Sourcing farm fresh fruits and vegetables comes easy to bay area folks. As a NYC native, I can really appreciate how accessible it is to buy produce directly from local farms here in San Francisco.
There are the farmers markets, which are my absolute favorite. Not only can you buy great produce, but you have a chance to speak to the farm owners and workers them selves about the products they sell and about the process. Not to mention getting tips on how to cook it. The next best option is the community-supported agriculture (CSA). CSA’s are also known as “subscription farming”. Technically you buy a “subscription” from a farm (just as you would a magazine), and in exchange you receive a “share: of fresh local produce and/or eggs and meat. CSA’s are great in that by paying for your “share” in advance, you are helping farmers to cover some of their upfront costs. CSA’s will generally deliver to your door or provide a local pick up spot. The last way to purchase produce directly from small farms is through grocery stores (usually smaller ones) that carry produce from specific farms. Some groceries such as Bi-rite, will indicate next to the produce which farm the produce came from.
Each method has pros and cons. You will need to do research to find which method works best for you. The one thing that remains the name from all of them is that buying produce from small farms is much better for you then buying produce that has not been locally sourced. Some of the benefits are:
- More nutrients in the produce
- Produce will last longer
- Produced is usually grown without pesticides even though it may not be marked as “organic”. The “organic” seal is very expensive for small farmers to obtain so although their produce may actually be grown the same way as “organic” produce is, it does not have the “organic” title
- More money spent in local economy
- Produce is generally less $$ then in the stores
- Good for the community
- Can talk with the local farmers and best ways to cook and preserve the produce
- You will try produce you never knew existed! Who knew that there were limequats, stinging nettles, and so many varieties of squash.
One more great reason to eat produce from local farms is that it ensures that you are only eating what is in season. Eating with the seasons is great, as you end up getting a wide range of nutrients from varying your produce intake.
Here is a list of local farmers markets in the area:
Alemany Farmers’ Market (Mission/Bernal Heights) Saturdays: 6 a.m –3 p.m. 100 Alemany Blvd. 415-647-2043
Bayview Hunters Point Farmers’ Market (SOMA/Potrero Hill) Wednesdays: 8:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Bayview Opera House/Ruth Williams Memorial Theatre 4705 Third St. 415-824-0386
Castro Farmers’ Market (Castro) April 7-October 27, 2010 Wednesdays: 4 p.m.-8 p.m. Noe St. at Market St. 4705 Third St.
Crocker Galleria Farmers’ Market (Union Square/Financial District) Thursdays: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Crocker Galleria 50 Post St. 415-393-1505
Divisadero Farmers’ Market (Alamo Square) Sundays: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Grove St. at Divisadero
Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market (Embarcadero) Year-round Tuesdays: 10 a.m-2 p.m. Thursdays: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays: 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Ferry Building 1 Ferry Plaza 415-291-3276
Fillmore Farmers’ Market (Fillmore) Saturdays: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. O’Farrell at Fillmore, and Fillmore Center Plaza
Heart of the City Farmers’ Market (Civic Center) Year-round Wednesdays: 7:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Sundays: 7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Market St. (between Seventh and Eighth streets) 415-558-9455
Inner Sunset Farmers’ Market (Inner Sunset) Year-round Sundays: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. In the parking lot between 8th and 9th Avenues, south of Irving St.
Kaiser Permanente Farmers’ Market (Richmond) Wednesdays: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 2425 Geary Blvd. Parking is available at the Kaiser Hospital Garage at 2190 O’Farrell St. 800-949-3276
Mission Community Market / Mercado Comunitario De La Mission (Mission) Thursdays: 4 p.m.-8 p.m. Bartlett St. at 22nd St.
Noe Valley Farmers’ Market (Noe Valley) Year-round Saturdays: 8 a.m -1 p.m., live music at 10 a.m. 3861 24th St. between Vicksburg and Sanchez streets 415-248-1332
Stonestown Farmers’ Market (Sunset) Year-round Sundays 9 a.m.–1 p.m. West side parking lot near Macy’s off Buckingham Way 415-564-8848
UCSF Farmers’ Market (Sunset) January 13-December 8, 2010 Wednesdays, 10 a.m-3 p.m. 505 Parnassus Ave.
Upper Haight Farmers’ Market (Upper Haight) April 28-October 27 , 2010 Wednesdays, 4 p.m.-8 p.m. Waller St. at Stanyan St.
Fort Mason Farmers Market Sundays 9:30-1 38 Fort Mason, San Francisco, CA 94123 (415) 561-4323
Some CSA’s to look into
www.greenheartsfamilyfarm.com – I currently use this one and have love it!
I will be posting some great recipes made from food from my CSA boxes in weeks to come!