I hate to be the nth person to say it, but where did the time go?* It seems like only yesterday I was promising myself that I’d write about my favorite farmers’ markets. I’d cover all my favorite vendors at the peak of the season, just in time for the best of summer’s bounty to start appearing. Now, however, I find myself post-Labor Day with nothing to show for it (but a very full belly). Summer squash and stone fruit, once winking at us from within their crates, are growing sadder and smaller; leafy greens, once piled high on pallets, are suffering from severely thinned ranks. Though I may praise vendors for their gorgeous produce, the turning of the seasons inherently changes their offerings and the market’s overall experience.
This post may be too little, too late to capitalize on the abundance of Summer 2014 — but I still think there’s something to be said for the farmers’ market culture in San Francisco at large. Even though we’ll soon be entering months more sparse and scarce, there remains plenty of goodness to be found. In the [mild] dead of winter, the producers of Northern California still grow a strong, delicious variety of fruits and vegetables. Sun or
snow fog, I make it a priority to regularly stop by farmers’ markets. This week, I’ll cover my two of my favorites, both found in my neck of the woods.
* Oh, I recognize that San Francisco’s Indian summer is only just beginning — but the farms themselves, which are located well outside of the realm of Karl the Fog, still abide by the rest of the world’s regular seasons.
San Francisco VA Medical Center (SFVAMC) Farmers’ Market
Today, I woke up today with fear in my heart, scared that my beloved fruit lady at my farmer’s market would disappear with her abundant stores of stone fruit. Every summer, Resendiz Family Fruit Barn reappears at this market with its truckload of wonderfully sweet, ripe fruit. Here is where I began distinguishing varieties of pluot, from the run-of-the-mill Dapple Dandy to the unbelievably candy-sweet Green Grenade. Buying four pounds of fruit from their stand is the highlight of my work week.
There are only a handful of producers that gather year-round at this market — but, together, create a pretty well-rounded selection for its size. Nunez Farm sells a great variety of organic vegetables, while Inzana Ranch & Produce offers gift-worthy dried fruit and nuts. I’m particularly fond of grabbing a bouquet at Fernandes Flower Growers, manned by a kind and knowledgeable florist. I only wish that there were actual hot foods vendors at this farmers’ market, but that may be asking too much of the medical center; there’s an on-site canteen/cafeteria, though their menu is significantly (how do I put this?) less gourmet than most. Oh well! At least I can still find a truly magnificent slice of chocolate babka at the bread lady’s, formally known as Hapax Bread.
Wednesdays 10 AM – 2 PM
4150 Clement St
San Francisco, CA 94121
Clement St. Farmers’ Market
The Inner Richmond is a newcomer to the farmers’ market game, but is certainly a quick learner. It’s become a lynchpin of the neighborhood, bringing together an eclectic mix of residents and businesses every Sunday afternoon. The farmers’ market spans a few blocks, with more than enough room for protein (including those selling seafood and eggs), baked treats, and artisanal goods (such as honey and tea) among the abundant veggie and fruit displays. I especially appreciate the selection of ready-made foods available here, including Mediterranean, Indian, and Mexican take-out. My absolute favorite discoveries include Jade Chocolates, a local chocolatier specializing in dreamy Asian-inspired sweets, and Sinto Gourmet, a homegrown company churning out fantastic Korean kimchi and condiments. This farmers’ market is large enough to knock out most of your week’s grocery shopping, while small enough to sustain the community feel so special to these gatherings.
Sunday 9 AM – 2 PM
Clement St, between 2nd and 4th Avenues
San Francisco, CA 94118