HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >

Discussion

New farmers market coming to....the Metreon?

  • 49
  • Share

And it's going to be open all day, every day? Anyone know any more about this? Opening this Friday.

http://www.islandearthfarmersmarket.org/

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  1. That's right near work so this will be interesting. Wil be interesting to see who shows up each day and how pricing is.

    1. I really wish there were distinctive booths from one farmers market to another.

      23 Replies
      1. re: sugartoof

        What does that mean?

        1. re: rworange

          It means if every one of these Farmer Markets has the exact same selection, same formula, even the same farming sources, without any distinctive identity, we've just created a mall culture of a different sort. As it is, aside from pink eggs, and Adante cheese, there's little difference between FB, Alemany, and Civic Center, aside from pricing. If that wasn't enough, we've got guys standing on random street corners around the city selling crates of strawberrys.

          It does sound like this one will have some new to SF vendors at least.

          1. re: sugartoof

            I see your point about things getting too similar but I don't see that w/ Alemany and FB FM. I can't speak about direct comparos as I haven't been to Alemany FM or Civic Center for awhile but they offered different stuff then the Ferry Bldg. FM. Much more ethnic offerings at Alemany, a taco truck that's been there for 15 years, that sort of stuff.

            1. re: ML8000

              There are differences, certainly..... but less and less so. I made a trip to all three over the past few weeks, and found more cross over then ever. I guess if you go to a farmers market for a taco truck, or a Blue Bottle coffee stand, then sure. If you can only buy your fruit from Frog Hollow, then sure.

              It's become a circuit now, so instead of a grape farmer picking one market in several regions along the coast, they're now covering multiple booths at multiple markets filling up a daily calendar. Give me a reason to go to the Metreon, over say, the Market Street night time market.

              1. re: sugartoof

                I get your point. My point was more about ethnic offerings but there's duplication and yes, the circuit part seems true enough. On a similar note, in some counties in CA, to run a roadside stand you have to actually grow 10-20% of your own produce...but it's still a circuit as farmers trade and buy other produce from packers. FMs are no different really.

                1. re: sugartoof

                  Interesting. I go to the 24th/Noe market because Juicey Lucy is there; the Alemany market because its cheapest & has a good selection; the Divisadero market because its walking distance; the Thursday Galleria market for the amazing German breads; the Tuesday Ferry Bldg market because I work nearby but I only go to the Saturday Ferry Bldg market when I absolutely have to (for chiles & beans). I suspect I'll stop off at the Metreon because its on my route home if the selection & prices are decent.

                  But it never occured to me that goal of a farmers markets would be to be a "destination" place. I just want to get high quality produce without getting into my car. I'd be thrilled if they were all the same, that way I could get everthing at one market and not have to bother with the others - especially if it was the Divis market.

                  1. re: larochelle

                    Yeah, but if you're going to specific markets to specific reasons, then they do have destination value for you. Alemany market has grown and gone up in quality now that it's a destination market - and for the better. ML8000 mentioned it was notable because it had a great taco truck.

                    Otherwise, I agree, really the point of a farmer market beyond the current marketing of them is to get a good bunch of produce. I can't think of a neighborhood without a produce shop and health food stores. The Metreon isn't far from Rainbow Market, Whole Foods, and the FB. I hope they do well just the same, but they're obviously trying to ride out a lifestyle trend of the moment, and it's a great one - but they'll benefit from some exclusive vendors.

                    1. re: sugartoof

                      >>> If that wasn't enough, we've got guys standing on random street corners around the city selling crates of strawberrys.

                      Well,now that so many Home Depots have closed, they have to stand somewhere. Since the economy tanked street vendors have increased.

                      Farmers markets are for the most part put together by a handful of organizations. So the big variation is more by area.

                      The East Bay has the Contra Costa Certified Farmers’ Markets, The Ecology Center (Berkeley) and the Pacific Coast Farmers Markets.

                      The South Bay has the Pacific Coast Farmers Market. The North Bay has some of the rare indies.

                      Here are the most of the organizations running farmers markets in all of California ... there are only about 25 for the entire state.
                      http://www.cafarmersmarkets.com/featu...

                      When I got into a snit about the CUESA moving to the Ferry Buildin. I did a personal boycot and started looking at others. I visited most in the Bay Area.

                      There were the same vendors over and over until you got into a different region. Each market has a few different vendors but you don't see major changes until you move into a new area.

                      1. re: rworange

                        This simply highlights that there aren't enough farmers to go around. Farming communities like Salinas, Hollister and Greenfield go without because the best stuff goes to SF, Berkeley, and Marin. Now with more midweek markets in urban areas, farmers are not selling locally on weekdays any more. This may be the final year for the 30-year old Salinas farmers market, if it can't attract vendors. Yet, I'm hopeful that market forces of greater demand will encourage more new farmers to give it a go and increase supply.

