After a spending a week basking in the lovely warmth of the Sierra foothills, I was not surprised to find San Francisco enveloped in fog when I woke up late this morning. Being Saturday, I instinctively headed to our amazing Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. It's no secret that all of the stars in the Bay Area's foodie galaxy can be found here. The sellers here are like the rock stars of the Bay Area food scene: the growers, ranchers, bakers and cheese makers whose names you see sprinkled all over the menus of the eco-conscious restaurants who follow Alice Waters' lead.
Over the next month, I'll be traveling to New York City and Spain, so this was my last visit to the Saturday market until August. Wherever I travel, I make a point of visiting the best farmers markets to discover what's in season locally (frankly, after markets and restaurants, museums and other sights place a distant third). So before I head abroad, I wanted to make note of what's currently in season in the Bay Area so I can compare what's available here with what I find at the Union Square Greenmarket in New York and at Spain's most famous markets, including La Boqueria in Barcelona, La Brecha in San Sebastián and the Mercado Central in Valencia.
So, what's in my market basket? I bought multi-colored summer squash and tiny sweet strawberries from Lucero Organic Farm, blackberries (so delicious I ate the whole basket as soon as I got home) from Lagier Ranches , White Lady peaches and Santa Rosa plums from Blossom Bluff Orchards, Arctic Sweet white nectarines from Kashiwase Farms, yellow peaches and the first green beans of the season from Fairview Gardens (located near Santa Barbara), pimientos de padron from Happy Quail Farms , farm fresh chicken eggs from Marin Sun Farms, a loaf of levain bread from Della Fattoria (my favorite bakery), and the freshest wild King salmon in the Bay Area caught yesterday by Larry Miyamura of Shogun Fish Company.
Overall, in the category of stone fruit, apricots and Santa Rosa plums are at their peak, cherries are nearly finished and peaches are finally sweetening up (unfortunately, this year I'll most likely miss my favorite local fruit, Steven Kashiwase's Arctic Rose white nectarine--a small sacrifice for a trip to Spain). Amongst vegetables, summer favorites like local green beans, peppers (green) and corn are just starting to appear, while field tomatoes and eggplants are still a few weeks away. Asparagus is finished, but local garlic, artichokes, peas and fava beans are available.
Besides King salmon, I saw local anchovies, oysters and halibut (but, alas, no sardines). Grass-fed beef and lamb are also abundant, as are our wonderful local cheeses, including the first local buffalo milk mozzarella of the season (available at Cowgirl Creamery). Next Saturday... (hopefully) the Union Square Greenmarket!