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Mar 16, 2002 10:00 PM

Sat. Embarcadero Farmers Market-visit before it's nothing

  • d

Gen Xers and aging Yuppies w/ kids overrun this Satur-
day morning event on the waterfront,It is an unusually friendly,homogenous and mingly crowd.Overheard snatches
of conversation " Is this my double non fat mocha?...
Get a skirt steak and grate some kale...I usually order the spinach samosa"
The big waits were for Zuckerman Farms beer battered deep fat fried asparagus spears ($4).Sneaking into the kitchen, I spot warm 16 oz. cans of Keystone Light. Is
this a flavour secret?
This Saturday was a blue sky, mid-60's morning.At the exit, I queried the lavender lady about the crowds-
"depends on the weather. real busy in the winter.
Summertime-this place is nothing."

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  1. Each time I get fed up with the wildly over-priced goods, I come upon $1 a bunch greens [eight different varieties today!] or some such. The small cafe au lait at the great DeStijl [?] Cafe across the street is $1.25 w/free refills which they don't broadcast.If anyone who frequents the Levi Plaza extraveganza hasn't been to the Alemany St. Farmer's market, you are in for a treat in terms of price, and ethnic diversity. Despite its pretentiousness, I absolutely enjoy the "scene" at Levi Plaza on a sunny Sat. morning, although my money gets spent at Alemany or the Clement Street markets, for the most part.

    1. Oh fer pete's sake...

      You're only NOW noticing this?!? Where hast thou been for the past 7 or 8 years?

      It's ALWAYS been overrun with yuppies / Gen Xers and (insert your favorite group to hate) paying far too much for their mediocre cherry chocolate bread and organic carrots.

      The real Chowhounds hit the Alemany Farmer's Market and get the same produce at half the price.

      17 Replies
      1. re: Erik

        and where, pray tell, is the Alemany Farmer's Market?

        1. re: Kim Cooper

          Hi Kim,

          A quick search on Google turned up this:

          Alemany Farmer's Market
          100 Alemany Blvd San Francisco, CA (415) 647-9423

          It is also on the list of California Certified Farmer's Markets.



          1. re: Andy P.

            Thanks Andy!

            If you're serious about good produce and didn't hit the lottery, go here. It's the same stuff. Really.

            1. re: Erik

              I disagree, the vendors are not the same. It is not the same. Different is not bad, but not the same vendors, or comparable vendors.

              Not so much organic.

              Cheaper prices.

              1. re: nosame

                i agree alemany is great. but go before 10 a.m. the yuppie scum and their strollers invade then.

                1. re: ankimo
                  Zach Georgopoulos

                  "i agree alemany is great. but go before 10 a.m. the yuppie scum and their strollers invade then."

                  Jeez, do I sense some antipathy on this board to people with children buying produce? I dunno, I'm neither Yuppie nor Gen-X (I'm part of that forgotten age-group in between), nor do I have children, but I'm certainly not opposed to those people buying vegetables. Anyhow, for those who are so opposed to children getting in the way of their shopping, another good farmer's market takes place at UN Plaza during the week while the kiddies are in school. I think it's on Tuesdays, or is it Wednesdays?

                  1. re: Zach Georgopoulos

                    kids aren't the problem.

                    it's the obnoxious parents who push their double-wide baby strollers with built-in latte holders thru crowded places and act as if everyone in their path needs to get the hell outta their way because they're on a mission.

                    gee. thanx for letting us know your 'privates' are in good, working order.

                    waht's next? a fistfight over radicchio? ive witnessed it

                    1. re: DeeLuxe
                      Zach Georgopoulos

                      Heh. Well I think you can pretty much anticipate that a weekend in-town farmer's market will be dominated by strollers and lattes. Doesn't bother me, as I tend to be oblivious to other people when food is involved. Frankly, I think the whole affair is over-rated anyhow. Hence the weekday alternative of the UN Plaza market. Also, I think Alemany is a daily thing, not just weekends, but I may be wrong. I seem to recall a restaurant owner telling me he goes there every day at the crack of dawn. Does anyone know?

                      1. re: Zach Georgopoulos

                        The Alemany market is just saturday mornings. They are sometimes organic, but mainly just stuff that the sellers have left over from selling to the produce markets in town. Also they have fresh live fish and fowl which is nice. The Alemany market is (mostly) the same venodrs as the ones at Civic Center.
                        On Sunday mornings the market place (at Alemany) turns into a Flea Market. The coolest flea market in town.
                        Bernal Heights is the best place in the world.
                        Yuppies and strollers and latte's and dogs and hippies and drunks and all.....
                        stop bitching and keep eating.

                        1. re: Zach Georgopoulos

                          Yes, Alemany is Saturdays only for food. Very little is certified organic, but it's my favorite market if you want to get fresh produce and be surrounded by real people speaking lots of languages. There are plenty of pesticide free products that aren't certified. Everything from apples to almonds to pomelos and chutney this time of year; peaches, melons, pomegranites, other times of year. Worth a trip just for $5 a pound shitakes.

                          The ambiance is much nicer than Civic Center, especially with kids. And like CC, very cheap. Lots of samples, and a parking lot.

                          It opens much earlier on Saturdays than I get up. Many of the vendors drive from Stockton and Fresno; the date man comes all the way from Indio with his wondrous dates and grapefruits.

                          During the summer, the vendors stay until 3 or so. We were there yesterday at 1 and about half the booths had already gone home. Good to go late if you want a case of something. Don't be afraid to bargain.

