Saturday, August 20, was a good day to visit San Francisco foodwise – first a visit to the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market and then the 3rd annual La Cocina Food Festival in the Mission District. The Ferry Plaza market is considered one of the top farmers’ markets in the country.
The market is organized by CUESA (the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) which envisions a food system that is environmentally sound; socially just; humane; and, economically viable. Large educational posters inform passersby on the issues at stake. On Saturday’s the market is held both in the front of the ferry building and on the rear plaza overlooking the Bay. There are fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers, meats and eggs from small regional farmers and ranchers, many of whom are certified organic, as well as breads, cheeses, honey and more. An extensive array with lots of samples to whet the appetite. The produce seemed unusually large and wholesome and pricey too. The technology industry has made San Francisco a wealthy city well able to lap up the organic offerings.
A different ensemble was available in the Mission District and we were introduced to the food truck revolution. These mobile trucks offer entrepreneurs a way to get started in the restaurant business. The food is varied, relatively inexpensive and convenient if you don’t mind lines and eating from a paper plate. TRUX is a website which provides information on the routes and includes twitters from the operators on when they will hit a street intersection. Other websites provide a top ten food truck listing. Conventional restaurateurs are uniting against their mobile competitors.
La Cocina, which assists low-income food entrepreneurs, organized the street food festival we attended. Folsom Street was cordoned off for several blocks and an alley of food stalls and food trucks was thronged by long lines of hungry consumers. Planks across stacked crates were the tables and continually emptying garbage sacks handled the trash. A roped in biergarten kept spirits high. A fun event.