With the official start of summer now underway, the Bay Area’s farmers markets are a wonderful place to experience our thriving culinary scene al fresco and find an exceptional assortment of high-quality produce and artisanal goods to take home at an unbeatable price. Of course, shopping at these venues also contributes to a strong local economy and supports the growers, ranchers, fisheries, bakeries, craftspeople and other producers that make our communities unique. Although you’d be hard pressed to find a farmers market in the region without plenty of great offerings, we’ve picked a few of our favorites for those looking to branch out:
The Coastside Farmers Markets: Held every Saturday at Shoreline Station in Half Moon Bay from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and on Wednesdays from 2:30-6:30 p.m. at Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, this farmer-directed Certified Market offers a beautiful array of everything from the catch of the day and organic coffee to specialty wines from local vintners and Coastal-grown fruits and vegetables. As they specify on their website, new and carefully curated products are introduced each season. According to @bayarea.com, they also offer products unique to the area such as Moss Beach Kambuch (for those who like that sort of beverage) and Cheryl’s Shortbread.
Oakland-Grand Lake Farmers Market: On Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Splash Pad Park is bustling with more than 40 local farmers, 30 craft food purveyors and a mix of local artisans. Among the selections, you’ll find plenty of grass fed meats, locally grown and organic produce, pastured eggs, milk, cheeses, fresh seafood, honey, nuts and nut butters, pre-packed hot foods and much more. After your shopping winds down, grab a bite from one of the market’s popular food trucks and relax with lunch on the lawn. Just be aware that parking can be a bit of an ordeal here, so either biking or public transportation may be a good option for some.
Mountain View Farmers Market: This award-winning farmers market has been recognized on a national level and is also one of the largest in the state, presenting local goods from 80 plus farmers and food purveyors. Open year-round on Sundays at Mountain View Caltrain Station from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., its multitude of offers includes an extensive selection of fresh, locally-grown organic produce, baked goods and fresh flowers. But if you’re looking for a dog-friendly market, you’ll need to hit up another venue, since no pets are allowed here.
Ferry Plaza Farmers Market: A trip to the stately, historic Ferry Building along the waterfront on the Embarcadero makes for a fun outing if you have friends or relatives visiting this season, and it’s a great way to indulge them in the local fare. Along with a wide selection of delicious prepared meals, the Ferry Building Marketplace features fresh, gourmet cheeses, regional jams, Acme bread, and a wide array of certified-organic fruits and vegetables, herbs, meats, flowers and more. The widely-acclaimed farmers market is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. It’s operated by the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA), which also offers cooking demonstrations, farm tours, cooking classes and panel discussions.
The Sunday Marin Farmers Market: In the North Bay region, you’ll find an enormous and eclectic mix of some of the best locally-produced food that Marin and Sonoma Counties have to offer every Sunday year-round, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Civic Center in San Rafael. Featuring nearly 200 vendors, the Sunday Marin Farmers Market has been named one of the top places to visit in Marin by the New York Times. As the Agricultural Institute of Marin points out, the marketplace is a popular stop among distinguished chefs throughout the Bay Area. At the same time, the majority of patrons live right nearby, so it maintains a community feel. Another plus this market has going for it: plenty of available parking.
Looking for options closer to your neighborhood? A few more good ones to try are the Downtown Campbell Farmers Market in the South Bay, the Concord Farmers Market in the East Bay, the San Mateo Farmers’ Market on the Peninsula and Point Reyes Farmers Market in the North Bay. And those in the city who prefer to frequent a smaller venue may want to check out the San Francisco Farmers Market at Crocker Galleria. Did we skip one of your favorites? Let us know!