Saturday, September 17, 2011

Off to the Market

With a new hard drive for our laptop and all data saved and transferred, we resume the coverage of our travels.

From our campground in Napa (CA), it is a short trip to Vallejo and the ferry to San Francisco. It is a 60-minute ride to Fisherman's Wharf and a 10-minute ride to the Ferry Building, site of the Saturday Farmers Market.

It was a gorgeous, clear morning on a recent Saturday with clear views of Sausalito (above) and Alcatraz (right). The island served as a Federal Bureau of Prisons federal prison for 29 years, begining in 1934. It also provided housing for the Bureau of Prison staff and their families.

The unusually clear day for mid- morning also provided a relatively good look at the Golden Gate Bridge and a portion of the city's skyline (below) as we headed toward the dock at the Ferry Building.

At the Ferry Building, we joined some of the nearly 25,000 shoppers who visit the market each week.

"The Ferry Plaza Farmers Market is a California certified farmers market operated by the nonprofit Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA). The market is widely acclaimed for both the quality and diversity of its fresh farm products, and artisan and prepared foods. It is renowned throughout the country as one of the top farmers markets to visit. Especially on Saturdays, some of San Francisco’s best known chefs, and most famous farmers, can be seen at the market" (

Kate was excited about the variety of herbs, fruits, and vegetables at the many booths; I was struck by the colors general beauty of the produce and flowers.

From the same webpage: "The market provides a forum for people to learn about food and agriculture.

CUESA's policy is to give preference to producers and vendors whose practices support our objectives. For producers, all products must be grown in California, and we give preference to those who farm organically. For vendors, we prefer those who use organic, regionally grown produce, and who have at least two years' experience in the restaurant/ prepared- food business. All prepared food is subject to a blind tasting to assure product quality and appeal."

I believe the mushroom in the photo above is the Maitake, more commonly known in the United States as ‘hen of the woods’.

Not surprisingly, there are presently no openings in either the Farmer or Vendor categories at any of the (Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday) markets.

The Orange Hokkaido Squash was one variety of squash with which we were not familiar. The seller's note said that this was one his baby's first foods.

After looking at the variety of colors, shapes, and sizes of the vegetables in the two photos above and and the one on the left, I looked at the buildings surrounding the Ferry Building. Looking at a small portion of these structures, I thought there was some similarity to the composition of the two scenes.

These Shishito Peppers are mild, flavorful little peppers. Kate has fried them in olive oil until blistered, then sprinkled them with coarse sea salt. The sweetness of the pepper, plus the charred tang and the crisp flakiness of the salt, combined to create a snack food that could be eaten all by itself.

I thought this ar- rangement of carrots showed both the quality of the vegetable and the respect of the grower for the results of his or her efforts.

Kate declared that this Farmers Market would be a definite stop every Saturday if we lived anywhere near the Ferry Building.

One intersting point about the Market was this note: "The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition provides secure valet bike parking during the Saturday Farmers Market in Harry Bridges Plaza across from the Ferry Building."

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