I Love the Farmer’s Market

The Civic Center Farmer’s Market (Wednesdays and Sundays) is one of my favorite things about working where I do. There’s no avoiding it (although who would want to?) because it’s right outside the entrance to the BART station. Just as there’s no avoiding the fact that it really, truly, finally is spring. Peaches are here! And how about that use of the word “rich”? 

It has indeed been a rich May around here.  When you look up from the peaches you can see the State Building, which is where I work, adjacent to San Francisco’s golden domed City Hall and the Asian Art Museum, which represents THE finest example of how to turn a grand library into a really beautiful museum.  One floor above the court where I work is the California Supreme Court, and haven’t THEY made this a richly happy month? 

If you happen to be visiting San Francisco on a Wednesday in the spring, all you have to do to check out these many riches is hop on BART and get off  at the Civic Center stop.  Buy some fruit, and maybe a tamale.  Go into the Asian Art Museum, which is ahead of you and on the right.  If you can’t afford to pay the entrance fee, you can ask for the red chopsticks pass, which gets you into the cafe, where you can have a cup of tea and sit on the lovely veranda overlooking the farmer’s market.  And you can still see the beautiful job they’ve done converting the library into a marvelous museum space. 

Don’t forget to visit City Hall — and the Main Library, which is across from the Asian Art Museum.  There’s cheap food to be had down Polk Street, which is officially “Little Vietnam.”  And in another three weeks or so, the Supreme Court’s marriage decision will be final, and they will begin to marry people at City Hall.  You can sit in the grass and congratulate people, while you’re eating your tamales, or your fruit, or your vietnamese food. 

Some people find this extraordinarily rich neighborhood a little scary.  The tenderloin is home to a lot of people who are right on the edge of being okay — and many people who’ve fallen off the edge.  And no, they’re not always pleasant.  But they’re part of who we are, and there’s no denying their existence around here, and that is as it should be, I think. 


18 thoughts on “I Love the Farmer’s Market

  1. There, I knew the moment I saw it that that’s what I’ve been missing from my life – a bloglily food picture. Those peaches look wonderful and seem to rekindle nostalgic memories for the photos of a beautiful fruit tart that you cooked a while back. Yay for spring!

  2. Lovely picture. I can almost smell and taste those peaches. Yes, Spring has arrived, but we don’t get much local produce here for about 3 more weeks. Still the Farmers’ Market is open and I’ll be there tomorrow for fresh baby field greens and mushrooms. Maybe some green-house tomatoes — not as good as the field grown ones but still local, still tasty, not at all like those dyed red styrofoam things they sell at the supermarket.

  3. Litlove, I’m pretty sure what’s been missing from my life are peaches — and tarts! There’s a gorgeous long weekend ahead, and in between editing and writing and reading, there’s actually time to cook.

    Cam — the red styrofoam tomatoes are truly awful, aren’t they? And the baby field greens and mushrooms sound great.

  4. I lived in Livermore for about 16 years before moving here. I miss the markets, and the wine country, and the great Chinese, and Le Cheval in Oakland, the Berkeley rose garden, Top Dog, Blondies….oh hell…I just miss everything. LOL

    Thanks for the picture. Beautiful!

  5. Hello JC — Do you live in Reno now? What beautiful country just around you. Still, I’d miss Le Cheval too. Next time you’re in town, let me know. We can go to Top Dog (or Le Cheval).

  6. I love your picture. I love Farmers’ Markets too. I was thinking that I should take photos of “mine” sometime. Also enjoyed your post…SF is high on my list of places to visit, so I can use this as a travel guide! Thanks.

  7. Oh I envy your market! Where I live the farmers’ market has just now opened and so far goods include only asparagus, scallions, and tunnel-grown lettuces. Still, it’s a start…and a tasty one. But peaches!! and for them to be local! You do live a charmed life!

    I have been to all the places you mention in your walking tour; and I agree with you heartily about those who’ve ‘fallen off the edge’. They too are Us.

  8. Now THERE’S the difference between California and almost everywhere else. We won’t see peaches like that in these parts till August (and, actually, they won’t ever really look like that, if they’re local). Spring around here means our farmer’s markets resemble TJ’s and are full of asparagus, spinach, and lettuce (which is fine with me). I am very eagerly awaiting strawberries,though (a couple more weeks, I think).

