August 06, 2006

Snapping photos like a tourist - The San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market

"Shipping is a terrible thing to do to vegetables. They probably get jet-lagged, just like people." -Elizabeth Berry

Our adventure began midway through the 7:00 hour. That's early on a Saturday for us and for our friends -- a necessary if evil part of meeting our objectives for the day. After a windy and brisk ferry ride from Vallejo we began a leisurely exploration of all of the wonderful things the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market has to offer. We wandered briefly inside the ferry building perusing the marketplace vendors before heading outdoors to check out the market offerings.

The Experience: We wandered among the booths with no real destination -- tasting melons, tomatoes, cheeses, olive oils, peppers, jams, jellies, nut butters and a small ton of stone fruit along the way. Chris is going off to study the culinary arts next month, so watching him canvass the market in search of the perfect nectarine *and* discover an appreciation for cheese and June Taylor's preserves along the way was a wonderful experience for all of us. There's just no greater joy than sharing those kind of discoveries -- that good food, *really* good food *can* be that amazing, that paradigm shifting.

We also enjoyed talking with the many vendors, learning about their farms, their livestock, their products and their lives. Chris learned the subtle differences between the honeykist and redgold varieties of nectarine. I spoke again with the folks from my CSA, and came away with renewed enthusiasm for the farm tour later this month and a name for the melon we love so much: Galia. Richard sampled several cheddars as the attentive folks at Cowgirl helped him select one that worked for him.

We stopped for lunch at Taylors Refresher, the perfect combination of fast food and fresh food. Most of us opted for the day's special: a BLT comprised of market-fresh ingredients.

The Market Bag: We came home with quite a stash: Yummy sungold tomatoes from Capay Organic that I'm eating like candy. A selection of Chris' favorite nectarines. Humbolt Fog and Red Hawk cheese from Cowgirl. Strawberry Conserve and Apricot-Almond Fruit Butter from June Taylor. A crusty loaf of Acme Olive Herb Bread. A jar of roasted almond butter and a half dozen ideas jotted down in my notebook for using it. And the most wonderful goat cheese I've had the pleasure of tasting in a L-O-N-G time.

On the Menu: We wasted no time putting our bounty to work. Faster and healthier than any drive thru: a breakfast of Strawberry Conserve spooned into St. Benoit plain yogurt. Yum. We snacked on some of the olive-herb bread before giving half a loaf to John's parents. The cheeses will make their debut during my next girl's night with Tracy.

A pleaant, productive and profitable market day. Next stop: Walnut Creek.

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sam said...

especially if they are not allowed any liquid on their journey.