Special events & announcements
Win a tote bag and market cookbook!
You could win a colorful Ferry Plaza Farmers Market organic cotton tote bag with a copy of The San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market Cookbook inside! To enter, just send us your name ideas for a new service we'll be offering at the Tuesday farmers' market. Starting in late January, CUESA's market chef, Sarah Henkin, will be on duty to share culinary tips with market shoppers. She'll also be offering samples of seasonal dishes, handing out recipe cards and answering all manner of culinary questions, such as "How should I store potatoes?" and "What the heck is puntarella?"
What should we call the booth? Send your name ideas to Julie Cummins by Monday, January 12. The new name and the contest winner will be announced on January 16.
Citrus festivities at the market ~ February 7
Come celebrate the California fruits that bring sweetness, tang, and a little bit of sunshine to the winter table. Get your dose of C with CUESA as we kick off another year of culinary education at the farmers' market. Activities include a citrus variety tasting challenge, an orange juice toast to a farmer, a discovery station, an orange smile digital photo booth, and a cooking demonstration highlighting both a pasta dish and a salad that feature citrus.
Preserving workshop with June Taylor ~ Jan 14, Jan 21 and Feb 21
This day-long, hands-on class will concentrate on the principles and processes of marmalade making and the experiential nature of preserving fruit. The class will include a tasting and evaluation of a variety of winter citrus for marmalade making, as well as a comparative tasting of commercially and locally made marmalades. At the Still-Room in Berkeley.
Learn more >
Heirloom Beans reading and talk ~ tomorrow
Food blogger and cookbook author Vanessa Barrington will discuss and bring food made from recipes in the book she co-authored with Steve Sando, Heirloom Beans: Great Recipes for Dips and Spreads, Soups and Stews, Salads and Salsas, and Much More from Rancho Gordo. 3:00 - 4:00 pm at Omnivore Books >
Mark Bittman at Book Passage ~ January 12
Bittman talks about Food Matters: A Guide To Conscious Eating with More Than 75 Recipes. From the award-winning guru of culinary simplicity and author of the bestselling How to Cook Everything and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian comes a plan for responsible eating that’s as good for the planet as it is for the waistline. The event is at 6:00 PM at Book Passage in the Ferry Building.
Help market shoppers sort their waste wisely
Meet other friendly market shoppers and help us divert over 90% of market waste from the landfill: volunteer to help man our Waste Wise Stations! The market needs waste-wise volunteers every weekend in order to keep the program running. Even if you can only give a few hours of your time, we'd be thrilled to have you involved! Email Ashleigh Collier for more information.
Feature: For the love of kiwi
Plain and brown on the outside, emerald green on the inside, kiwis are the geodes of the fruit world. The sweet gems make their appearance at California farmers’ markets just in the nick of time –- right when the pomegranate and persimmon seasons have faded and committed locavores have prepared themselves for several puckered months of citrus eating.
Much like apples and pears, which are available from cold storage well into spring, kiwis are a nice alternative to imported fruit during the winter months. What we now call kiwi or kiwifruit was long referred to as "Chinese gooseberry" in New Zealand, where the fruit flourished after being brought from China early in the last century. In the 1960s, when the then-exotic fruit was introduced in California, it was dubbed the kiwi after the national bird of New Zealand.
Swanton Berry Farm has been leasing six acres of 35-year-old organic kiwi vines (formerly Coastways Ranch) along Highway 1, just 20 miles north of Santa Cruz, since 2004. And they’ve brought their fruit to Ferry Plaza every winter since. Since kiwis don’t ripen on the vine here, they are picked in October and November, stored, and then ripened in batches throughout the winter. According to Tim Hudson, one of the farmers and co-owners at Swanton, 10 days of room temperature storage, following at least 10 days of refrigeration, ripens the fruit they pick.
Nancy and Robin Gammons of Four Sisters Farm, who have been growing organic kiwis since 1978, also benefit from the ability to store kiwis or ripen them at will. Before bringing a batch to the market, the Gammonses move them to a special storage unit that also contains their farm’s apples, a natural source of a ripening agent called ethylene gas. (Conventional kiwi farms use synthetic ethylene.)
According to Nancy Gammons, her husband Robin leaves the fruit on the vine "‘til the last possible minute” in November, at which point they are “as high in sugar as possible.” Kiwis grown in the Central Valley, she says, often have to be picked early to avoid a freeze.
In the 70s, when Nancy and Robin were planting their vines, there were very few sources of information on kiwis. “When we began, the only info we could get was this little booklet from Australia,” says Nancy. The kiwis took a great deal of water to get established and they also needed to be trellised, much like over-sized grape vines. But, she says, once they get going, “they’re very vigorous and they live as long as 70 years.”
Both Tim Hudson and the Nancy Gammons say that organic kiwi is a pretty reliable crop. “They require no inputs [i.e. fertilizer], and we haven’t had any problems with pests,” says Hudson. “The main work involved is pruning, which is done in the winter and determines the amount of fruit you'll get the following fall.”
Four Sisters Farm sells around 200 pounds of the fruit on an average Saturday. “But it wasn’t always like that,” says Gammons. “Kiwis have definitely gained in popularity over the years. Once people realize they’re not actually a tropical fruit and they grow right here in California, they become a winter staple.”
See a 2007 study that suggest organic kiwis have more nutrients than conventional kiwis >
This is the most up-to-date information about which sellers will be attending the market as of Friday. If there are no changes to a seller's status, they will not be listed. You'll find a list of which farmers regularly attend each market here. Please understand that there are often last-minute changes—it's the nature of farming!
Saturday, January 10
In: Bella Viva Orchards, Downtown Bakery, Happy Quail Farms, June Taylor Company
Out: Andante Dairy, Blossom Bluff Orchards, Chan's Nursery, Knoll Farms
Tuesday, January 13In: Blossom Bluff Orchards
Seasonality synopsis for January
Returning, plentiful and/or at their peak this month:
Blood oranges, plant starts, kale, nettles, green garlic, cruciferous vegetables, flowering quince branches, chicories, root vegetables, tulips, pea sprouts, narcissus, kumquats, braising greens, Cara Cara oranges, baby lettuces, kumquats, Napa cabbage
Winding down/limited supply:
Avocados (should be plentiful again in February), Brussels sprouts, pastured eggs, fresh goat cheese, persimmons, pomegranates, apples and pears (from cold storage only right now)
Vendor and value-added farm products not to be missed (weather willing): Sierra Beauty applesauce from June Taylor, beef jerky from Marin Sun Farms, liverwurst from Fatted Calf, dried sweet marjoram from Allstar Organics
Featured recipes for January:
Smoked Trout, Grapefruit & Watermelon Radish Salad from cookbook author Laurel Miller
Wild Mushroom Bisque from cookbook author Susan Spungen
Pan-Seared Marin Sun Farms Flank Steak with Shaved Farmers’ Market Vegetable Salad, Sautéed Potatoes, and Green Garlic Aioli from Erica Holland-Toll of Lark Creek Inn