But Some Other Day?
Farmer’s, who have been praying for rain for months, would nevertheless have preferred it on some other day—any other day than market day. Although it’s February, it surely feels as though it is November at Stonestown Farmers’ Market on what has to have been one of the few rainy days of the past couple of months.
Although you’re surrounded by cars at the nearby mall, there’s also the banjo-pickin’ country singer, the smell of freshly-cooking Indian truck food, and the sight of a veritable tent city in the form of booths from various farms and ranches coming from as far as three or four hours away.
Step into the streets of what seems to be an almost mini village, and you’ll be greeted by a collection of colors and shapes, vegetables and fruits - not to mention friendly faces. This is the moment where you’ll start to realize that you’re really grateful that you live in California. While other regions of the country and the world are suffering from snowed-in fields, it would seem as though our only loss of produce is that the strawberries will soon start getting too wet. While we’ll miss these sweet treats, there is a whole other cornucopia to enjoy.
This cooler weather, she tell us, is better for leafy greens, like chard, kale, and all variety of lettuces. Instead of tomatoes and cucumbers, you should be focusing on some green salads and orange squash dishes. ”
It is indeed lucky for us Californians that we have locations like Fresno, where the weather is currently about 80 degrees. This is what Janet Vue, of Vue Farms, calls the cooler season. This cooler weather, she tell us, is better for leafy greens, like chard, kale, and all variety of lettuces. Instead of tomatoes and cucumbers, you should be focusing on some green salads and orange squash dishes.
Another exciting winter option is the sugarcane, which was purveyed by a number of booths. The sugarcane is a crop that is grown over the course of a year. Winter is when it is most frequently harvested and it’s found all around the market. While the cane looks like a large bamboo, and could look a little intimidating to some, it is often consumed as a snack. This could prove to be pretty fun, biting off a chunk of the thick stalk and spitting out the bits of pulp that come along with it. You could also juice the cane for drinking or use in a variety of recipes.
It also becomes clear that citrus season is among us. Rows of oranges of all varieties and sizes, as well as beautiful big Oro Grapefruits, are tempting to both the eye and the taste buds. The samples surely don’t hurt either.
Also, you cannot fail to notice the recognizable root vegetables so often associated with this season. Gourds and pumpkins abound, not to mention almonds roasted and toasted and the beloved chestnuts. It’s not too late to get some of those roasting on an open fire! Beets, squash and broccoli were also popular among the booths. There was even a sighting (and tasting) of yogurt cheese.
It wasn’t all sunshine and peaches though, as some of the farms, depending on their location, were forced to declare that this would be their last weekend of the season. Many farms from Suisun Valley and Lincoln, CA were beginning to experience weather patterns not conducive to their harvest, causing them to take their booths into hibernation.
Speaking with any of the vendors at the market, you will be surprised to find that this farmers’ market thing is totally a full time job. Traveling here from as far as the Feather River Valley and Fresno, these farmers also make trips around the Bay to places like San Rafael, Petaluma, and other popular San Francisco farmers’ markets, like the one on Clement St.
The market, however, is more than just a shopping trip, its much more like the perfect Sunday event. Why not take your family outside for a walk among the flowers (literally)? The sights and smells alone will get rid of your Seasonal Affective Disorder. Additionally, the market is a breeze to get to. Not only is there more than ample parking - it is located outside of a huge mall after all - but there are also Muni trains, and multiple bus lines serving the area. Located on relatively flat land, it is also conducive to riding your bike.
The farmers’ market continues year round as a place to gather with family and friends, get in touch with your grander neighborhood, and take pride in many of the natural wonders that California has to offer. And probably sampling yogurt cheese too. Enjoy the winter months!
Maya Lekach is a local free-lance journalist in San Francisco
It’s Winter Faire at Stonestown’s Farmers Market
After four years the Sunday Farmers Market at Stonestown has become a weekly shopping ritual for neighbors of the Westside. Crowds of customers begin to roam the back parking lot from 9am to 1pm, attracted by approximately 50 booths offer local fresh fruits and vegetables, many certified organic, as well as bakery goods, food booths, and trucks catering to exotic tastes or more familiar fare. There are also artisan wares and gifts from local and California artists. Though officially closed at 1:00 PM, the crowds often continue to frequent vendors even as they are breaking down, and shop until 2:00 PM and sometimes later.
For Grace Terisi and her daughter Katherine, who operate a certified organic boutique farm in San Juan Batista, the morning starts long before dawn as the vegetables are harvested, packed into boxes and on the truck by 6:30am to start the journey to San Francisco’s Stonestown. Grace is used to the farm routine. She was brought up on a cherry and apricot family farm in Santa Clara County that was much larger than the twelve acre farm she runs today. She proudly displays and loves to talk about the varieties of squash, onions and greens she has on display. If it’s in season, it is probably here, but she also tries to plant things that are not available from the other vendors.