                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                          Well that's unfortunate to hear, if I'm reading correctly. I'd hate to think that as a result of our San Francisco market boom, some regional markets are suffering. I suspect it's more a case of how they extend their resources to distribute their goods, rather then the amount of farmers out there.

                        2. re: rworange

                          I think it's more a case of them trucking in a certain amount of strawberries our way, and they're trying to get rid of the stuff because there's now a glut. They're great big lovely looking strawberries, that in my experience, looked better then they tasted. I don't begrudge anyone trying to hustle them, but it's notable and symptomatic that you see them in affluent residential areas working random corners.

                          Anyway, I don't have much of an answer, but it seems it's in the best interest of the farmers, and the markets not to over saturate their own markets.

                      2. re: larochelle

                        You need to throw in the 'new' Castro Market (actually in the Duboce Triangle) Wednesday nights 4 to 8pm Cafe Flore has tables that spill down into closed Noe Street, and the vest pocket park is open for picniking...

                        1. re: ChowFun_derek

                          I don't think though the street corner vendors are the result of a produce awakening. More people lining up to pick up strawberries to sell at the distribution area, then more strawberries (or cherries or oranges or mangos) are supplied.

                          I don't know, IMO, with more neighborhood markets, I don't think so much that It siphons many customers from the main markets, rather they attract customers who might not make it to the main markets.

                          If it is useful, they will come. The wrong-thinking market that opened at Fisherman's Wharf was an example where there was no customer base so ... pffffft.

                          Do I really think that the Metreon Farmers market will really compete with Civic Center, Alemany or Ferry Plaza ... nah.

                          First of all, for all the complaints, FP has more unique farmers that sell there and not one other market in the area. That's out and out produce, not counting cheesemakers, bakers,etc

                          However, if done right this could fill a real nitch in the area. People who can't shop specific days or hours, office workers on the way home that don't want to stand in lines at Whole Foods for overpricd and not as fresh produce.

                          Metreon doesn't seem produce heavy with more of a nod to prepared food vendors. In one way that works for that area. It gives office workers and people at events at Moscone more and lesser-priced lunch options.

                          So, it's 11 am ... anyone been yet?

                        2. re: larochelle

                          Ok, now that you've mentioned Juicy Lucy twice, I have to know - who/what is Juicy Lucy? I did a search and didn't find anything on the sf board...

                          1. re: adrienne156

                            Juice
                            http://www.juiceylucys.com/

                            1. re: rworange

                              Hence, the name. Dur.

                              The top google for juicy lucy is a burger with cheese in the middle of the patty, should have kept scrolling down.

                              Thanks, RW & Windy.

                              1. re: adrienne156

                                Unfortunately, the biz name is rarely spelled correctly, so can't find it. Here's the site search result,
                                http://search.chow.com/search?query=j...

                                1. re: Melanie Wong

                                  I didn't get it googling. I knew they sold at a few other farmers markets so picked up the website from the Pacific Coast Farmers Market site.
                                  http://www.pcfma.com/producers.php?pr...

                                  I think this was the place that was in North Beach near Graffeo.

                                  1. re: rworange

                                    It was on Columbus just north of Filbert.

                            2. re: adrienne156

                              I call Lisa of Juicy Lucy the smoothie psychic. They far from cheap, but some of the best smoothies you'll ever taste (like persimmon and orange and almonds).

                              Be sure to let her decide what you need.

                              1. re: Windy

                                Yeah, great big lovely calico looking strawberries usually end up looking better than they taste. I prefer the small ones from the strawberry forrest that burst with flavor!

                              2. re: adrienne156

                                Juicy Lucy is one of the few people that I've found who has really good vegetable juice blends. Plus she's really friendly and will do "gentle" blends. I'm sure it sounds gross to some people but I really like the apple, beet, ginger juice.

                                Power Source Juice Bar is on Fremont does decent enough fruit & veggie drinks if all you want is to order from the existing somewhat pedestrian menu. But they are convenient for me and have great hours - open at 7am.

                                The other good place is Estela's Sandwiches on Fillmore - great prices but lousy hours (8:30-5:30).

                                -----
                                Estela's Fresh Sandwichs
                                250 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94117

                                Powersource Juice Bar
                                81 Fremont St, San Francisco, CA 94105

                                1. re: larochelle

                                  The Places link for JL will take you to her website.

