Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Aug 13, 2009 05:35 PM

Monterey Market

Continuing to worry re the loss of what was great about Monterey Market. Right after all the political/familial tumult, I didn't go, then went back. I was there today. Not a big crowd. And where there used to be a sense of calm and natural order, the place felt tense and oddly organized. There was a lot of ice strewn on the corn display right at the entrance. The corn underneath needed that ice--it was old. And I mean, not old as in picked yesterday or the day before. Old as in picked a while ago. It reminded me of the wizened old corn in the Stop and Shop I shop at when I'm in New England, before the native corn is in, and it's being shipped from someplace in the south. In the old regime, there is no way that corn would have been put out to sell. I still can't quite bring myself to switch produce markets once and for all. Calm and natural order aren't exactly the first things you'd say about Berkeley Bowl. But I think I may be working up to it.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I am sorry to say I observed the same type of thing last time I was there. Every single one of the cauliflowers was trimmed way down - not one nice one available! Never seen that before. I am going to go tomorrow and see how they are doing. Hope for the best!

    1. I live in SF and go there once or twice a month. The last few times I've been, I cannot find those beautiful little lettuces that sort of open up like roses or something. I've just seen the (sometimes bitter) little gems and soft, small butter lettuces. Any info on this?

      It's a shame; it was my favorite place.

      4 Replies
      1. re: walker

        I think you're referring to the Red Parella lettuce. It must have a short season, because I found it daily for about four weeks, and then it disappeared. I haven't seen it for a week or so. If you're making a special trip from SF it might be worth calling first to see if they have it.
        Regarding the corn, sundeck sue, don't totally give up on MM yet. I know exactly what you mean about the corn: I saw that sad, sad pile, too. But a week earlier, they had beautiful corn. I wonder if they are just between suppliers, or if it's a slow point in the season?
        My experience with MM is that it IS hit or miss, but I haven't noticed an extreme drop in quality since Bill left. I remember that last year I had to endure the Gross Bell Pepper period, and it seems to be here again this year. Hard to say if that has anything to do with family drama or if it's just the nature of an outdoor produce market... maybe I'm just trying to remain optimistic?

        1. re: Mola

          Yes, that corn thing was odd in general. Two weeks ago, everyone was selling it dirt cheap and it was beautiful. This weekend when I wanted to try out a recipe, it was all pretty horrible looking and expensive.

          Monterey Foods
          1550 Hopkins St, Berkeley, CA 94707

          1. re: Mola

            Thank you so much -- it IS Red Parella. By chance, they were there today, 59 c each. Later, I tried the farmer's mkt on MLK that starts at 2 pm on tues and they were sold by the pound there -- there it came out to .75 c each.

            1. re: walker

              Oh, good, I'm glad they're back. Hopefully they'll still be there today. And thanks for the tip about finding it at the Tuesday market; I've never thought of looking for it there!

        2. I go to Monterey Market almost every Saturday morning and have for several years. I went this Saturday and didn't at all feel any sense of tenseness. In fact, I saw the checkers joking around much more with each other than I have seen before.

          There seem to be more smaller bins with fruit, and there were tastings out of several of the stone fruits, which I hadn't seen before. It was fantastic fruit, too, nectarines, peaches, and pluots. I was glad to have the opportunity to taste them, and I bought some because of that. They were $3.19/lb., so on the pricey side. So, to me, it seems like as much or more selection and better labeling.