She grows greens year round; broccoli, kale, chard, beets, fennel, celery, green onions and leeks are planted and harvested regularly. Don’t know the difference between a leek and French bunching onions? Don’t know how to cook that kale? Just ask Grace. Or you can ask daughter Katherine, who is working her way toward a career in bioengineering, but she can also tell you five ways to turn that winter squash into a delicious meal. The Terisi farms have been selling at the Stonestown market for four years.
Potter Scott Wilson, whose studio is in Pollack Pines, is happy to talk about potting. Though he only shows up at Stonestown on the second Sunday of the month, he keeps busy creating vases and table wares all year and rotates showing at Hayward, Santa Rosa and Palo Alto Farmers Markets, and through his mother-in-law’s gift shop in Placerville.
Jacqueline Miyata is a jeweler who specializes in copper patina necklaces and bracelets. Tasteful settings for smoky quartz, turquoise and amethyst are also available in less expensive glass versions. Most exceptional are her chain-mail adaptations that lend a medieval feeling to her work, and she is knowledgeable and conversant with all things lapidary, precious and semi-precious.
Handing out exotic tastes for Sukhi’s Indian Cuisine, Baljinder Singh will help you through the wonders of the ancient cuisine that always delights the palate and presents a colorful and healthy alternative to meat and potatoes with tantalizing flavors and aromas. Sukhi’s was created by celebrated Chef-Teacher Sukhi Singh, founded in the Bay Area in 1992. “Meticulous food preparation is an expression of love and respect for all,” Baljinder said, “our entrees capture thousands of years of culture, refined by generations.”
Sudesh Rai offers delicious and healthy meat alternatives at the Tofu Yu booth. The artisan soy beanery is located in Berkeley, where they make an assortment of delicious and nutritious vegan, gluten-free foods from fresh, natural, and locally-grown ingredients. Following ancient traditions of making tofu, “tofusion” spices it up with a unique assortment of flavors from the East and West. Toveggie Balls and Spicy Veggie Wraps are a favorite, but Soy Pasta and Tofutillas are Meatless Monday regulars. Tofu Yu has been at Stonestown for 3 years and Sudesh loves to talk about the tastes and health benefits of tofu.
Peter Louie from Malik Almond Ranch in Hickman (50 miles out of Modesto) will tell you about the 240 acre farm and its fruit and nut trees. He offers a variety of bagged almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and hydraulic dried fruits. Sesame Glazed Almonds are a favorite with kids, and a healthy alternative to candy. The bags make wonderful gifts and keep for a year.
“Nutritional value is always greater from fresh produce,” Katy Chapman said. “Buying local and supporting regional farmers and food products strengthens the local economy and reduces the environmental impact of transporting food long distances—it also allows you to meet your local farmers and learn where and how the food is grown.”
The market is open Sundays only, in the parking lot behind Stonestown, 9am-1pm.
Winter Fare at the Farmers Market Adds Variety and Value as Well as Health
Every Sunday 9am–1pm at Stonestown (Rear parking lot).
were kept busy on the slides and bouncing to their heart’s content. Grown-ups were busy tasting free samples and squeezing fresh produce.
Shane Yuri demonstrates the apple peeler, corer and slicer—delicious too. Yuri Ranch is out of Ceres, CA, just 20 minutes south of Stockton
Olivera Egg Ranch’s Emelda offers the freshest eggs; cage free, organic, free roaming, vegetarian diet. Their farm is in Gilroy and she’s happy to tell you about her great chickens.
Isn’t that our own cougar, Phyllis Sherman engaging the bread man? They offer French and Italian breads, focaccia, and Phyllis’ favorite, chocolate zucchini loaf. There are many varieties of breads, cakes and baked goods at the Market every week and vendors are happy to offer samples.
Bees are busy and there’s more to it than honey. From skin care products to candles and All Natural Honey, Small Bees provides only the best all natural products from local Santa Clara Valley bees.
Tony Howe can’t give the olive treats away fast enough. M&CP has the exclusive rights to California Kalamata olives. No lye is used in the curing process, only sea salt and water.
There are never any pesticides or sprays of any kind on Success Valley Farms’ strawberries. The first harvest are sweet and plump and everyone is willing to sample. A box sells for $3.50
There she is again, mooching Gary Peter’s Springhill Cheese sampler. All Natural,100% Fresh Cultured Grade A Jersey Milk, Salt and Enzymes. That’s It! No Artificial Hormones.
…add music, art, fresh sea fish, ethnic food booths and the main event—veggies
picked this morning!
Grand Opening Celebration!
