Like a 5 year old eager to meet Mickey Mouse for the first time during the ritualistic childhood visit to Disneyland, the day for me to wander the halls of the famous Ferry Station farmer’s market in San Francisco could not come soon enough. I was counting down the hours, minutes, and seconds for the moment when the looming ferry station tower would become visible and below it, lined up in perfectly straight lines, the white clouds of tents flowing along the building, all of them protecting their fall harvest of edible goods.
It was a sunny day, that Tuesday, which I hear is rare in San Francisco. However, the food gods must have been on my side because the perfect breeze led us out of the Embarcadero Bart station and guided us down Mission St., straight into a small art vendor market. A brief but alarming sensation came over me as I searched for the food stands in vain. Had we arrived too late? Where was the famous almond brittle that everybody was raving about in Yelp? We approached an art vendor and learned that the actually market was located across the street.
Sure enough, the Alfieri Farms vendor was the first to greet us with a bite size sample of the famously crunchy almond brittle. This particular one was covered in dark chocolate, but they also made a cinnamon and espresso variety. We sampled some of their jalapeno pistachios and took some with us just in case we got hungry during the day. As we made our way down the rows of freshly picked fruits and vegetables, I noticed the bright yellow sunflowers that decorated the fruit stands. Being the end of summer, sunflowers were in season, ready to retire into a deep winter slumber only to return during the spring, when they would again continue their simbiotic relationship with the majestic sun and together dance their way from sunrise to sunset.
After tasting peaches, peas, and even a sourdough bread salad, we entered the Ferry building and encountered restaurants and specialized shops which sold local products such as honey, olive oil, gardening goods, and artisan breads and cheeses. I was in a culinary playground and I did not want to leave. Ofcourse, the growling in my stomach brought me back to reality bringing a much more joyful realization, I had to eat something. Let me just say something, never in my life have I had to make such a dificult choice, what to eat? I was surrounded by food and yet I just couldn’t make up my mind, I wanted everything. However, a quick reminder of our limited funds from my husband helped me make up my mind much faster. I had a hearty ricotta dumpling soup with sourdough croutons from Cowgirl Creamery, located inside the Ferry Building. He had falafel with tabouleh and pita bread. Lunch was devoured on the patio rear of the building, facing the bay, with splendid views of Treasure Island and Bay Bridge. All of this under the watchful eye of a seagull who fiercefully competed with a pigeon for the remaining crumbs of our pita bread. Despited the seagull’s obvious loss, he remained perched upon the wooden posts holding up the pier, in hopes of scoring food later on. Meanwhile, he gladly posed for me as I took a couple shots of his pompous bird posture with my camera for later reminicing.
Knowing that our time was limited in San Francisco, we wandered off into other parts of town in search of more adventures.
I think back to that day and I can still smell the salt in the air as the cool breeze rolled against my face. What inspires me most about the Ferry Station market is the people behind it. These are local farmers who have a vision of what real food should be. They have a passion to share that vision with San Francisco because the city appreciates it. Local, organic food is a priceless gift from our sun and the farmers gather in this architectural gem of a building to bring us closer to that gift. May it continue to be cherished for many generations to come.