Special events & announcements
The Grilled Cheese Tour ~ April 23
On a Thursday from 1:00 - 8:00 pm, America's favorite comfort food goes sustainable. Travel to Petaluma with CUESA for a behind-the-scenes tour of two beloved Ferry Plaza Farmers Market vendor operations: Cowgirl Creamery and Della Fattoria bakery. The bus tour is only $25.00 and includes a fresh-baked cheese sandwich. Buy tickets >
Renewing America’s Food Traditions with Gary Nabhan and Ashley Rood ~ April 29
Gary Paul Nabhan, writer, food and farming advocate, rural lifeways folklorist, and conservationist, may be best known for his pioneering Southwestern locavore experiment described in Coming Home to Eat. His new book is a journey across our continent’s 13 distinct "food nations" that details endangered foods and brings them to life with cultural histories, folk traditions, and recipes. Nabhan will speak at the Ferry Building along with sustainable agriculture advocate and contributing writer Ashley Rood. The event is $10, runs from 6 to 8:30 pm, and ends with a tasting of heritage foods. Buy a ticket >
The next Movable Feast is right around the corner
The next dinner in the Movable Feast series will be at One Market Restaurant, where Chef Mark Dommen will work with Erica Holland-Toll of Lark Creek Inn. The menu will include spring garlic soup, marinated duck breast, rainbow chard raviolis, and crispy skin steelhead. See the complete schedule here >
Earth Hour ~ tomorrow
Billed as the world's "first global election between Earth and global warming," Earth Hour is a campaign to get everyone on the planet to turn off their lights for one hour. Join people in 2,848 municipalities in 84 countries and flip that switch at 8:30 pm tomorrow night! Learn more >
Best of the Bay reception ~ April 25
Mingle with market managers from New York, New Orleans, London, Barcelona, Seoul and elsewhere while enjoying the best food and drink the Bay Area has to offer. This tasting event will spotlight local restaurants and chefs, farmers’ market vendors, wineries and breweries. It coincides with Project for Public Spaces’ 7th International Public Markets Conference, which brings together over 200 of the world’s best market operators. This year, the conference is being co-hosted by CUESA and the Ferry Building Marketplace. Tickets are $75. Learn more >
Update on Seawall Lot 351Representatives from the proposed housing development 8 Washington will be hosting an informational booth outside the Ferry Building on several upcoming Saturdays during market hours. An open house will also be held on Saturday, April 11 in the Pier 1 1/2 "Ticket Office" next to La Mar's Cebicheria. Located at the corner of Washington Street and the Embarcadero, 8 Washington is a LEED Gold certified project that would create 170 new homes and 250 underground public parking spaces to serve Ferry Building patrons. For more information email Trudi Loscotoff >
Programs at the market
Saturday, March 28 ~ Hoof-a-Palooza
10 am - 1 pm - Learn about goat breeds and cheeses
11 am -1 pm - CUESA will be serving goat tacos featuring pasture raised Marin Sun Farms meat ($1 donation)
11:00 am - Seasonal cooking demonstration
Louis Maldonado, Café Majestic (will prepare a goat-centered dish)
Tuesday, March 31~ Food Wise Booth
12 - 1 pm - Sarah Henkin, CUESA's market chef, will be giving out recipe cards and samples of a simple meal made with market ingredients. She'll also be available to offer advice on all your seasonal meal planning.
Saturday, April 4 ~ Market to Table
10:15 am - Seasonal cooking demonstration and book signing
Stephanie Rosenbaum, author of author of The Astrology Cookbook: A Cosmic Guide to Feasts of Love
Bibby Gignilliat, Parties that Cook
All programs take place in CUESA's Dacor teaching kitchen, in front of the Ferry Building on the north side.
The idea behind the Environmental Working Group (EWG)’s Dirty Dozen list is a simple one. Many of the growing number of eaters who have been swayed by the benefits of organic food still can’t afford it 100 percent of the time. So, by compiling EPA and USDA data on the amount of pesticides left on foods when they are ready to be eaten (once they have been washed and peeled), EWG created a list ranking nearly 50 conventionally grown fruits and vegetables. The 12 at the top earn the “Dirty Dozen” moniker and the 15 with the least reported pesticide residue get listed as the "Clean 15.”
If you are one of the million plus people who have received a copy of the pocket-sized guide, now in its fifth edition, you know it can act as a kind of decoder ring to help unscramble some of the competing messages about where to put your perhaps dwindling organic dollars.