                          1. re: Windy

                            Shitakes were 79ยข/lb. on Wednesday at my favorite produce stand on Stockton St. in SF Chinatown, and they're rarely more than $2/lb. at any of the markets in that stretch.

                          2. re: Zach Georgopoulos

                            Alemany is only on Saturdays. The UN Plaza Farmers Market is Wednesdays and Saturdays. IMO, the UN has very cheap prices but pretty spotty quality, with very little organics. Alemany is good, a little more organic stuff and some nice honey, citrus, the Pan-o-rama bread people, etc, with pretty cheap prices .But the Embarcadero is in a class by itself--yes, expensive but very high quality. Plus, it's fun! The crowds in summer can be a drag, but if you get up very early and get there right at 8, you'll beat most of the crush. I always have a good time chatting with vendors, grabbing a sausage sandwich from Aidell's, and running into chefs and other food-industry folks--it's kind of a market square for food people. And remember, those vendors can only stay on their nice organic farms if people buy their stuff. It seems very selfish to imply that it would be more convenient for you if only select, non-stroller-pushing people would shop this market. If that was the case, the market would be out of business fast.

                            1. re: dixieday
                              Zach Georgopoulos

                              "It seems very selfish to imply that it would be more convenient for you if only select, non-stroller-pushing people would shop this market. If that was the case, the market would be out of business fast"

                              I wasn't implying that! I was simply pointing out the alternatives for those who seem bothered by it. Like I said, I really could care less about the other people around me once I'm on a food finding mission -- children or otherwise! All that said, is there a farmer's market that's open every morning on weekdays in the area? I'm trying to figure out where this chef once told me he goes every day...

                              1. re: Zach Georgopoulos

                                re: market open every morning

                                i think the chef in question would have been referring to the produce market, which is in the general alemany environs, and sells to the food business buyers like markets and restaurants, likely by the case and never to the general public

                                to the local market list i'd like to add the tuesday berkeley farmers market ---petite by comparison, mostly organic and some different farms than the SF market and with a more mellow vibe. this market opens at 2 i believe --about four blocks north of Ashby on MLKjr way ,at Dwight.

                                anyone frequent the saturday berkeley market?
                                i've wanted to go to and check it out, but as a ferry plaza diehard, i'm always there instead.

                        2. re: Zach Georgopoulos

                          The UN Plaza market is on Wednesdays. I've only wandered through it so I can't recommend it either way. Being of the Eastbaynian persuasion, I love the downtown Oakland market on Friday mornings. It's at 9th and Clay and you can get good tamales.

                          As for the kids/strollers/yuppie/beentheredonethat stuff....What Would Jim Leff Do? He'd say, Cut to the chow, people! Good grief. Lighten up and eat.

                    2. re: Erik
                      Stett Holbrook

                      Not quite the same. Unlike the admittedly more crowded Ferry Plaza market, there were few organic produce vendors during my last few visits. There's little or no cheese for sale and no meat. But there are live chickens. That said, the wisecracking Russian piroshki vendor and fresh fish are reasons enough to go. I found fresh octopus and sardines the other day.

                  2. re: Kim Cooper

                    The Alameny market is on the northwest side of the intersection of 101 and 280, visible on the right from the highway as you go south on 101 and take the turn-off for 280. Some vendors are the same, some are just seasonal. Its best season is late summer and early fall, but some things are available only in the winter. A few weeks ago, a truck came from Santa Barbara with live shrimp at $3.50 per pound. But unless you are a regular, you might miss such opportunities because the vendor does not have a dependable schedule.

                2. Since you refer to "aging yuppies with kids", maybe someday when you grow up and you are lucky enough to have kids, you'll take them to the farmers market so they get to know the people that grow their food. What a concept, huh? My son has been going to this market since he was 5 days old. He knows that apples don't come from Safeway, but from a tree, maybe grown by the Smits. His favorite breakfast, which to his regret is no longer served, was grilled anchovies with aioli (and he was 2 years old...). My daughter, who prefers a breakfast of hot chocolate and chocolate croissants, or anything chocolate, loves going to the market because she gets to pick out the fresh organic fruit she wants to eat for lunch during the week. And what about paying for that overpriced asparagus? Well, I'd rather give my money to the guy who grew it and picked it yesterday, than some supermarket chain that payed half of what it was worth, and finally got it on their shelves 4 days later. Go get your veggies drenched with pesticides at some other market, you get what you pay for.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Bruce Cole

                    "maybe someday when you grow up and you are lucky enough to have kids"

                    I take offense to this statement. I'm a 32 year old married woman who is happily "child free". Not everyone wants kids. Don't try to push your values on others. Let's just talk about food, okay.

                    1. re: DeeDee

                      Try not calling everyone with kids and a stroller a "yuppie", since you obviously don't know them personally. It is insulting as well. If you want to stick to food, drop the name-calling.

                      1. re: Bruce Cole

                        It has nothing to do with being a "yuppie", whatever that ill-defined term means.

                        It has to do with buying the most gigantic stroller you can, in order to make as many people move for you as possible.

                        FWIW, when my daughter was a baby, I never owned a stroller. What an encumbrance!

                        1. re: ironmom


                          Time to return to talking about food, please.

                          Any further postings about babies and yuppies, here on this message board dedicated to food discussion, will be deleted.

                        2. re: Bruce Cole

                          If you look at my post I did not refer to you as a "yuppie". I simply said that when it comes to kids/no kids that you shouldn't try to impose your values on others. Back to the chow!