GRAND OPENING AT THE STONESTOWN FARMERS MARKET
On Sunday October 18th, the Stonestown Galleria and Marin Farmers Markets
(MFM) will host a Grand Opening Celebration in honor of the new Stonestown
Farmers market shoppers, local public officials, and community group representatives will join the Stonestown Galleria and MFM’s farmers, food purveyors, and artists for a pumpkin cutting ceremony at 11 am. Throughout the day, market-goers will enjoy lively entertainment, special market give-aways, and market tours with Life’s Ingredients. Shortly after the pumpkin cutting ceremony the market will be blessed by Jing Mo’s Lion Dance, taking heads of lettuce from local dignitaries and kicking them throughout the market. Chinese tradition says that those who are touched by the flying lettuce will be blessed with good luck and fortune, businesses and customers alike.
Three months after its opening day on June 28th, the market continues to thrive and grow. The Stonestown Farmers Market is a program of Marin Farmers Markets (MFM), a 501(c)5 non-profit based in San Rafael, in partnership with its sister organization Marin Agricultural Institute (MAI), a 501(c)3 non-profit. This is the second farmers market that MFM produces in partnership with General Growth Properties (GGP).
Richard Forester, General Manager of the Stonestown Galleria, is pleased with the partnership – “It’s been a very synergistic relationship. The Stonestown Farmers Market is a tremendous resource for our neighboring communities and we’re happy to offer our space and support to the local farmers and food purveyors of Marin Farmers Markets. We look forward to many more seasons to come!”
Tyler Thayer, Market Manager, reflects on the immense outpouring of support from the community – “We feel so fortunate to have been welcomed by the local communities. Everyone I speak to is thrilled that the market is here. Customers are always asking ‘how can I help? How can I make sure this market succeeds?’ I say simply, ‘tell your friends, invite your neighbors, make this market a pivotal part of your community.’ Every week the market seems to grow. It’s exciting to watch.”
The flying lettuce will surely help.
Marin Farmers Markets is a 501(c)5 non-profit which runs 8 farmers markets in the Bay Area, including the Sunday Civic Center Farmers Market – the third largest farmers market in California. For 26 years, MFM has been bringing farmers and communities together to create healthy viable local food systems. For more information please visit www.marinfarmersmarkets.org.
STONESTOWN FARMERS MARKET IS PUTTING DOWN ROOTS
Two months after its opening day on June 28th, the Stonestown Farmers Market is bustling. “Where we had maybe 500 customers join us at our first market, we’re estimating 2,000 are visiting us these days. We’ve seen exponential growth in our customer base. In just eight weeks, we’ve developed loyal regulars and they’re all so excited to share the market with their family and friends. The community here has been extremely supportive,” shares market manager, Tyler Thayer.
In the months leading up to the opening, MFM was approached by numerous
community groups throughout the Westside of San Francisco
– each requesting their own neighborhood farmers market. MFM’s
Board of Directors and staff honed in on the Stonestown Galleria
as a premier location for a farmers market that could best
serve a handful of communities on the Westside while balancing
the capacity of MFM and its members to meet public demand.
(Photo: Sister Rosa Schneider helps Matt at Sunday's Market)
Some farmers are already touting the Stonestown Farmers Market as their
best market, like farmer Matt McCue of Shooting Star CSA.
Matt and Lilly Schneider grow 32 varieties of certified organic
vegetables on their eight acre farm in Fairfield. “This is our most productive
farmers market of the five we attend. We expect this market will be one
of those where farmers are waiting for someone to go out of business or
die to have the opportunity to get in – we’re glad to be here from the
start,” jokes McCue.
“It’s amazing how excited people are! They’re here to shop. The quality
of the growers at this market is excellent, and the customers at Stonestown
are really genuinely interested in produce. It’s a great match,” notes
Shooting Star has just a few months on the Stonestown Farmers Market, having
signed the lease for their perfect plot of land in Suisun Valley
in March of 2009. Lily Schneider, who Matt describes as the “star
grower on the farm,” has spent the past six years farming and
studying sustainable agriculture and agronomy. Matt McCue is an
Iraq War Veteran and Peace Corps volunteer who has dedicated his
life to farming - he’s in his fourth season of farming following
four years of serving in the U.S. Army. (Photo: Lisa Schneider)
Thayer can barely hold back his enthusiasm when describing the farmers, food purveyors and artisans who are attending the market: “We’ve got farmers with great stories and even better product – Matt and Lily of Shooting Star with their organic vegetables, Cliff from Hamada Farms, a multi-generational farm, with his stonefruit, grapes and melons, and Pascal of Pugs Leap Farm with phenomenal hand-crafted goat cheese, just to name a few. Our food purveyor community is filled with blossoming small businesses from around the Bay Area including Split Pea Seduction, LaVier Catering, Teeny Cake, and Santa Cruz Pasta Company. The artisan community at the market is bursting with creative, hand-made works of art – it’s food for the soul.”