  9. I am keening, keening with jealousy! I went to our farmer’s market today and like Emily had the choice between lots of greens, garlic and rhubarb. I came home certainly a happy woman but I am feeling an overwhelming need for fruit, and the peach still holds the place as my favorite…

  10. I like to eat by season, so don’t buy the peaches they ship here from there… but wow! Peaches in May, and in season!

    We had a peach tree in our back yard in Kansas City until the tornado (see the post on my blog). My father made ice cream in an old fashioned ice cream maker. We took turns at the crank, working at it till the muscles in our arms gave out. Oh.. the peach ice cream…

    Ben and Jerry used to have a Georgia Peach… but haven’t seen it for years. Closest thing to what I remember. Peaches, tree ripened… still almost a little warm from the sun in that rich frozen cream concoction….

  11. You are making me homesick! We used to come across the Bay on the ferry just to visit the Farmer’s Market; I think my boy had his first strawberries there.

  12. Those peaches look divine. I have heard from friends that the SF Farmers’ Markets are astonishing and one day hope to go there.

    As for cities that embrace people who have fallen off the edge, I have just come back from Berlin, where there is an amazing amount of tolerance … for everything and everyone.

  13. The best strawberries I ever had in my life were tasted in the state of California. The flavor just blew away every New York supermarket strawberry I’ve had… I don’t even know how to describe the difference. They were like a completely other fruit. Just looking at those peaches makes my mouth water… I want to go to your farmer’s market and try them. I have a feeling peaches would never taste the same again.

    And yay for the California Supreme Court! When will New York follow?

  14. I’m dying of envy! I just bought a little peach tree with six or seven tiny fuzzy peaches on it. Maybe by August we’ll be able to eat them…

    In the northeast you just cant eat fresh fruit from the end of apple season in November until the beginning of strawberry season in June. By May, we’re just dying…

  15. Rhian, Oh, lucky you to own a peach tree. I cannot nourish anything that requires watering and fertilizing. I also cannot pick out paint colors. What I can do, in the area of household arts, is make jam, which makes February bearable when you open the jar of apricot jam you made back in June and get that great Little House on the Prairie rush. I’m going to be in New Enlgand in exactly one month and the thing I’m looking forward to is blueberries. I have this very strong memory of eating blueberries and cereal in my friend Karen’s house in Connecticut right after we graduated from college (in late May) and being very happy about that.

    Hey Nova — have you ever had those tiny fraises de bois? (I don’t think I’m spelling that right.) Anyway, they’re scarily good. Just smelling them is an amazing experience of what strawberries can be like. As for New York — the great thing the California Supreme Court has done is to create a legal template for other states to use in considering the question of whether bans on gay marriage violate constitutional protections. And also, it gives other states a little momentum in the direction of doing the right thing. The next battlefront, though, might not be so much the courts as in the legislature and in the initiative process as people put on the ballot those hate-filled initiatives to amend their state constitutions to deny marriage to anyone other than heterosexual couples. Sad.

    Archie, dude, six months! Man, that’s harsh. I forget you’re on the other side of the globe sometimes. Winter’s coming — it’s time for things like gingerbread and dark alcohol drinks which have a charm all their own.

    Charlotte — Welcome back! One of my closest friends is spending a sabbatical year in Berlin this coming academic year and I envy her the chance to have that experience. I didn’t know about the tolerance, although you’d guess that from, oh, you know Cabaret (isn’t everything we know about Germany before the war pretty much summed up there?!) Anyway, I’m looking forward to hearing about your adventures during your time away.

    Ella, I think the best approach to San Francisco is from a ferry. When my boys were little we used to take the ferry to the city all the time. They loved the whole thing, but especially the fact that when you got off the boat there was all that FOOD just waiting for you on the other end of the dock.

    Oh Jacob, I’m so sorry about that tree. There’s nothing more wonderful than fruit that comes right off a tree that’s in your yard. And to lose that, well, it’s tough, isn’t it? I love peach ice cream, and think maybe we should all make some, just to beat back the world’s tendency to take away the things we love.

    Hey Courtney — no keening!! I love the sound of your armful of green and garlic. There’s got to be pasta involved in that, right? Which reminds me that we have not been eating enough vegetables around here, and should.

    TJ, It is indeed a charmed life. Sometimes I think I’ll wake up and be back in the place where I was a teenager where it always rained, and was so isolated, and everything we ate came out of cans or bags. Except that isn’t really fair because I remember my dad picking berries (and us picking them too) and then he’d make big pots of jam and also there was the summer we grew lettuce and carrots in the back yard and they were great. There’s charm in every ecosystem. Ours in California is just flashier, I think.

    hello Island Momma and welcome! I’d love to see those pictures and will check in to see if they’ve arrived. xo

    Hey peakoilboy and welcome to you too. Backyard growing is a brilliant activity and thank you for the reminder!

  16. I’d be dying of jealousy, too, Bloglily, but hey…I can sneak down to said farmer’s market now, if I want, and pick up some of said peaches! Tee hee…I agree with you…life IS rich here. 🙂

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