whole food ~ well made

Ferry Building market peas

Gifts from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market

Sweet cherries in April? Must be California!
Ferry Building market cherries

Last week this rural eater went to the big city. Not that one–another in my own time zone and just a 1 1/2 hour plane ride away.

Into another world.

San Francisco trolley

It was exhilirating to eat whatever I wanted–and I marched through the streets of San Francisco in search of Japanese, Thai, Korean, Chinese, Peruvian, Mexican, not to mention Californian and a rather good platter of fresh oysters (the view did not hurt).

Oysters on SF Bay

But my very best food experience was neither plotted nor planned. It was the morning I walked along the Embarcadero to relish the sun and happened upon the weekday farmers market at the Ferry Building.

Ferry Building

When I lived in Seattle, early morning was the perfect time to stroll through Pike Place Market free from the madding crowds. (“Please people, I’m trying to shop for dinner here,” often went through my head as I navigated my way through the browsing hordes.) This was the hour when it was just the vendors, some seagulls and a few morning walkers or commuters.

And me plotting my next meal.

Ferry Building market opening

This morning in San Francisco felt the same, like a discovery, a lucky break, an insider’s tip.

The weekday Ferry Plaza Market is smaller than the Saturday one, but that was just fine with me. I had the place nearly all to myself to admire freely.

Ferry Building shopper

Well, there were the market shoppers who gather produce for restaurants that use locally grown. For such a big city with so many restaurant choices, it was a funny coincidence that I’d actually eaten at one of them; Kin Khoa (loved it!) was printed on the cart in blue tape in front of me.

Ferry Building market more cherries

Cherries? Did I really see cherries? I double backed to the stand simply to behold them. No way I was carting them home.

I feasted my eyes, only.

Ferry Building market peas

And those peas, held out to me in the hand of a vendor to sample. I snapped a pea from the pod and popped it between my teeth. Ah, the first taste of the day (well, besides coffee).

Ferry Building market radish-golden beets

Such delicate sweetness and beauty is the pea. So fragile and short lived.

Of course, there were piles of radishes and beets…

Ferry Building market produce

…collards, broccoli and perfectly imperfect lemons…

Ferry Building market greens

bins of greens…

Ferry Building market oranges

…and piles of citrus galore. My goodness, so much to make a meal! A thousand dinner menus sprouted in my mind.

But no, I could not possibly transport a bite of this, the best luxury I know: freshness.

Then, among all of this wondrous produce, I noticed an item I’ve never encountered in its raw state before now. Can you guess what these are?

Ferry Building market olives


Dark purple because they were picked when ripe. The vendor told me that this is the first time they’ve brought a harvest to the market.

They grew on his grandmother’s tree on the family farm in Hollister, an agricultural town that looks a lot like mine.

After all, it turned out that I could bring a pint of these olives on the plane with me, to bathe them in a brine and flavor them my own way right here in my own home.


  1. Oh your farmer’s market has such a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables! Here, we don’t have as many (i.e. none because the market hasn’t started yet) but I seriously can’t wait after seeing all the goodies at your’s! Lovely photos too 😉

    1. It is such a fantastic market Anne! I hope you get a chance to experience it sometime.

  2. Oh WOW! I would so love to live near a market like that. Imagine cherries in April! I’m not sure how you managed to resist buying everything, Lynne! Stunning 🙂

    1. It was hard, Sasha! Cherry season here is still a solid month away, but it will be so good when it gets here.

  3. These pictures are great, Lynne! And raw olives, what a FIND. Did you know that when I go to a farmer’s market I go to THIS very one. The ferry building is my favorite and it’s just a quick drive from my house. Worlds collide 🙂 I don’t know how you resisted those cherries, now that I know they are there I know exactly what I’m doing next weekend!!


    1. You are soooooo lucky, Lauren. Do you also eat at Boulette’s Larder? I loved it there and had a chance to chat with chef Amaryll Shwertner, which was very inspiring.

  4. I’ve never been there, but the menu looks divine!! Now that I know you loved it, I will have to add it to the when-in-the-city list!!

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