Saturday morning at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market was classically representative of the way I shop the market. My plan was to get in and out in about an hour and go home to start my day. But all the vendors had stories, and I ran into friends and two and a half hours later, I was trudging home, my arms laden with lots of delicious goodies for the week.
This time of year is special at the market, as I think that the market changes drastically from week to week.
A couple days before the market, CUESA mentioned on their twitter feed that Lagier Ranches would be selling the elusive sour cherry this week. That was enough to motivate me to get to the market right when it opened, and it was a good thing that I did. The scene around the small yield of sour cherries was intense. "That woman just bought $50 worth of cherries!" my friend Jenn mentioned to me. I know that sour cherries are pretty rare here, and that they have a nearly cult following among some communities. The cherries were completely gone within about 45 minutes, and I brought home my precious two pounds to brandy for cocktails.
Fruit crops burst on to the scene for just a moment and are gone. My favorite Bing cherries are here, but only for about a month. I tasted Bings from many vendors this week before deciding that I would purchase my weekly ration from Johann at Hidden Star Orchards. Sierra Cascade Blueberries will be around for the next few weeks. I love Sierra Cascade's blueberries because they are small, full of flavor, and slightly tart. You can find them in the back of the building, right below the Gandhi statue. This morning, Sam mentioned CandyCot apricots which are only around for a couple of weeks a year as well. These apricots are extremely high on the Brix Scale for sweetness, and I see people carry them around the market like treasures.
If you know Nigel Walker, the proprietor of Eatwell Farm, you know that he is always working on new, fun projects and products. Word has it that he is working toward a grain CSA which would provide customers with a variety of grains and dried beans throughout the year -- much like his vegetable CSA does now. When I saw that he was selling large bunches of triticale (a wheat-like grain) this week, I knew that soon he would be providing us with fantastic local and organic grain.
This week, Fatted Calf debuted a new all-beef hot dog made with lamb casings. The beef is sourced from Marin Sun Farms, and I am really looking forward to tasting them. By the time I arrived at the Fatted Calf booth around 8:15 am, they were gone so I will be sure to pre-order by email next time.
The photo at the top of the post is of the lovely strawberries that Lucero Organic grows. Many of us are still missing our beloved Ella Bella Farm -- a great farm that closed up shop in California last year. But I've found that Lucero's strawberries almost make me forget how much I loved Ella Bella's. They are a great replacement from a farm that brings impeccably beautiful produce to the market.