have you ever been to the farmer's market at the ferry building in san francisco? it's amazing. last year i went about once a month during the spring and summer. the vendors set up in front of the ferry building, and all down the rear plaza next to the bay, with beautiful offerings of organic fruits & veggies, fresh bread, eggs, jams & jellies, soaps & body care products, cheeses, flowers & plants. plus there's the inside of the ferry building itself, with all the wonderful shops, restaurants (taylors refresher & ciao bella gelato... yum!) and little individual markets. everything about the marketplace feels earthy yet sophisticated, all at once. it simply has to be one of the biggest, best farmer's markets in the united states. their website http://www.ferrybuildingmarketplace.com/farmers_market.php says that up to 15,000 shoppers attend on saturdays (it's also held on tuesdays). every time i've gone, i've come home with a few bags of really excellent produce, a loaf or two of freshly baked artisan bread, a brick of cheese and a bottle of olive oil. but let me tell you, things are more expensive in the city and farm-fresh food is no exception! add in the price of gas to get there, plus $4 bridge toll and at least $6 to park and you've got yourself an expensive outing!
i talked myself into going to my local farmer's market yesterday. it's held in the parking lot behind a bank and the last time i'd been, (4 years ago) i found it pretty lackluster. well, things have changed! i'd estimate that there were about 15 vendors there, all selling locally grown stuff. we picked up 2 big bags of organic spring mix for $2 each, which is exactly what i'd pay at trader joes. we also got 1/2 pound of organic mushrooms, some beautiful nectarines, a bunch of green & yellow bell peppers & 2 red onions. would have gotten more produce, but we'd just gotten a bunch of things from costco and we're going camping over the weekend. there was a bread guy at our market as well! we picked up a loaf of really great multigrain bread, plus corn & flour tortillas to take with us on our trip. i also bought a few flowers to plant in our yard... the $3 i paid for them went to a fundraiser for the local high school.
after yesterday's success, we've committed ourselves to going to our local market as much as we can, and buying less of our produce from the grocery store. we ultimately want to eat seasonally, meaning that we'll buy what's available in our region, instead of buying food that's trucked (or flown, or floated) in from out of the state/country. my mom just told me the other day that she ate an apple with a new zealand sticker on it. new zealand? an apple from halfway around the world? how long did it take that little apple to get here? how much oil was used in its transport? how much crap was sent flying into the air as result? was the apple fresh? was it even good? what's the true cost of that apple, i wonder?
stay tuned to see if we can follow through with our plan... i do love some strawberries & cherries in the middle of winter. they help to cheer me up.