San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers Market Restaurants, Wine, Travel, Opinions

San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers Market HeartHeart
San Francisco
Open: Saturday and Sunday morning (8am till 1.30pm)

Reviewed By

Sue Dyson and Roger McShane
Phone Number: +1 415 291 3276
Address: One Ferry Building
San Francisco, California
Country: United States

One of San Francisco's great institutions, a visit to the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers Market will help you understand more about the San Francisco food phenomenon. You can learn more here about why San Francisco is so special for food lovers than anywhere else in town.
Depending on the time of year, there are anywhere between 60 and 100 stalls. Each one is usually operated by its owners or someone who works for them. The stallholders are knowledgeable and enthusiastic and see the market as much as an opportunity to educate as to sell. To that end, there are usually samples available so that even if you can't buy baskets of vegetables because you're a tourist and you don't have anywhere to cook them, you can still try some of the best San Francisco has to offer. It's almost enough though to encourage you to search out apartment rather than hotel accommodation.
You can, though, easily buy sufficient supplies for a picnic and there's a handkerchief-sized park next door to the market. The oyster supplier (Hog Island Oyster Company) wasn't allowed to open our oysters (even cool San Francisco has what seem to us crazy local health regulations) but he was happy to sell us unopened oysters and lend us his knife so that we could (far less deftly no doubt) open them ourselves. As well as delicious and beautiful fresh fruit and vegetables from suppliers such as Eatwell Farm, you may also find Flying Disc Ranch dates, including delicious Barhi and medjool, Gingrass Family Sausages (owned by David and Annie Gingrass of Hawthorne Lane fame), Hoffman game birds (as used at Chez Panisse), and eggs from Petaluma Farms. This is food of the finest quality.
On Saturday's the market operates a Cook with the Chef program. A guest restaurant chef or food writer is invited to browse the market for ingredients and then, starting at 11am, conducts a cooking class. The chef is in a little tent tucked into one corner and there are about 40 or so chairs available. People stay for a while then their place is taken by someone else. It's great free food tourist entertainment and you may even get a sample.
There's even a recipe book ‘Fresh from the Farmers' Market' written by Janet Fletcher, from the San Francisco Chronicle which includes recipes for each of the main products you can buy.
Several local restaurants also have food stalls so don't eat before you arrive. We were especially impressed with North Beach's Rose Pistola and there's also a great stall selling coffee.
Sometimes there are also special events, for example a tasting of local late-harvest olive oils. Visit Citysearch to find out if there are any upcoming events or email the market itself. Who knows, what's coming up might influence your travel dates! We always try to be in San Francisco on a Saturday morning and a special event that was of interest would make it doubly attractive. You can also visit for more information about the market stall holders.
The same market operates at the corner of Market & Embarcadero (the Justin Herman Plaza) on Tuesdays.
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