“People have expressed a lot of gratitude for the guide,” wrote Jovana Ruzicic, a spokesperson for EWG, in a recent email. “They seem to feel relieved at the findings. Knowing that they can make a priority list helps overcome the stress of keeping a family or themselves healthy.”
If you’re shopping with more than your own immediate pesticide exposure in mind, however, lists like the Dirty Dozen are only one piece of the puzzle. Why? Because while the guide tells eaters how much is on the food when it’s ready to eat (this part is crucial) it doesn’t say anything about the amount used in the production of that food.
Then there’s this telling rule of thumb: by and large, the fruits and vegetables that are the most loaded with pesticides have thin skins (peaches top the list, alongside peppers, strawberries, apples, and cherries), while a number of the “cleanest” foods have a thick skin or husk, like avocado or corn — in other words, they're the most protected.
When asked whether shoppers who use the list might have an impact on agriculture’s bigger picture, EWG’s Ruzicic was straight to the point: “We do not have any data that would support (or not support) the thesis that buying from the clean list would reduce pesticide use.”
Selyne DeYarus of the Organic Center, a research-based nonprofit with a guide of their own called Organic Essentials, acknowledges that what’s missing from the list might be equally important as what’s included.
“There are a lot of implications for the use of these chemicals that may not be direct." she says. "You’re not as likely to be contaminated by eating an orange as you are a peach, for example, but there may be quite a lot of residue on the peel.” DeYarus also points to what she calls a “trickle down effect.”
“Those toxins still kill mammals and birds when they get in the groundwater and surface water.” And when it comes to toxicity, the health of the environment does have an eventual, if not easily traceable, impact on human health. Then there’s also the health of the people growing the food to consider.
Brian Hill, science director at Pesticide Action Network North America, says that any time a consumer chooses an organic product as an alternative to what’s on the Dirty Dozen conventional list, they are making a choice that positively impacts farmworkers and their communities. But he has some reservations about the other end of the list.
Onions, which are listed as the cleanest food on EWG's list, are an interesting example. According to Hill, three of the top four pesticides commonly used on onions in California are fumigants — gases that are put in the soil before the onions are planted. Fumigants, he adds, drift into the air and “affect the workers and the communities near the fields, but they’re long gone by the time the [onions] reach the grocery stores.” In this state, conventional farms use 700,000 pounds of fumigant pesticides on onions every year.
While the Shoppers Guide to Pesticides might not paint the complete picture, Hill says, there are not many other options for shoppers looking to make quick strategic choices about what to buy organic. For now lists like the Dirty Dozen and Organic Essentials do help keep shoppers from feeling powerless against a tide of difficult choices.
He adds, "there are other ways to become generally aware of how pesticides impact farming, by belonging to one of the organizations working on pesticide problems, for instance.”
The Organic Center’s DeYarus is also hopeful that, like most efforts to make an issue accessible, lists like her organization's can inspire more first-time organic shoppers.
“One can only hope that by spending your money on any organic food item, you are creating more demand," she says, "which can impact the overall number of acreage that’s farmed organically.”
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, March 28
In/Returning: Bodega and Yerba Santa Goat Cheese, Juniper Ridge, The Peach Farm, White Crane Springs Ranch
Out: Tierra Vegetables
Tuesday, March 31
In/Returning: The Peach Farm, Snyders Honey, Yerena Strawberry Farms
Seasonality synopsis for March
Returning, plentiful and/or at their peak this month:
Pea greens, raw olives, English peas, lilacs, fava beans, hyacinth, parrot tulips, rhubarb, spinach, asparagus, avocados, green garlic, spring onions, kumquats, nettles, broccoli, rapini greens, artichokes, baby turnips, carrots, fresh goat cheeses, pastured goat, eggs, plant starts
Winding down/limited supply:
Kiwi, Brussels sprouts, cherimoyas, shallots, lamb, potatoes, some citrus varieties, including Cara Cara oranges, Satsumas, and Fukumotos
Vendor and value-added farm products not to be missed (weather willing): San Francisco Lox Sandwiches (TM) from Cap'n Mike's, celery salt from Allstar Organics, and organic chicken stock from Mountain Ranch Organically Grown.
New farm this month: Rainbow Mountain Orchards will be joining the Saturday market on March 14th with an array of Japanese maples.
Featured recipes for March:
Shaved Asparagus with Smoked Trout and Pistachios from Rick DeBeaord of Café Rouge
Chilled English Pea Soup from local chef Leif Hedendal
Chicken with Arugula, Artichokes and Natural Pan Juice from Keith Hammerich of City College San Francisco
Rhubarb-Almond Bars from Aïda Mollenkamp, food editor at CHOW