The Ferry Plaza Farmers Market: On any given Saturday in San Francisco, you can feel the entire pulse of the city here. Today is no different. The market is alive, and it’s only 8:17am. It’s still early for this town, but just the right hour for farm-to-table shopping. Being Indian Summer, there are crowds and crowds of colorful people everywhere hopping in and out of booths.
There’s about 10 reasons why anyone should wake up early and go to a farmers market on a Saturday in San Francisco.
#1: reason really is because you taste lots of free stuff and witness lots of cool things you’d never find elsewhere. Like sampling nine kinds of hummus (lemon, garlic, chipotle, Baba Ganoush, Artichoke, Chimichurri, tapanade, aubergine, black bean); tasting ambrosia melons on steroids; or scoring last-minute third row seats to a free cooking demonstration by a local Bay Area chef.
Today, I scored all three.
Working chefs from SF’s best-rated restaurants like Cowgirl Creamery, Cane Rosso and Miette’s Pastry Shop are quickly setting up their vendor booths and attracting passersby with samples. Other chefs in their “day-off clothes” are chatting with locals, swapping produce for coffee and vice-versa, and stocking up on fresh ingredients to bring back to their restaurants around the city.
Travelers and visitors alike are here to sample the best the region has to offer, including fruits, vegetables, herbs, delicacies, and pastries.
Locals like me are looking for their weekly produce supply and scouting for good deals among the many expensive over-priced options. Most of the time, produce, greens, snacks and pastries are all up-charged with the high influx of visitors. But if come often enough, look hard enough, talk to enough people, there are gems in the ruff.
At every turn, the smells are absolutely intoxicating. The sights rival that of food porn. The tastes are orgasmic to the tongue, or nearly close to it. The sounds of popping champagne corks becomes heavenly music to the ears. The feeling of slippery oysters gliding in your hands right before eating them is unconventionally weird but tastes delicious.
The sticker shock is another cultural level of understanding. It’s expensive as hell to shop here (even for an assuming persimmon or gala apple) but the farmers market taste simply puts supermarket taste to shame. Once you eat a produce here, you’ll never want to shop anywhere else ever again.
But overall it’s a simple truth: At the end of any market experience, you either pay a supermarket for a taste of the culture, or you pay a farmers market for a cultured taste. You only live once, so I’ll go with the latter. Says the stone-carved statue of the Tibetan monk with the Pharaoh cane,
“Sticker shock is a real thing. Enter but be careful and wise in spending at the farmers market.” #yoda #yessir #worthit #ferryplaza #foodie#indiansummer