Marin Civic Center Farmer's Market
- Stanley Stephan
To me, this market is the most fun and it has many of the Ferry Plaza Vendors. Can't tell you how prices compare as I haven't been to Ferry Plaza on Saturday since opening day.
Some of the finds in this market were:
Triple T ranch which specializes in Hydroponic and naturally grown produce and free range eggs. They had lovely pastel green eggs from araucoma chickens. The yolk is supposed to be a bright yellow. Will try these for breakfast tomorrow morning.
M&CP farms has olives, pickles and various canned veggies. The Sweet Hot Gerkins are a stand out, IMO. These are West Coast pickles and help redefine pickles. Not cloying sweet, but they have that gerkin crunch with a hot jalapeno kick at the end.
They also have excellent cheese stuffed olives. They had blue cheese stuffed olives, but the parmesan-romanno cheese stuffed olives were the best. Great for your Atkins/Zone fat fix.
De Santis farms has some outstanding citrus. The sweet limes really are. Juicy like a Florida orange, you could make limeade from these limes without using sugar. Wonderful stuff.
Nice variety of oranges, limes, grapefruit that were sweet and juicy ... Tarrocco Sicilean blood oranges, morrow blood oranges, valencias, navels, Seville, Cara Cara. They also had the least expensive mulberries at the market ($3).
Leon Day's Condiment's was a wonderstand of seemingly hundreds of exotic condiments. Leon can tell you how to get the best use out of sauce and is intensely enthusiastic about his products. Nice drinks too. I had a guava mint drink that was very good.
Six types of mango cilantro chutneys, cranberry kiwi chutney (2 types), pineapple and jalapeno chutney (2 types), sun dried tomato and Jalapeno chutney, and Major Day's chutney.
About 20 jam's and jellies with varieties like guava coconut jelly and peach mango ginger vanilla jam.
About another 15 sauces, dressings and glazes including habenero hot sauce, sushi sauce, lemon glaze, smoky coconut dressing and steak sauce surprise.
Six types of salsa's and a mushroom pate. Interesting stand.
Joanne's Sweet Temptations has a delicious, buttery toffee.
Santa Fe Trading Company with it's colorful handcrafted microwave tortilla warmers for sale also has some non-traditional but good, IMO, tortillas. My favorite was the chipolte (is that the over used flavor of the year or what. I still like it though). They also have the following tortilla flavors: Black bean garlic, garlic butter, hot habenero, jalapeno salsa, New Mexican Red Chili, Green chili garlic, Spinach and onion, apple pie (actually not bad) and pumpkin spice (not the season).
Calio Groves which sells it's olive oils and vinegars at Berkeley as well has a very nice Persian lime olive oil using whole crushed fruit.
For you Midwesterners, "Just Like Grandma's" sells a nice tomato jam.
Prather Ranch sells grilled organic hamburgers as well as it's meats.
Didn't try the hamburgers as I was still hung up on those Rosti chickens. Another poster said the Costco chickens were of equal quality and cheaper. I almost left the line when some shoppers strolled by and said the chickens were a little disappointing.
The little bite I had of the chicken hot off the rotisserie was tasty. It's a show in itself just seeing if these guys are going to die from the heat. I think I have some second degree burns just standing in line. They suggested squeezing lime juice on the skin and reheating at 225 for fifteen minutes to restore the chicken to it's crispy, just grilled flavor. Will be trying that tonight. the car did smell wonderful on the trip home though.
Other prepared food stands include Adell's Sausage, Quick n EZE Indian, Avi-iously delicious falafel and a crepe stand.
There were a few egg vendors, the largest being Hillcrest-Petaluma which also carried duck eggs (lots of duck eggs at the market).
Bread / bakery stand was Semifreddi with some pastries you don't see in most of the stores.
Lot's of nice flower vendors with Navarro selling some beautiful roses.
Two fresh fish vendors.
Happy Nuts had plain and flavored nuts like the lime-chili pistachios.
Springhill cheese had a great quark and they were selling butter which I forgot to pick up.
Neufeld with it's spectacular dried fruits is at this market (last saw them at the Oakland market near the lake).
Some of the Ferry Plaza vendors included Blossom Bluff, Bodega goat cheese, Eatwell farms, Capay organics, Balakean produce (with those wonderful squash), Marshall Honey, Bull Dog Cactus, Captn Mike's Holey Smoke, Marin Gourmet and Ecco cafe coffee.
There are a whole lot of produce vendors with wonderful stuff that I left out and lot's of seasonal vendors. Joe Gotelli & Sons excellent cherries mentioned in an earlier post on the San Mateo market (from someone else) was there.
This market has a lot of room to spread out so it is a little more pleasant to stroll around. Very handicapped friendly. I saw a few people in wheelchairs there and they had quite a few spaces available close to the market.
It is also the most child friendly market with clowns making some decent looking balloon animals and a few of those blown up houses where kids go in and jump. I'm a little ambivalent about the live pony rides. I always feel sorry for those poor ponies who live lives walking in endless circles.
A nice end to my vacation. My cupboards are stocked and my freezer full. Anyone visiting me will eat well.
The link below is to KQED which I guess did a show on farmer's markets. The link to the farmer of the month is for FeNella's Berries/Yerena Strawberry Farm which had some spectacular berries at the Civic Center Market today. Nice past reviews of other farmers at the end of the page.