One of the great advantages of living in San Francisco is having access to some amazing fresh produce, year round. A number of the world’s finest chefs as well as home culinistas/os draw their inspiration from these local flavors and lucky for us, the local sun, rain and soil composition grant both Alice Waters and Alice Whatchamahoozy access to the same special ingredients. Both of these leagues tend to collect their fundamentals from farmers’ markets throughout Northern California and none have garnered more heart than that held at SF’s historic Ferry Building.
The weather took a super spring-like turn this week so I did what you do and pulled out my open toed shoes, ate a bowl of fruit for lunch and cleaned out a closet (had a brief conversation with a pair of white pants – we decided that would be pushing it). No spring flinging, however, was more refreshing than Saturday’s market.
I have been noodling over vegetable recipes lately, falling for those from Jamie Oliver and the aforementioned Alice Waters, appreciating their no-fuss approach to to the almighty veg. A little butter, some rosemary and voila, Bob’s your uncle. This along with the itch to shoot some photos and the search for Oscar night snackeree has inspired my trip to the Ferry Building, this week.
As per usual, both sides of the building were humming by 8:15. Before I had a chance to plot my course I caught a glimpse of some women at the Twin Girls Farms stand draining the ever-loving life out of their sliced orange samples. What followed, for them, was something of a Meg Ryan, Harry/Sally cafe scene. So, I grabbed a slice and quickly caught on. Those oranges were among the sweetest I’ve tasted, like candy. And while there is something satisfying in spending an hour meandering through the stands before finding the jewel of the isles I’m afraid I discovered the day’s treasure, straight away. Delicious.
Something I find special about the farmers market is the spirit it seems to extract from the people. Both stand masters and browsers seem to sparkle more than perhaps they would otherwise. There’s a special sort of vibe that a group of people in search of something healthy and beautiful emits. They appear a skosh charmed and giddy (dare I say, flirtatious), maybe even intoxicated by it all. It’s very warm and contagious. Warm also is the idea that the tomatoes, the eggplant and the free range chickens have been grown and raised with love and that marketgoers are then inspired to create something special of them to share. A, sort of, produce pay-it-forward, if you will.
In the end, I walked away with some carrots and yellow onions to roast with chicken, a bulging head of cauliflower, some dried white nectarines and of course a few of those mind-bending oranges. While all are proving as delicious as they were fun to collect and photograph, the most special market-treat of all on was running into friends Lawrence and Lynda Taylor who are in town visiting their son, Scott. Talk about sparkly, special people. I regret that in all of these photos I don’t have one of them to share. Enjoy SF and your Marina morning walks L and L.