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May 4, 2007 03:53 PM

Ferry Plaza - So long, Fitzgerald

Another great vendor hits the dust.

Cuesa, Cuesa ... sure these vendors are giving polite exit messages ... read between the lines.

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          1. Fitz emailed me today to report his decision not to come back to Ferry Plaza this year. He says his sales have dropped steadily and severely over the four years (2003-2006 inclusive) since the move from Green Street to Ferry Plaza; he blames the influx of tourists, crowding out actual customers (the tourists look but buy little or nothing) in the market and making parking, never easy, next to impossible. He's on the CUESA board so his explanation carries weight; right or wrong, the sales figures don't lie, and he (along with Mariquita Farm) is packing it in. Is the Ferry market headed toward becoming a bogus tourist attraction, "market-land," with a few upscale shops (the wine place, Recchiuti) but fewer and fewer actual growers selling actual food to local customers? I sure hope not.

            2 Replies
            1. re: rootlesscosmo

              The certified portion of the market is reserved for farmers, so they can't be replaced by other businesses. There are lots of other farmers in line to get any spaces that open up.

              There are lots of tourists, it's true, but it's a great place to make contacts to develop CSA and wholesale business.

              Note that Mariquita didn't switch to another market with fewer tourists. Since they're selling everything they can grow through wholesale and CSA channels their years at Ferry Plaza helped them build up, they don't need to bother with farmers markets at all.

              Parking's easy on Saturday. There are always lots of spaces in the 75 Howard structure, or you can park for free in Embarcadero Center if you get your ticket validated. Both are closer to the market than the average space I used to find up on Green Street, which was much less convenient to public transportation.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                There were also some complaints about not letting more of the La Cocina people sell their wares but the bottom line is they don't want more prepared food, only producers with ingredients. I think it's pretty cool, although I would like to see Huarache Loco and some of the others competing for my tamales dollars!