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Jul 30, 2006 07:53 PM

Temescal Farmer's Market

We visited the new Temescal Farmer's Market at the DMV parking lot on Claremont, which is on Sundays from 9am to 1pm. There were maybe 40 vendors there, and the selection of produce was good, but a smaller than at the Ferry Building because the spaces were much tighter, and leaned strongly to fruit. Some vendors familiar from the Ferry Building market were Hamada, Blue Bottle, Donna's Tamales, and I also heard Bella Ella had been there the last few weeks, but weren't there today. There were also stands from Bakesale Betty, Bay Breads, Sukhi's Indian, the goat milk ice cream people whose name is eluding me, a place with fresh shucked oysters, an organic Thai vendor, and a Mexican grilled corn vendor. There wasn't an East Bay discount though, the prices were the same as those at the Ferry Building. I was a little surprised there wasn't a single meat stand, although there was one guy selling wild salmon at (for this season) reasonable prices. The crowd seemed very young from the neighborhood and friendly with each other (I think I ran into all the neighbors I know there); Charlie Hallowell of Pizzaiolo was buying nectarines and holding court at Hamada. There was also the standard annoying set of world and folk music hacks wailing away. For basic stuff, I would definitely go there rather than schlep across the bay from north Oakland, but if I really needed a specific ingredient, especially a leafy green or root vegetable, I might still might trek to San Francisco on Saturday.

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  1. Just came back. The lumpia* were delicious, the produce almost unreal in its beauty. Had a fresh roll at the Thai--at $3 for one with lots of sprouts and jicama in a rice-paper wrapper with peanut and red sweet sauce atop--quite expensive. The chicken/pork lumpia (my husband ate 3) were a bargain at two for $3. Donna's tamales looked good but the husband declined--didn't want all the masa because of his diet (I know--ate fried lumpia.)

    Lots of young families soaking up the sun and waiting in line for lattes. Some rude bike riders, a few out of control kids ramming doll strollers into people's legs but all-in-all a very pleasant place. I would have lingered but the hub wanted to get back to his project.

    I still longed for the less pretty, less yuppie Alemany FM, the gold standard for me. Always something to discover: a new Asian green, unusual dates, jujubes, a subtle variation on honey... And at Alemany there is the Ferrari Bros stand, full of the freshest nuts I ever tasted. Organic nuts.

    One thing of note at Temescal: beautiful orchids, incredibly cheap. Less than Trader Joe's--$7-$10.

    *The lady was super nice. I would have had chicken adobo but instead of that she had baked spaghetti in Alfredo sauce. Think she miscalculated her market as no one was trying this.