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Alemany so much more crowded!

In the 8 years I've been going to the farmers market, i've noticed a gradual increase in the crowds at the alemany farmers market. but this years, it feels like a much more significant increase in the crowds - felt in the traffic, which is worse than ever, and the increase in vendors, a positive thing imho.

just out of curiosity, i'm curious to hear what others think is driving this.is it the lower cost of food there for better quality? is it refugees from the insultingly expensive prices at the ferry bldg market now that people pinch more pennies? increased interest in eating local produce?

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  1. I suspect CUESA's Ferry Building Farmers' Market has has something to do with indoctrinating people with the wisdom of buying stuff that's closer to the state of nature than you'll get at Safeway, and a lot of the Ferrry Plaza Farmers Market graduates have thrown off the training wheels, so to speak, and headed for the Real Thing at real world prices at Alemany. The sorry state of the economy had a role, too. People aren't necessarily hurting, but they may be starting to see FPFM's prices as an unwise luxury.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Xiao Yang

      Oh, as long as you are throwing out your pet FP rants, I'll throw mine out. I say it is because there is parking at Alameny. They even closed the lot next to FP because it is 'unsafe'.

      Ferry Plaza is still less expensive for produce than Safeway or other like grocery stores. One market was charging $5.99 lb for cherries.

      I don't know, Alemany has always seemed crowded to me. Depends on what time of day you go.

    2. We were visiting in mid June and went to Alemany on two Saturdays.
      The first at 8:30, the second at 10:00 am. The crowd was mush lees at 10 am, but the fresh fish and poultry choices were smaller.
      Most all the produce vendors had good selection and plenty of items. I think many who are there early are seeking foods for some Asian restaurants. We had limited heirloom tomatoes, but lots of terrific greens, stone fruits, etc.

      1. Worse than ever? The traffic when I used to shop there in the late 80s / early 90s was like Bryant Street during evening rush hour after an accident on the eastbound Bay Bridge had closed four eastbound lanes; like Naples, or Cairo.

        1. I don't mind the crowds at the Alemany market. Parking has been easy for me on Saturday mornings - it just takes a little time to drive up into the parking rows. Once in the rows, there's always plenty of vacant spots. I think the eating places have drawn the crowds here. I love the offerings of sweet corn tamales, pupsas and sopes, among others. Since I don't like traditional breakfast food, I really look forward to munching out at the Alemany market.As for the crowds comment, I've heard complaints from the produce vendors that the recent move to place all the eating places outside the main stalls have actually reduced foot traffic. Indeed the stalls on one of the market have been empty - I hope they're filled by new vendors. I buy most of my food at farmer's markets and Alemany is my first choice because of the lower prices and focus on Asian produce. I spend 1/3 of what I would pay at the Ferry Plaza or Marin Farmer's Markets.

          1. I went to the Alemany FM for the first time in over a year and it was still jamming around noon. Prices and the selection of Asian produce reminded me why I love the Alemany FM so much. I wonder if people are just more aware of the other farmer's markets in the area and buying fresher produce from the farmers. For some, maybe the Ferry Building FM opened their eyes and got people seeking out other markets.

            The pupusa stand will not be good for my waistline - the sound of masa being patted is a siren's call. (I'm eating a reheated pupusa as I'm writing.)

            I remember quite a few years back that traffic actually seemed worse.

            1. It depends on the week, what's in season/time of year, time of the day, phases of the moon, and the weather. The good prices don't hurt, I'm sure, but if you sometimes have bad luck like I do (not always), it will be packed and difficult to park--sometimes that's at 8:30 and sometimes it's at 11:00. If drivers would just proceed to the back parking lot instead of being tiresome and selfish and waiting for parking along the fence on the way in, it would go smoother. Too bad no one is directing traffic.

              1. I think it's both the economy and piqued interested in fresh produce. It's amazing how much less produce can be at the plain jane farmers markets then a grocery store. Add in the ethnic produce and sure it's popular. I've always liked Alemany. I believe it was the first dedicated FM in the country. FPFM has its virtues but it's not for me...don't really dig the vibe.

                3 Replies
                1. re: ML8000

                  very interesting...i appreciate people sharing their ideas and memories, particularly the folks who chimed in to say they remember it being even worse in the 80s and 90s....

                  1. re: sfoperalover

                    Traffic and parking has always been bad around Alemany FM. It's an odd space without straight or clear access, not much parking and the street layout around it isn't conducive to large crowds or traffic...and the streets haven't been repaved forever IIRC. Frankly it's always been a zoo. Either you go early or late. The only thing to change is housing was built on the site in the '90s.

                    Okay, here's a photo from 1953. Looks like a zoo back then as well.


                2. I have always been a cheerleader for Alemany, finding FP to be too precious. I always park on the street and walk in. I take it in stride that there will be some jostling, it's just part of the experience.