No one can deny that San Francisco is a town for serious food connoisseurs (okay Foodies). After living in San Francisco for eight years, I am about to relocate to Asia and I find myself already becoming wistful and nostalgic about all my favorite food haunts in San Francisco, especially my weekly escapades to the local farmers’ markets.
I will miss having immediate access to fresh fruits and vegetables as well as the ability to sample some of the best artisan and gourmet food on the west coast. I also enjoyed the fact that each visit to a farmer’s market meant I was supporting local farmers and small businesses.
Below are three of my favorite farmer’s markets in San Francisco.
Fillmore and O’Farrell — I live in the Fillmore district and this wonderful market is literally right outside my door. Visiting the Fillmore Farmers’ Market is a great way to spend your Saturday morning while touring the Fillmore District, the historical jazz center of San Francisco. Smaller and a bit more intimate than other farmer’s markets around the Bay area, it offers a great selection of nuts, seasonal fruits and vegetables as well as other specialty items.
My visit to the Fillmore Farmers’ Market is not complete unless I purchase a bouquet of stargazer lilies from Fernandes Flower Growers or stand in line at Quick -N- Ezee Indian Foods for a sample of one of their delicious, spicy chutney sauces while I buy vegetable samosas for a tasty weekend snack.
The Fillmore Farmers’ Market is open every Saturday, 9am-1pm, year round, rain or shine. The market is located on O’Farrell and Fillmore and is operated by the Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association. Check the website for more details, including a listing of other farmer’s markets they operate in the Bay area.
Heart of the City Farmer’s Market — located at the UN Plaza in San Francisco, this farmer’s market is a great lunchtime option if you are near the Civic Center area. It is also a great market if you want to purchase fresh fish on Sunday for the upcoming week. Also absolutely irresistible are the Belgian Liège Waffles served by Waffle Mania.
The Heart of The City Farmer’s Market is open every Sunday 7am-5pm and every Wednesday 7am to 5:30pm. It is easily accessible from the Civic Center BART, Civic Center Muni Metro Station and Muni lines 5, 6, 7, 9, 19, 21, 71.
Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market — One of the largest and certainly one of the most popular farmer’s market in San Francisco is held at the Ferry Building every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Spanning the front and the back of the Ferry Building, this farmer’s market not only offers a extensive array of fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs from vendors representing farms from around the Bay Area, but it also showcases artisans and purveyors that sell items such as baked goods, cheeses, preserves and prepared foods.
I always make sure to stop at Star Route Farms for my little bunches of fresh herbs, especially Stinging Nettle, which they always seem to have in abundance. Heirloom Organic Gardens uses large, deep baskets to showcase their endless variety of leafy, green vegetables such as spinach, mixed greens, braising greens and tatsoi, a green I had never heard of until I sampled it at the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market. If I’m cooking one of my many Asian recipes, I always stop by Chue’s Farm to purchase fresh ginger, lemongrass and large bunches of Thai Basil.
Although the Ferry Building is home to some of San Francisco’s top restaurants like Slanted Door and Market Bar, a visit to the Ferry Plaza farmer’s market offers a chance to feast on cuisine from other local restaurant vendors that set up a stand in the farmer’s market. On a sunny day I love to grab a quick, delicious late breakfast of scrambled farm eggs, Hobbs bacon and local tomatoes on a baguette from Hayes Street Grill and join other locals and tourists enjoying the warmth of the sun. If I am in the mood for seafood, I might stop by the Hog Island Oyster Company and have them shuck a dozen oysters for me to eat on the spot.
As I make my way around the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s market, I can’t resist stopping for a sample of Caper Hummus from Marin Gourmet. If I don’t feel like cooking, I make sure to arrive early and stand in line at RoliRoti and pick up something for dinner. Their gourmet rotisserie is a mouth-watering delight. Try the Gourmet Porchetta Sandwich, or my all time favorite, the RoliRoti Combo, a 1/4 chicken and a side of roasted potatoes.
The Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market is operated by CUESA the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture. They operate three markets per week, Tuesday and Thursday 10am-2pm and Saturday 8am-2pm. The Ferry Building is located in Downtown San Francisco at the base of Market Street on the Embarcadero