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Sep 7, 2013 10:46 AM

Where to buy unripe (green) tomatoes in SF?


I have found it very difficult to find unripe (green) tomatoes anywhere in the city, even at the major farmer's markets, like the Ferry building. The only place I have ever found them is one stall at the Alemany Farmers market that fairly regularly has them.

I would prefer to find them in a more central location in the city. Has anyone seem them regularly and dependably at any of the farmer's markets or groceries in SF?

As an aside, I find it humorous that I have to refer to them as "unripe" when asking at the markets, If I say "green" they always point me to the green heirlooms!

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  1. Any tomato vendor at a certified farmers market could probably pick you some by special order.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Thank you, Robert. I was aware of that option, but usually I only have a day or two notice when I need them.. for most farmers markets you'd probably have to tell them the week before unless you had their phone number.

    2. Hey! I'm also in search of unripe (green) tomatoes for a salsa recipe. I will head down to the Alemany Farmer's market tomorrow. Which stall should I look for?

      4 Replies
      1. re: arealtravesty

        I don't think farmers usually pick unripe tomatoes unless someone special-orders them. If you know the names of any of the vendors you could call them today and ask. Or you could look at the vendor list for Ferry Plaza and call some of them.

        You're sure you want unripe tomatoes and not tomatillos?

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          There is a vendor at Civic Center who has them fairly regularly during tomato season.

        2. re: arealtravesty

          @arealtravesty: My question was from a year ago. Back then, in August, I found unripe tomatoes every week from one vendor on the south line of stalls about 2/3ds of the way towards the west side, near to the stands selling alot of chinese vegetables.

          @Robert Lauriston - my frustration is that this ignorance of the culinary value of unripe tomatoes by the vendors seems to be a west coast thing. In other parts of the country selling unripe tomatoes at farmers markets is common. I don't want to have to special order something. That takes too much planning ahead. I'm hoping the civic center person keeps sellling them all year.

          1. re: sfchris

            Alberto's farm from Salinas had them! They are a regular vendor at the Alemany farmer's market, and I'm not sure if they are the same one that sfchris found, but my understanding was that they regularly carry them. Hooray! And thanks, sfchris, for your recommendation.

        3. Ok, I did indeed find a vendor at the Alemany farmers market who had green tomatoes: Alberto's farm in Salinas. Hooray!

          1 Reply
          1. re: arealtravesty

            FYI Be advised that many farmers will point you to ripe green heirlooms when you ask for "green tomatoes". You need to ask for "unripe tomatoes". They just don't speak our language out here :)

            When you are there, please ask them if they plan to sell them every week (without special orders ahead of time).

            Also, please let us know if they really had them.

          2. Quite randomly, yesterday I came across a stack of about 20 unripe tomatoes at Mollie Stone's on California near Fillmore. They outnumbered the ripe ones. I don't often shop there so I do not know if this is common. Hope this becomes a trend in the city.

            Mollie Stone's
            2435 California St, San Francisco