At this point, it became clearly apparent that the green produce at this market is the exceptional offering that completely surpasses any other open air market I have ever seen. The quality of each leaf was sturdy and hardy. The variety of herbs and leaves was unfathomable. I learned a lot. There were many varietals I had never heard of, Many I had never seen before, and I was able to taste so much of what I had heard of but had no frame of reference for.
The mushrooms were offered in a couple of places, but I found that it was the same company. I am not a mushroom expert, but there were certainly kinds that are very unusual for our region. However, I do have great faith in MoNa‘s and I am convinced that if you know what you want, they would be able to source it for you. The beauty in this market was there was produce there that I would never know I wanted having never heard of some of it.
The micro greens were really exciting. I consistently hear how easy they are to grow yourself, and I do know that. I used to have a bean sprouter when I was in University and as a young mother, but not now. I get excited when I see the varieties of micro greens and can taste the concentration of flavours in the tiny fresh shoots. I like the convenience of knowing where I can get them when I need them. It would not be often, but I would be a consistent customer. I don’t know anywhere in Edmonton where this is possible.
Above is fennel, then buckwheat. There was everything one could think of and many things one could never think of!
As I have mentioned in other posts, butter is big in San Francisco. I don’t mean eating it. I mean the quality of it. I mean that it is clear if you are going to indulge in it, that the belief here is that it had better be great. I had butters here that I have never had before, and I have actually made my own butter from unpasturized cow milk when I was a young woman. The varieties of butter and the differences wiithin them are not subtle. They are vastly different in flavour, texture, and consistency. What a treat to be able to have such incredible produce available at the outdoor market!
These are all butters. Lauren was so patient! XO
The freshly made juices were a real draw. I was so pleased to see these offered as a really scrumptious and delicious alternative to sodas and processed drinks. Look at the coconut drink the little gal bought. What fun to have a yummy drink in such a funky, natural grown container!
I enthusiastically stood in line at the “Cowgirl Creamery” stand inside of the Ferry Building, and then was told that they also had a booth outside I had missed and that there was a feature cheese maker visiting today. Apparently they have a guest at least once a month featuring their own cottage industry cheese. What an incredible idea. How generous of this company, as well. Certainly, they will sell some of these cottage industry cheeses, but they also scope out the interest during these kinds of events. The French Laundry buys some of their cheese. That is where I first learned of them, but as I was interested in the local produce, their products were available in a variety of specialty shops. Really yummy stuff!
Green Gulch Farms and Marin Organic Produce had gigantic booths, and at various locations. Both presented amazing offerings.
We found ourselved in the front of the Ferry Building surrounded by another myriad of producers and booths. Some were repeats of others that we had passed by. Others were located only here. I was so excited to see organic jujubes. They looked so perfect and healthy and I have only before seen the dried ones that taste very similar to prunes and are the size of dried cherries. Look at these! And the owner was passing out samples for free – as everyone was all day long. If only he spoke better English. I would have bought a bagful if I knew what to do with them. I maybe could have researched them, or thought of something if I was at home. But, I was on holidays. Yeah, and darn!
It was crunchy and crispy and moist, but not juicy. It was meaty, and nutty, but not woody. It was not flavourful, but not flavourless. The texture and mouthfeel were the draw. The taste was very subtle and not discernable to me. Not new to me, yet not familiar to me. I get very excited when I have an opportunity to gain a novel experience.
Well, we are gone, but this market is not forgotten. It is an incredible open air market and has the best leafy greens and herbs of any market I have yet experienced. The independent local cheeses and butter makers are very special and something we do not have in Edmonton that I was very excited to see. The influence of the Spanish and Mexican cultures is an inherent part of this experience and of local California cuisine that I did not expect, but certainly should have. The warm invitation to taste, to sample, to experience the wealth, depth, and breadth of this local food was sincere and enabled me to be an active participant within the market experience. The conversations were about the importance of the local producer and the importance of supporting them, but also about the quality of the produce and the combination of flavours that you can create with what each can provide. These people work together, support one another, and if they didn’t know where to find something or what to do with something, they would absolutely find someone who could help you.
It was a great place to introduce my daughter to the importance of supporting the local and independent food producers. She is still repaying her student loans, and though she does understand the logic behind the theory, she usually buys whatever she can at the best price right now. If she is making a great meal, though, she does visit her local market. And, today, becasue I bought her a basic beauquet, she got some fantastic heirloom tomatoes and some fresh cheese curds. Then she went home and made a great salad with her local produce. Bravo, Lauren, and YUM!
Yes, Ii could have stayed longer than the morning, but it was our last day and we still had a lunch date with Gloria, then Stanford University and the Google Campus to visit before heading to Lauren’s to pack up for the trip home.