Thayer looks forward to fleshing out the market as the consumer base continues to grow. “We’re looking to attract a few more specialty items to really complete the market. Hopefully in the next few months we’ll see a nursery come in with plant starts, a bakery with artisanal breads, a few more organic growers, a local rancher with meats, and a farmer growing specialty Asian greens. It was a no brainer that this market would succeed – it was just a matter of getting the word out.
In addition to a blossoming market, Stonestown customers can look forward to upcoming special events including: a chef demonstration with Chef Liza Shaw of A16 followed by a tour of the market with Rebecca Katz, author of One Bite at a Time, and Anais Radonich Galvinon of Life’s Ingredients on September 13th, and the Stonestown Farmers Market Grand Opening Celebration on October 18th.
Stonestown Galleria is owned and operated by General Growth Properties, Inc. The Company has ownership interest in, or management responsibility for, over 200 regional shopping malls in 44 states, as well as ownership in master planned community developments, and commercial office buildings. For more information, visit www.stonestowngalleria.com.
The Stonestown Farmers Market is a program of Marin Farmers Markets is a 501(c)5 non-profit which runs 8 farmers markets in the Bay Area, including the Sunday Civic Center Farmers Market – the third largest farmers market in California. It is based in San Rafael, in partnership with its sister organization Marin Agricultural Institute (MAI), a 501(c)3 non-profit. This is the second farmers market that MFM produces in partnership with General Growth Properties (GGP). For more information please visit www.marinfarmersmarkets.org.
Fresh & Fruity Farmers Market At Stonestown
A beautiful sunny day came with the opening of the Farmers Market at Stonestown. There were concession stands with every variety of vegetable, fruit, berry, melon imaginable, as well as local home-baked goods, great hummus and ethnic foods, flowers, orchids, cheeses, eggs, honey, homemade ravioli along with enough samples to make a meal. For the Kids there were bouncy rooms and pony rides. This will happen every week, according to organizers.
Pascal Destandau, Cheesemaker, and his partner Eric Smith, the Goatherder make the best goat cheese this side of heaven. They own and operate Pugs Leap Farm in Healdsburg, an organic and eco-friendly orchard, vegetable and herb garden where their 27 goats roam and forage. “Each goat has a name and gets milked 300 days a year,” says Pascal, a Frenchman “via Australia,” who likes to sell directly to the public, “with the 250% markup most stores charge, few could afford a fine handmade cheese like this,” he says. Priced at $5.75, 8. and 12.—we agree.
Pugs Leap has been featured in San Francisco Magazine, National Geographic Traveler and California Home.
With so many eaters celebrating the perks of locally grown food, it’s no surprise that every neighborhood is calling out for its very own farmers market. However there is one piece of the puzzle that eaters sometimes forget—farmers.
Pony rides for the kids and other game areas make the shopping easy on parents and fun for kids.
Bilal and his son Uthman offer “No Cookie cookies” that have no dairy, refined sugar, eggs, or wheat—they are moist, chewy and delicious. Ch 5’s Best of the Bay.
Lily Schneider is eager to explain the value of growing and eating organic food.
In California, eaters outnumber small to mid-sized farms 12,500 to 1; with approximately 36,000,000 Californians to the 2,900 certified producers currently participating in farmers markets. Instead of spreading farmers too thin by demanding that they set up a booth in every corner of our urban landscape, it’s time that we reach a compromise.
Sample some artichoke spread? You bet!
Bill Yang is proud of his Heirloom tomatos from his Nou Vang Farms in Sanger (near Fresno)
Sam Shaclelford talks about pesticide-free gardening — common practice for most of the vendors at the Farmers Market, even those that haven’t been officially certified — its best practice at RHS Farms, his 60 acre farm in Woodland.
On Sunday June 28th, Marin Farmers Markets (MFM),in partnership with its sister organization Marin Agricultural Institure (MAI), celebrated the opening of its new farmers market at Stonestown, running from 9 AM to 1 PM. This is MFM’s first farmers market in San Francisco, and the first new market that MFM has opened in 7 years. The new market, will run year-round. They currently operate 4 farmers markets in Marin County, and 3 farmers markets in Alameda County.
While the surge in the demand for local food has been remarkable, consumers are still trapped in the culture of convenience. With over 500 markets in California, the farmers are in the driver seat when deciding how many markets they can attend and which ones. We need more farmers, more people growing their own food. But in the meantime, it’s important that we compromise and develop markets that have both the needs of the customer and the farmer in mind.
Thanks to excellent public transportation, as well as the abundance of parking available at the Stonestown Galleria, the Stonestown Market is extremely accessible.
The market will be open year-round every Sunday from 9 AM -1 PM. Stonestown Galleria is at 3251 20th Avenue, SF
More photos from the opening of the Farmers Market at Stonestown Here