                                  -----
                                  Juicey Lucy's
                                  San Francisco CA, San Francisco, CA

                  2. I'm looking forward to it because Juicey Lucy will be one of the venders.

                    1. That website seems pretty comprehensive. As for tommorrow it says

                      "Friday May 15th, 10am: Grand Opening Harvest Bash
                      Farmers Market, Food and Wine Tasting, Pastries, Games, Balloons, Singers, Bands, Movies, Fresh Oyster Bar, Ballroom, Lindy Hopping, Swing, One Ton of Free Food and Wine Samples!"

                      It says they also deliver food.

                      All that and easy parking. Be afraid CUESA ... be very, very afraid.if this takes off.

                      The press reports though have been pretty skeptical though
                      http://blogs.sfweekly.com/foodie/2009...
                      http://sf.eater.com/archives/2009/04/...

                      I don't know. I think it feeds a void. Farmer's market produce daily and into the evening. Indoor shopping with no worry about rain or extreme heat.

                      From the SFWeekly mention "Free curbside service will let office workers shop during lunch, then have their swag loaded into their cars on the way home "

                      Now if prices are competative and they don't screw it up with too many craft vendors, if this expands to 160 vendors as planned, it could be something.

                      For SF people, Phoenix Pastifico is one vendor that I've not seen in the city. Great, great olive bread. Don't miss it. IMO, the pasta is better than the Pasta Shop also. They make some wonderful pastries too.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: rworange

                        The list includes Panorama Baking, which is always one of the more highly-regarded vendors at the huge Marin market.

                        The only thing I wonder about is that they are open all day, every day. That's 70 hours a week, which by my count is about 65 hours more than just about every other farmer's market I'm aware of. Does anyone who knows more about these things than I do, know what issues they might run into doing that?

                        Also, the press releases mention a "community exchange"...what is that, exactly?

                      2. I don't see anywhere on the site that this is a certified farmers market. In San Francisco farmers markets are required to accept EBT (food stamps) and WIC vouchers, has that been set up here?

                        1. The FM in Metreon will be very interesting, although I really can't imagine where they're setting up. Is it going to be on the ground level?

                          Sounds like it could be good. One thing is, Metreon is suppose to go through a renovation (yes already) that includes store fronts that open to the street (like duh).

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: ML8000

                            I believe I read somewhere that it'll be in the space formerly occupied by the Discovery Channel Store (which I think was just off the ground floor hallway that leads to the movie theater box office, but I could be wrong...)

                          2. I checked this out today, and while I can't say I was impressed, at least there was a new selection of unique vendors for the city. It wasn't much of a Farmers Market however. Only a few produce booths. More of a gourmet food court, stuck in a cramped dark hallway shaped space, with no real curatorial thought to what's there (ie. 3 bread bakeries, mostly more strawberries in the produce section).

                            Maybe there's seating in the lobby of the Metreon, but I'm not sure where one would eat their plates of food. The random craft fair booths didn't make much sense either. All in all, there wasn't much there, but it might be a good stop if you're working in the area and are prone to grabbing lunch at one of the food courts nearby. I didn't see anything that was must have (the Bavarian pretezels were excellent but I'm not sure worth a trip) but if you're interesting in tasting a specific vendor, go soon because my hunch is not all of these booths will stick around.

                            1. I checked it out myself today and my view is probably more sanguine than sugartoof's (what else is new?) though I'll agree that "Farmer's Market" is something of a misnomer. (It's certainly not the first time the term has been so abused, however)

                              Overall, I think it's an attractive mix of general produce, specialty produce and ethnic and specialty prepared foods (both to take home and to eat on the spot), suitable to the location and the local and visitor consumer climate.

                              Noshables included African foods, Mexican foods, Gumbo, Argentine Empanadas, "Organic" Asian Dim Sum, Falafel, Juicey Lucy's smoothies, etc., a nice alternative to formulaic nearby food courts. I like the wide array of Afghan breads and spreads a vendor was so generously proving samples of today, though they may be primarily take-home material. Unfortunately, the ready-to-eat stuff is at the opposite end of the Market from Yerba Buena Garden, the most likely place to eat it in.

                              The three bakeries (four, including a dessert-oriented one) had different focuses: they were Panorama, with an Acme-like range; October Feast, with German specialty breads (including what they labeled as a "real" Jewish rye bread); the Brioche Bakery; and the cake-oriented bakery whose name I forgot, I don't see a great tragedy in having four complementary baked goods shop under one roof.

                              As far as the configuration goes, that was a "pre-existing condition" and the space is a only temporary accommodation to begin with. The Market's lease will expire in the Fall when the renovation of Metreon begins. The Market's promoter has been looking into available nearby spaces, and according to Juicey Lucy's owner, already has a particular space in mind (though she wouldn't tell me where it was).

