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Jul 10, 2008 03:02 PM

Old Oakland Farmers Market: “We’re going to have a funky good time” – Scream, Cafe Gratitude, maalat and nopales agua fresca

The best thing I had was the nopales and pineapple agua fresca at a new-to-me stand.

It is a pretty cactus green and has a lovely … green … taste. The stand also has tamarindo, melon, horchata and strawberry. They give samples. It is the only agua fresca that I’ve paid $3 for that was worth it. Old Oakland is the only market for this very nice vendor. They also sell fresh fruit cups with chile powder.

A recent report of changes at Old Oakland made me decide to visit the market.

The configuration is different. The prepared food vendors are now on the opposite side of the market on the part of the street with Housewives Market where the Chinese produce vendors were.

The grouping and new location of the prepared vendors is good for a number of reasons …
- the Roli Roti guy is on the Clay St end so it is now possible to illegally park, looking nervously over your shoulder for meter people while you quickly buy a chicken.
- The prepared food vendors are nearer to the tables in the center so food is easier to eat
- If you run out of tables, buy a drink at Sunshine cafe in the Housewives Market and sit at one of the many tables there to eat.

I’m not sure if I really like some of the other changes. While many of the no name Asian vendors are where the baked goods once were … they are now scattered and mixed into all parts of the market. Also, it is starting to look like every other farmers market and upscaling a bit too much. The Asian produce just seemed reduced. I'm not sure if the live chickens are still being sold because I went too late in the day. You have to be there at opening ... up with the chickens, so to speak ... to find the live birds.

I always thought that the red dyed eggs at the market were balut. Walking by the egg vendor in front of Ratto’s, there was a red egg cut in half. Like an accident you can’t look away from I took a deep breath and looked … expecting to see poultry embryo … and was relieved to see yolk. Turns out they are salted eggs, maalat.

Scream gelato, which also sells at the Jack London and Temescal markets, had cashew caramel, lime mint, lemon buttermilk, plucot, strawberry, and nectarine flavors. The lemon buttermilk was my favorite, tangy and deeply lemony. They are generous with the samples … which makes me feel bad … I intended to buy some on my way out and forgot … after all that sampling.

There was a nice coffee cake vendor whose name I can’t remember. It was a lovely sample with good spicing and light crumb.

Café Gratitude was giving out various samples. I asked if they ever sold their pies and was told they did at another market but not yet at Old Oakland.

The last of the season blueberries and cherries were giving way to summer stone fruit. Triple Delight which also sells at Ferry Plaza had excellent blueberries. It was their last week. Bluest of Blue will be selling blueberries until the end of July. More on these vendors

A warning: Pascua Organics was selling Asian vegetables. The prices were too inexpensive … 50 cents lb for cucumbers. I asked if they were organic and was told no. I asked what was organic and was told nothing. They need to take the word ‘organic’ off their sign.

There was a very upbeat musician today in the central area who played the song in the title of this post. People were dancing in the street.

In front of the Housewives Market an elderly Asian man beautifully played the Chinese harp (I think).

I’ll list most of the vendors not mentioned here in the first reply. While there is more prepared food, the produce vendors are pretty much the same as this previous report.

Some info about the Housewives Market

Old Oakland Farmers Market
9th St and Broadway, Oakland, CA 94607

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  1. Prepared food: vendors (* new)

    All Star Tamales
    Agua fresca vendor (didn’t see a name) *
    Art of Falafel *
    Bakesale Betty *
    Café Gratitude *
    Charlie Frank’s pies
    Coffee Cake vendor *
    Dibrova sausages
    East & West Afghan bolani
    Great Harvest Bakery
    It’s All Good granola *
    Roli Roti (rotisserie chickens)
    Scream gelato *
    Sukhi's Quick-N-Ezee Indian Foods
    Yamaguchi (Los Banos) – gumbo, tri-tip, hot links, pork ribs, egg custard, mac and cheese, sweet potato pie, lemon meringue pie

    Produce vendors / farmers

    Dewey Farms pistachios, almonds and walnuts.
    Eggs – Cage free (Great Valley Eggs???)
    Eggs - No-name Asian guy with maalat
    G&S Farms - (Brentwood) corn
    Fruit Factory
    Hamada Farms – (Kingsburg) fruit
    Mora Farms
    Rodriquez - (Watsonville) berries
    Twin Girls Farm - (Reedley) organic fruit
    Yerena Farms – (Watsonville) organic strawberries

    I probably missed a few. I’m guessing Happy Boy was there and I didn’t notice them.

    A whole bunch of no-name Asian produce vendors

    Three flower vendors which includes the orchid vendor.
    Nursery plants

    1 Reply
    1. re: rworange

      Happy Boy isn't there (I wish!). Lone Oak (excellent organic citrus & good stone fruit) is there, though.

      BTW, Scream Sorbet doesn't currently sell gelato.

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. The business card of the coffee cake company I couldn't remember, just fell out of of some papers. It is California Coffee Cake Company and it seems from the website the Old Oakland farmers market is the only place they currently sell. Three kinds of coffee cake - walnut spice, NY crumb and pumpkin spice. I had a sample of the walnut spice. Good stuff.

        California Coffee Cake Company
        1534 Plaza Lane, Burlingame, CA