopping only for a quinoa salad and a soy chai, you get excited over oddly shaped squash, you interview anyone who’s selling anything, you plan your entire dinner based on the three tomatoes you bought because they were picked this morning from farmer Joe’s garden—then yes, I’m talking to you. As my first post on Foodists, I would like to contribute to you an idea for a vacation destination.

Though I was a Vancouverite for only a brief period, I was truly proud of the city for all the farmer’s markets chanting the mantra: “local, seasonal, organic.” When time came for me to move down to San Francisco, I innocently thought I was going to miss it.


Plout, a cross between plum and apricot. These ones were particularly peculiar looking

Boy, was I wrong. One of my first spots to visit in Frisco was the Ferry Plaza Famers Market. I arrived on Saturday, market day, and from across the street all I could see was an ocean of white tents surround a gigantic waterfront building crowned with an elegant clock tower. Under one of those tents were gorgeous peaches, plums, and…what is a pluot!? I investigated further and came across a man selling organic Saint Benoit Yogurt in quaint little clay pots which you return for refill or pot refund, how’s that for recycling?

I kept walking, and it never ended. People upon people flooded every inch of space—kids, dogs, musicians. Produce I’d never seen before (a round Parisian carrot?), vegan sushi stand and jams made from every fruit you know and even those you don’t. There was a line for coffee longer than the iPhone line on their first day—turned out it’s Blue Bottle Coffee, unanimously agreed upon to be worth the wait because they brew your coffee by the individual cup.

Cute little yogurt pots you can return for refills or refund

Cute little yogurt pots you can return for refills or refund

Step inside the building and you will experience a more chic ambiance. A long hallway full, not of Saturday tents, but of gourmet shops that are open daily. Now we’re talking a caviar bar, organic charcuterie, a mushroom shop selling Fresh black truffles (yes, I held one in my hand), a local artisanal chocolate boutique, you get the idea.

My senses were overwhelmed, and myself humbled. I saw, smelled, heard and tasted so many new foods that my brain was challenged to describe them. And I thought I’d seen it all. This is the place to be, if you are the type to walk around the market looking for inspiration for dinner, as many prominent chefs come here to do.

So besides wanting to share with you a food destination, I also want to share what this experience reminded me to always do: cook, look, learn, read, explore, taste, travel, and do it like a real foodist!

Outdoor market on Saturdays is located all around the Ferry Building.  It's huge!

Outdoor market on Saturdays is located all around the Ferry Building. It's huge!


4 Responses to “The Ultimate Farmers Market”

  1. Posted on October 14th, 2009

    sounds amazing. the halifax farmer’s market is similar and winds through the old brewery building like some kind of multi-layered labyrinth of food. I could spend all day in there, literally.

  2. Posted on November 8th, 2009

    so sad. I was just in san francisco and managed to get to the ferry building, but only on a tuesday night when everything but the restaurants were closed. :( have to get back there soon. it looked amazing.

  3. Posted on February 19th, 2010

    A Pluot is a cross between a plum and an apricot. Eat them just prior to shriveling or when they begin for best flavor. Pay very close attention to how friuts ripen, ever had a hard apricot? Blech! But, as they become soft and even begin to shrivel, they are delectable! If you have a chance, check out New Leaf Community Market in Half Moon Bay, they are an excellent source of local Bay Area foods. Quite unique, and the store in Half Moon Bay is their newest opening in 2008-2009. They are very political with sustainable foods and Organics, much more so than the larger chains like Whole Foods. Many of the farmers you run into at the Farmers Markets throughout The Bay Area are resposible for keeping New Leafs shelves stocked. You can pick up their products there 7 days a week. Other Local Favorites are Strawberries grown at Swanson Farms, and DRY FARM TOMATOES! Don’t miss out on those! They are farmed without watering (they suck up the residual water in the soil from the rainy season, and rely on the coastal fog layers to sustain them). Because of this technique, they are packed full of concentrated flavor and are the best tomatoes you will ever eat! Enjoy The City!

  4. Posted on February 21st, 2013

    Came here from Pailin’s YouTube channel, which is wonderful. Very informative article — I’ve been here a few years ago and it really is a wonderful place with so many unusual things to look at.

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