                              Incidentally, there is apparently some rotation scheme in place, though I couldn't find out what it is; the Market's website lists 53 vendors, but there is only space for 30-35 at a time, by my count.

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: Xiao Yang

                                According to this Chronicle story, they'll be taking over the Sony PlayStation store space when it vacates in July.

                                http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...

                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                  I guess that's when the other tenants come in; maybe no rotation at all. They'll still have to move in the Fall, as far as I can see.

                                2. re: Xiao Yang

                                  Heh, so you haven't come across the bolini guy before. He didn't wrestle you to the ground (figuratively with charm) and insist on sampling. Just a warning that 'no' is not an option with the Afghan stand. Don't let him catch your eye or you are doomed. Good stuff though.

                                  There are a few East Bay and North Bay vendors there. I just came across the dim sum vendor last Sunday at the San Rafael market. They had some crab dumplings that were tempting and the linke en SR was pretty deep. However, we are talking North Bay which doesn't exactly have a wealth of dim sum joints.

                                  OctorberFeast has nice pretels and a few other good items, but that real Jewish rye is by way of German and not NY.

                                  I don't know, you and sugartoof seem like soul mates to me .

                                  1. re: rworange

                                    Worse, it wasa bolini girl, not guy, and attractive to boot. She thrust samples into my hand so fast that I had to step away because I could feel my waist size increasing on the spot.

                                    1. re: Xiao Yang

                                      The name of the Afghan flatbread and the company is Bolani.
                                      www.bolaniandsauce.com

                                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                                        They are at the 'new' Castro Farmer's Market in the Duboce Triangle...nice people, good food.

                                    2. re: rworange

                                      I was there today. I really liked the bolini! I've actually seen the bolini vendors at a couple markets before this one, but this was the first time I tried it and I liked both the bread and the 3 dips I got to sample.

                                      One other thing I can add that hasn't been mentioned....despite being in downtown SF, this market has a very different "image". It seems closer in spirit to the Ashby BART station flea market than the Ferry Building farmer's market: a more funky and hippie-ish counterpart to the Ferry Building's super-polished, yuppified scene. As long as they have a few good vendors (the Afghan bread vendor, OktoberFeast, and Juicy Lucy, plus who knows what I haven't tried) I think they'll find their footing.

                                    3. re: Xiao Yang

                                      Is the dim sum vendor Tru Gourmet? Here's SteveG's post,
                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6190...

                                    4. I actually like the new market. The hours seem to be 10 am to 8 pm. There is a great variety of vendors and the prices for the prepared food are reasonable for the neighborhood. You can get freshly prepared food for the same amount as a Subway sandwich.

                                      So far, I have tried the Vietnamese bahn mi vendor and the Bulgarian food stall. Both offer fresh, good food for less than $6. It's probably not as funky cool as eating in the Mission at a taco truck, but the food I've had has been honest and good.

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: Mari

                                        I really like it too! I've tried the falafel, and they're some of the best I've had in the Bay Area. I hope it gets the business it needs to stay around!
                                        www.naturalchefshoshana.blogspot.com

                                        1. re: Mari

                                          Really, Bulgarian? Very cool. I went there on a weekday recently and didn't note a Bulgarian vendor, but was so impressed with the variety of food, the whole time I was thinking "Imagine if each of these food stalls were part of the SF Twitter-cart movement..." The atmosphere of the Metreon is unfortunate because the offerings are fantastic for the FiDi/SoMa lunch crowd. I wish they could just move the whole thing out into Yerba Buena Gardens; I think it would thrive.

                                          1. re: Annie S.

                                            Yes, I thought the same thing about the success of some of these places if they were part of the mobile food movement since the majority seem to be simple operations. Actually, maybe they are busy during the day since I have gone closer to closing time for dinner and there aren't many people there. The Bulgarian stand is in front of the boba stand.

                                            I guess you can take the food to the Yerba Buena Gardens and eat there too. I imagine it might be more expensive if they set up in the YB Gardens since they might need generators, etc.

                                            1. re: Annie S.

                                              A week or two ago, they added a bunch of new vendors and expanded into the side over by Third Street. It's a lot more like a food court than a farmer's market, as originally conceived.

                                              They seem to be doing a good lunch business with the conventions across the street. But far as I can tell, it is intended to be temporary.

                                            2. re: Mari

                                              there's a banh mi vendor? since when?

                                              1. re: augustiner

                                                I don't know since when, but they are in the area to the right when you enter the Metreon from Mission and 4th. They added a lot of new vendors there recently. The bahn mi vendor is next to the Amber India vendor.

                                            3. Catalan Farms has a stand now. This is still more a food court than a farmers market, but Catalan grows some of the best produce of any farmers market vendor.