Help me Wow my Stepdad at the Ferry Building FM
Ever the hardcore hound, my stepdad is driving up to the Bay Area just to visit the Ferry Building and Farmers' Market before I leave for the East Coast. I want to really wow him. Please review my list and make sure I'm not forgetting anything. He'll be in town the weekend of April 5th.
Here are my criteria:
-My focus is on artisan goods rather than produce, mostly because he can get excellent produce at the Santa Monica farmers' market. However, if there is any incredible, rare produce available, I'd love to hear about it.
-He loves to cook.
-He doesn't eat red meat.
-He doesn't drink alcohol.
-Nothing should suffer immensely from sitting around overnight i.e. no bread.
-We'll be arriving at 8am, so no worries about items selling out.
Here's my current list:
Cap'n Mike's Holy Smoke - Smoked Salmon
Rancho Gordo - Heirloom Dried Beans
Andante Dairy - World's Best Goat Cheese
June Taylor - Jams and Preserves
Marin Sun Farms - Pastured Eggs
St Benoit - Yogurt
Happy Girl Kitchen - Pickled Veggies
Hodo Soy Beanery - Organic, fresh tofu
Flying Disc Ranch - Dates
Recchiuti Chocolates - Fleur de Sel caramels and truffles
Boullette's Larder - The Entire Shop
Far West Fungi - Exotic Mushrooms
I know I'm missing stuff. Please help me out.
Happy Quail or Tierra for dried chiles?
Marshall's Farm or Snyder for honey?
I am mad about the chile jams at Tierra Vegetables. Also, she sometimes has smoked red onions that are amazingly delicious (and a perfect flavor sub for bacon for folks who don't partake).
Bread and maybe a pain chocolat from Della Fattoria.
Does he drink coffee? If you get there at 8, the Blue Bottle line might not be too egregious.
re: Morton the Mousse
Yes, I agree with Wally--very different. Happy Quail focuses on fresh peppers, and Tierra on dried. I know that Happy Quail has started doing some dried products, but I haven't sampled them. I recall just about passing out when I heard the prices, and I thought I was price-innoculated from years of shopping at the FPFM!
For dried chilies go for Tierra. I bought Happy Qauil dried chilies when they first started making them and have tried them all and they really, really, really ... really underwhelmed me. Fatted Calf is selling them in Napa so maybe they like them for some reason that escapes me. It took me a long time to use them up. I like their fresh peppers though.
Seriously tell your dad to get those dried onions from Tierra if they have them.
Definitely Marshall's for honey, especially if you can find some of the pumpkin honey.
The chocolate tipped almond or walnut english toffee from Alfieri Nuts, out front. We also like their onion/garlic seasoned almonds.
Also out front, the really excellent dried fruit and chocolate dried fruit from (I think it's) Bella Viva.
I have to buy a couple fegatelli (it's like a dried pork sausage that you can eat like a Slim Jim - but waaaaaay better) from Fatted Calf (outside) every time I go. They are unbelievably good. I haven't tried their other stuff, but everyone raves about just about everything else they make, too.
There's also a guy out back who makes amazing goat cheeses himself, but the name escapes me. And at Rancho Gordo, check out their red popcorn that pops the whitest white you'll ever see in popcorn.
The Apple Farm, if they're there that day.
An uncut loaf of Acme levain will hold up well after sitting around overnight, or if you toast it even for a few days.
Look for cardoons, green garlic, odd varieties of artichoke, and horseradish at Tairwa' / Knoll Farms.
I was just at the Wednesday Santa Monica farmers market last week, and to my eye both the selection and quality were a couple of steps down from the Ferry Plaza or Berkeley Saturday markets.
re: Ruth Lafler
Oh, and I forgot the cheese, and even better, the Natilla (goat milk caramel sauce similar to cajeta), at Bodega & Yerba Santa Goat Cheese.
As for the honey -- taste all of them and then decide, maybe even get an assortment (Marshall's has small jars, so you can buy a bunch of them).
re: Robert Lauriston
This is sort of comparing apples and oranges. Southern California has a different growing climate, so I am always excited to see the tropicals, and other items that we don't get here. We don't have a comparable farm to Weiser (truly amazing root vegetables) and are a couple other farms there that we don't see here at all (I am thinking in particular of the herb farmer on the North leg of the market that sells really unusual herbs and passionfruit, etc). They get many more varieties of avocados. They have a newish walnut oil vendor who is producing a great walnut oil out of Central CA (La Nogalera).
I go to the SM market about 5-6 times a year and find it hard to compare it with the FPFM.
Alfieri Farm (out front) has some good lightly salted trail mix but they also make awesome chocolate covered toffe, dark or milk and made with either walnuts pecans or almonds. They are also very generous with samples.