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Dec 13, 2006 06:27 PM

San Francisco Bay Area Farmers Markets Recs

I've been to the one at the Ferry Building. While there is a large variety of offerings, the prices are really high and it is too crowded with tourists. Are there other markets with similar offerings, less to no tourists, and perhaps better prices?


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  1. Civic Center Farmers Market on Wednesdays and Sundays. There are generally more offerings on Wednesdays. The biggest differences between this one and the ferry building are:

    -an abundance of Asian vegetables
    -less organic offerings
    -MUCH cheaper prices

    There's also one on Alemany which I havent been to, but I'm sure other people will have something to say about it.

    3 Replies
    1. re: mchan02

      I really like the Alemany Market. I haven't been to Civic Center in over a year or so, so it might have changed, but I find Alemany to be a nice combination between the organic/high priced but lovely produce and the inexpensive family run farms. I can buy $4 a pound apples and then spend 50 cents on enough daikon to fill 4 quart jars with pickles. I like the dichotomy.

      1. re: mchan02

        I agree...I go on most Wednesdays to Civic Center (I had to skip it today, but I've been going consistently this fall). It's starting to die down a little bit (fewer stands than in September and October). But there's great stuff and very affordable:

        things like onions, garlic, tomatoes, asian vegetables (bok choi, chinese broc, long beans, chinese eggplant), broccoli, persimmon, apple, green beans, etc. are all very inexpensive...definitely cheaper than at Safeway and much better. But as mchan02 said, fewer organic options (though there are some)

        I went to Civic Center this past Sunday and also agree that Wednesday has more offerings.

        On an average Wednesday I go to the farmer's market with 10 dollars. Sometimes I allow myself 12 dollars. With that, I always fill my tote bag (sometimes to overflowing) and then lug it onto muni and head to work. It's not easy to predict what will look best on any given wednesday, but it's guaranteed that you'll find something good.

        Dave MP

        1. re: Dave MP

          The San Rafael Civic Center farmers market on Sundays is very good.

      2. There's a recent thread on Alemany. I love it for a great balance of price and quality.

        1. I like the Thursday and Saturday markets (the Thursday market is older and has more vendors) in the parking lot of the Serramonte Shopping Center in Daly City. It's not huge, but the quality of the produce is good and there's more Asian produce there than at the Ferry Building. There are also a couple of seafood vendors and a number of prepared food vendors. I really like the baked goods at this market.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Nancy Berry

            I frequent Serramonte market, too. They close up shop around 1p.m., so if you dare go close to that hour, you can pick up some great bargains, but you never know what will be left. I regularly visit the Dibrova Sausage guy, several organic vegie stalls (and more that are no spray and cheaper), good flower and egg sellers, pick up a roli roti chicken and sometimes the half moon bay fish folks have really fair prices on pristine fish, + there are usually half moon bay brussels sprouts, artichokes, or peas (depending on the season). And you are so right, Nancy, the Asian produce variety is astounding!

          2. Fantastic. Thank you everyone for all your quick and informative responses. However, can anyone shed light on the East Bay farmers markets, particularly the Berkeley market?

            Thanks again for all your help.

            10 Replies
            1. re: basilcheddar

              I go to the Berkeley Saturday market almost every week, and I'm a big fan of it. Some of the prices are the same as in San Francisco at the Ferry Building (because they get some of the same vendors), but many of the prices are significantly less, and the shoppers at the market are all or mostly actual shoppers/locals, not tourists. Berkeley also has a Tuesday market, which I've been to a few times -- it's much smaller than Saturday.

              1. re: JasmineG

                And the Berkeley Saturday market is really convenient to BART.

                The Tuesday Market is halfway between Berkeley and Ashby BARTs.

                There's also a market in Oakland on Sundays I believe, in the parking lot of the DMV on Claremont, near the Claremont exit of 24.

                1. re: Louise

                  The Tuesday market is actually quite a bit closer to the Ashby station, about six blocks.

              2. re: basilcheddar

                The Berkeley market is one of my favourites. It is mellow and has great farmers you won't find in the city. (Blue Heron, River Dog, Ram Das). I am particularly fond of the Tuesday market, it runs from 2-7pm, and offers a great opportunity to shop mid-week.
                If you want to haul over the GG bridge, the Thursday morning Marin market is nice too, again with farmers you won't find in the city. (Full Belly). It's really not too bad of a drive either. On Sundays it's all about the kiddies, though.

                1. re: rabaja

                  Firme's another great only-in-Berkeley vendor.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Firme and Hudson Fish also sell at the Sunday market in Kensington (full disclosure-I'm a vendor there too):


                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      Firme has dropped out of the markets. The people at the Ecology Center booth said he's thinking of starting a farm stand (in Gustine).

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        I've been wondering about him. That's too bad. His stuff was good, and his prices were quite reasonable, especially for Berkeley.

                  2. re: basilcheddar

                    I love the Berkeley market; I shop there 2-3 times a week. They have some really excellent vendors, and very few tourists. Prices aren't as high as the Ferry Building, but higher than Oakland. Two unique things about Berkeley: all of the vendors are required to post a sheet explaining their methods for fertilizing, pest control, weed control, etc, and the prepared food vendors have to buy most of their ingredients from the farm stands. I also appreciate their later hours; you can show up on Saturday at 10 or 11 and all the rare food hasn't sold out yet. The Tuesday and Saturday markets are destinations, the Thursday one isn't.

                    This time of year, my preferred vendors are Ram Dass for citrus (Tue, Sat), La Tercera for herbs and squash (Sat), Four Sisters for greens (Tue, Sat), Brokaw for avocadoes (Tues, Sat), and Fatted Calf for charcuterie. The best prepared food is from Andy and Cindy's Thai Cuisine. Hudson Fish is selling fresh Dungeness (Tue, Thur, Sat).

                    1. re: basilcheddar

                      The Berkeley market is great -- it is a Saturday "must stop & buy" for us, too! As Morton said, I lot of the same vendors are there, including (but by no means limited to) the Fatted Calf and Blue Bottle Coffee.

                    2. The farmers market in Downtown/Old/Chinatown Oakland from 10am-2pm on Fridays is great. Get off at the 12th Street, Oakland BART. It has a large variety of fruits and vegies at great prices plus kettle corn, tamales and other prepared foods.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: heltsai

                        And it actually starts earlier. Dark rainy winter mornings at seven a.m. you will find shoppers elbowing and jostling around stands overflowing with greens, lemongrass, and raw peanuts.

                        That reminds me, last week the citrus vendor was back again with Buddha's hand, oranges, and sweet lemons which are not personally my thing but obviously *someone* buys them.

                        No blood oranges yet.