Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fall Favorite: Ferry Building Farmers Market

The Ferry Building Farmers Market usually offers a mixed (canvas tote) bag. Sometimes, like in the spring and summer, it's run amok with tourists reveling in "Northern California lifestyle" and organic goods. When they bring their screaming kids with them, it's even worse. The experience isn't a fun one - there are just too many people and you begin to wonder if it's worth paying the market's inflated prices. $5 for a bunch of strawberries in May? Really? No thanks, I'll buy them in Chinatown for $2.

But then there are the quieter seasons, when it's just locals who show up and the end of summer harvests begin to come in, that the market reveals its charms and the experience is pretty awesome. The ferry building market in the fall makes me feel like a kid in a candy store (not like the brat above, though). The colors and flavors are really something - it's as though all the activity, sun and energy of the summer has concentrated in produce that's ripe, delicious and visually appealing.

Colorful heirloom and other specialty tomatoes are wrapping up their season. Juicy peaches and plums the size of your full hand sit in huge piles, waiting to be taken home and eaten. Even the carrots show up in a fun array of shapes and colors. . .

It's still a bit too pricey to do all of your grocery shopping there, but there is a great selection of local produce and foodstuffs. And you're supporting local producers. Think of it as your charitable - and tasty - deed for the weekend. So, if you live in or near SF and you haven't been to the farmers market yet, try to make it there this fall. It's well worth the trip - and waking up before noon on a Saturday!

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