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Aug 4, 2007 06:50 PM

Alemany Farmer's Market Report

I've been going to the Alemany market almost every Saturday morning for the last six months as part of a (possibly crazy) project to make lots of jam in my little studio apartment.

Today I took some pictures of non-jam fruits, and thought I'd share them as well as some tips on how to approach the market.

This market is pretty small, so I take a full lap to check out what's available and compare prices, and then I walk around a second time to buy. Today I found Armenian and lemon cucumbers, and spied the first Asian pears I've seen at Alemany this year.

Asian greens are a strong point, and there were some lovely chili peppers today. At the recommendation of a very convincing little girl, I also picked up some wonderful dinner rolls at the bread/pastry stand that always has a line.

Flowers are abundant and cheap. I love the stand that sells dates, especially the type with a sign that promises a caramel-like flavor.

For fruit, some organic is available, but most stands are not. This week I bought pluots, blackberries, blueberries, and white nectarines: only the stone fruit was organic. I like the stone fruit stand near All Star--nice people, good fruit, fair prices.

Attached are pictures of the alfajores (both a close up, and in the case at the coffee stand), the egg stand that sells balut, and a pork and tomatillo tamale from All Star.

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  1. If you haven't tried those alfajores from Sabores del Sur yet, you must! They are among the best cookies of any kind, anywhere.

    1. As one who has gone to Alemany on and off for almost forty years, I am wondering how you can consider it "pretty small".

      8 Replies
      1. re: wally

        I wondered about that too. I appreciate the great report, but I consider the Alemany Farmer's Market to be pretty large. For small, see something like the Noe Valley Farmer's Market on 24th.

        I'm glad pane mentioned the date stand. We often buy the Abada (black date) variety--I really haven't seen them anywhere else, at least not by that varietal name.

        1. re: Atomica

          The date stand has the best grapefruits too. I squeeze juice from them all the time. The dates are ridiculously cheap - $2-3 a pound.

          1. re: Windy

            I think that must be the same date stand that's at the Wednesday Civic Center market....they also had the best grapefruits, especially over the winter.

        2. re: wally

          Walkable would have been a better word choice. At Alemany, I can easily do two laps to select and then purchase produce, with a good idea of availability and cost. Ferry Building, which was the other market I considered when starting my project, was so abundant (and spread out, with stalls in front and back), that it's difficult (for me, at least) to have the sense of scope I have at Alemany.

          1. re: pane

            I never get through a whole lap at Ferry Plaza without running out of cash first. At Alemany, it's the opposite problem: I can hardly carry everything.

            1. re: Windy

              Indeed, I often find myself making two trips to the car for precisely this reason....(another advantage over FP: even if I could afford to buy that much, it is a long trek to the parking from the stalls, not to mention that parking is not free....)

            2. re: pane

              Alemany is laid out very well and the permanent stalls definitely promote order and flow. I really appreciate that...but then it was designed to purpose. FP gets to be a zoo and the crowds can be overwhelming.

              1. re: pane

                The focus is quite different at the FP compared to the Alemany market. I frequent both places, for different reasons. I know quite a few people who do the same.

            3. i've been getting cling peaches there the last few weeks that have been fabulous. they actually taste like peach.
              also, the ferrari farms people and their $1/lb selection of organic plums, pluots, peaches, nectarines, etc. is unbeatable, and it's all been terribly sweet lately.
              the okra has been good recently.
              and cherry tomatoes for 80cents a pound is great.
              there's a stand that sells huge bunches of swiss chard (red and green) for $1 a piece.
              and there's a guy who sets up shop over by the asian fish market and the people who sells chickens who sells new all clad cookware. i haven't bought anything yet, but he's had some good pots/pans at good prices. no doubt it's hot, but it is cheap.
              alemany totally rocks. i could go on and on. it's such an amazing market.
              it's a farmers market for the people!!!!

              1. Made it over to the Alemany Farmer's Market for the first time today and we were impressed. I got some chilaquiles for breakfast and was quite happy about it and then we wandered around and collected quite the array of vegetables and cheese and fruit. Its definitely a great place for inexpensive but good quality produce. I didn't check out many of the other offerings closely, but I'll look more closely next week when we go back.

                1. I'm a big fan of the Alemany Farmer's market, only wishing that it were more transit accessible. The history of the market is quite interesting, as told on the official website. It dates back to 1943, as a sort of "Victory Garden" for the City, and has been at its current location since 1947.


                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Gary Soup

                    Yes, getting there and parking was a nightmare, I think we'll get up very early next week and hope to avoid some of that. Its a bit too far to walk from the Glen Park area. Thanks for the link, interesting reading.

                    1. re: ccbweb

                      I was there yesterday by 8:15 and it was already quite zoo-y. Parking is a nightmare only because people refuse to proceed to the back parking lot and insist on holding up a huge line of cars while they park along the fence. I was happy to get more of Guisell's (sp?) empanadas, Rieger (sp?) peaches, and organic grapes.

                      1. re: Atomica

                        yes, I agree both that going early(unless you go really, really early)won't help but that parking really isn't that bad, I have yet to be able to get a spot in the lot no matter when I go.The problem is, as Atomica says, the configuration of the lot. Once in the lot,no problem, but getting in can be a problem. At least the parking is free...

                      2. re: ccbweb

                        RE: Parking - Here's a secret tip:

                        Go beyond the main lot entrance on Putnam up the hill and turn right down Tompkins. You can usually find street parking back t here after 8:00 AM, and it's really close to the stalls. If no spots are left, you can enter the back parking lot from there without waiting in the long line of "fence parkers." Parking on Tomkins also poises you for a fast exit (turn right up Putnam & go down 2 blocks to Cortland avenue).

                      3. re: Gary Soup

                        FWIW the market's 5-10 minutes from Glen Park BART via the #23 bus.