Sunday, November 4, 2007

A San Francisco Farmer's Market

When I was very young, Mom and Dad used to take us to the Farmer's Market in Tulsa. I don't have any idea where it was, but I do remember going there with the family. It was always in summers and there would be stalls where the farmers would back up their trucks and have their produce on display. We would buy bushel's of peaches or corn or strawberries or whatever might be available. We would take it home and the whole family would work to get it ready to can or freeze for use in the upcoming winter. I remember big troughs of water with blocks of ice and watermelons getting cold. We usually bought one, and I think I remember them being as cheap as a few cents a pound. That was the Tulsa Farmer's market.

Last Saturday Max and I went to the San Francisco Farmer's Market. They hold it around the Ferry Building not far from my office where I work. It's right on the Embarcadero and on Saturday at around noon it was packed with people both selling and buying. And in contrast to the Tulsa Market, this was more of an event to be seen at rather than one to visit.

I read about this Farmer's Market in the Gourmet magazine early in the summer- much before we knew that we might be living here for a while. It was listed as one of the 6 best farmer's markets in the USA. I'm not exactly sure what the criteria for selection. But it is indeed an event- with some out for the adventure- and then some serious shoppers- just like any farmers' market. Because the growing season is so much longer here the "season" will last much longer than Oklahoma or Ohio (my "O" states"). It felt much more like a carnival rather than a "shopping for vegetables" experience.

On one side of Embarcadero Street are the people selling art, jewelry, and clothing. These folks set up their booths in the open and sell their stuff. Here is a picture of a group of women who were having a great time, all dressed in bright reds and blues.

In the center of the street on the area between the two lanes of traffic and the MUNI trams was a guy playing percussion. He did have a symbol, but everything else was pots, pan, buckets, lids, and bowls. He was amazingly good.
Who would have thought that this was also a great place to have your wedding pictures taken?
We've seen bride and grooms all over the city- when we walked the coast trail a couple was getting married (in very high winds) overlooking the beach- And then when we walked down to the Palace of the Arts from our house we witnessed a young man drop to his knee and propose (we felt especially lucky because we got there early enough to see him set up the camera with his friends before the bride arrived). Under the arches was a wedding party and photographer. This is a city filled with young- and the young do fall in love and get married- and each weekend we watch (rather like voyeurs).

And then at the Ferry Building on the walkways in front and to the side of it were the "farmers" selling their produce. This isn't quite like the Tulsa Farmer's market in that none of the sales people look very much like farmers. There were no overalls, no pickup trucks filled with vegetables and no one wearing a John Deer hat. But the vegetables were all there in picturesque style. The peppers are always so beautiful as were the greens, the carrots, the persimmons and pomegranates. We bought pomegranates and persimmons. They are very much in season here. Did you know that there are actually two types of persimmons- the Fuyu and the Hachiya? The Fuyu are firm and crunchy and sweet like an apple- and you can eat them just like an apple. I used them with a roast pork tenderloin. The Hachiya must sit for 1-2 weeks and soften and then when they are "mush" you use them in a bread. I have 3 Yachiya trying to ripe so I can make bread. They are not at all like the persimmon that grow in our yard- though I think I'll try the bread recipe with persimmon from our yard when we go home. Who knows maybe it will be good?

Almost everything was certified "organic". After all this is California.

We saw an Irish Accordian player- though not quite like any accordian player we'd ever seen. I really liked this accordion
-and we wanted to make sure that Oliver Delany, our good friend, accordion player, and retired lobbyist from Oklahoma City, knows that there are opportunities for employment here in SF. The street musicians (all of whom had CD's for sale- and posted schedules of concerts) reminded me of Quebec City. Now don't get me wrong- I have a soft spot for the bongo drummer outside of the Reds Ball Park- but this just isn't quite like that. Interesting- and quirky- and very San Francisco.

But inside of the Ferry Building is a whole different kind of "Farmers Market". This one is for the more sophisticated "farmer". On the inside are permanent shops that sell an array of goods that most farmers don't usually bring in.

There are shops that
make bread on site and sell it there,
Sell cheese of every variety-

Sell home made chocolates and candies-

Sell spiced olive oils (squeezed from California olives)-

I sent Don back today for Olive Oil- and Balsamic Vinegar- we forgot that he has to lug these bottles up the steep hill from his bus stop- but he- and the bottles- made it just fine. (Though he did complain just a bit).

Sell a variety of mushrooms

And even a caviar and champagne bar-I know I never saw one of those in Tulsa. In addition there is an Italian gelato shop, restaurants of every variety, a wine shop (this is California)......


Lucas said...

Loved those pictures and those peppers looked sooooo yummy! When we lived in our apartment in downtown St. Paul we lived across the street from the farmers market. Lots of flowers, veggies, meats and cheeses but never enough fruit in my opinion! Your farmers market looks world class with great people watching. When we come visit, we'd love to go see it!

lindell and vicki said...

The women in the red hats are members of the "Red Hat Society". Mostly older women who get together for fun. You can google them.