Behind The Butter

The Ferry Building Farmer’s Market

There’s really not much I love more in life than a solid farmer’s market.


I was lucky enough to go to college in a city with a wonderful market down the street from my apartment every Saturday and it made me so spoiled. When I moved from South Carolina back home to Florida the thing I missed most was that market, and the ability to get the freshest produce and local food products.

Now that I live in Northern California, I’m surrounded by a bounty of farmer’s markets. It’s as if I took off and landed in market heaven because they’re everywhere I turn. And while we have a few in Santa Rosa, the market to end all markets is located an hour south in San Francisco. I’m talking about the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market. It owns my soul and is one hundred percent worth the fog, the six dollar toll booth charge, the traffic and the price of heirloom tomatoes. And that’s saying a lot.

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Oh, and reason number 4530 why I love the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market?
Three simple words: Blue Bottle Coffee.
Beth makes fun of me, but I’ve totally fallen into the hipster coffee trap. Now don’t get me wrong, I love me some Starbucks. But Blue Bottle just reaches a whole new level. I’ve always been one to add a bit of raw sugar to my coffee concoctions, but you honestly don’t even need it with this stuff. It’s rich and dark but not burnt and is the closest thing I can find to the coffee I loved so much in Paris.



Do you have a farmer’s market in your area? If so, do you make an effort to shop there?
Oh, and stay tuned……Joey Chestnut awaits my next post.

And he winked at me. Just throwin’ it out there.

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  • crunchy granola gal
    August 22, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    don’t hate on the hipster coffee! you know you love it! it’s much bolder of a beverage, but is totally worth the original wince at first sip.

    i have a farmer’s market close to me – not the famous union square greenmarket, but close enough – where i can buy a good amount of my usual produce for the week. and they have pickles, which is always a delight.

    looking forward to hearing about this food contest… hmmm.

  • Sarah @ Sarah's Shaping Up
    August 22, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    LOVE the photos! and the farmer’s market looks incredible.

  • Janna (janna's keeping it real)
    August 22, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    I have a small farmers market in my town, and larger markets just one town over in either direction! I absolutely adore a weekend morning spent at farmers market!

  • Jaya
    August 22, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    We have a pretty phenomenal bunch of local markets here in Southern Alberta and right now, just about everything is in season…a very brief window in Canada! I must have 30 albums in iPhoto from these past 2 summers alone! One of my mentors (a sociologist) is a coffee aficionado and in addition to writing about theories on criminality, he is a local authority on Intelligentsia Coffee and the third wave coffee movement in general. Although I’m not a huge coffee drinker, I am absolutely consumed with coffee culture (as an extension of my consumption – pardon the pun – with food culture). I love photos of gorgeous latte art, so thanks for that! Beautiful photos as well πŸ™‚

  • Jill
    August 22, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    Okay, here is the thing. Every time I attempt to get BB coffee the line is way long. I can’t justify waiting FOREVER. Yet, I long for that coffee. Is it worth the wait?

  • Heather
    August 22, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    With the heat in the desert right now the farmers markets are scarce, but once we start cooling down a bit they’ll open up again. I can’t wait!

    Those tomatoes looke beautiful!

  • Lida
    August 22, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    The difference between Hipster coffee (like Intelligentsia or Stumptown) and Starbucks? Is it even possible to compare them?
    Just spent the weekend at the Madison farmer’s market… amazing, but I’d love to see some California markets.

    • Becky
      August 23, 2010 at 6:30 am

      I love Madison’s Farmer’s Market. I recently moved away and it’s one of the top things I miss!

  • AnneW
    August 22, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    My boyfriend just ordered Blue Bottle’s “New Orleans’s Iced Coffee” and it’s the BOMB!
    Also, as far as farmer’s markets go… San Luis Obispo is amazing! It’s full of amazing organic produce, fresh seafood, and crazy-delicious ready-to-eat food from the Central Valley, wine country, and the Pacific!

  • Lauri (
    August 22, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    We just moved from Columbia, SC to Moncks Corner, SC and the thing I miss the MOST is the local markets in Cola!! I LOVED the farmers and the relationships I had built with them!!! Haven’t found a market around here that I like yet, but I’m still looking!! I went to the Charleston market last weekend and was pretty disappointed–> One of the ONLY vendors advertising to be organic stated that they did NOT follow organic practices when I inquired about it!! So I left, empty handed! Love your pics and I do agree that a good market is worth the ‘hassle’!

  • Sana
    August 22, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    I know it’s awful but I never have any cash on me πŸ™ So I usually just look around!

  • hippierunner
    August 22, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    I’m lucky to have a farmer’s market literally a block away from home. It does leave a little to be desired though, so I try to hit the bigger city ones on weekends!

  • Shannon, Tropical Eats
    August 22, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    now i want coffee. and its 12:40am!

  • Dorry
    August 22, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    Dallas has a fabulous farmers market! I try to go once a week. Great local produce and other food products from local vendors.

  • Kristina
    August 22, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    When I moved to CA from Seattle, I was so surprised to find year-round farmers’ markets! It was a total treat. Now, it’s one of the reasons that I will never move, despite all the other drawbacks.
    If you ever come to the LA area, there is some amazing coffee to be found at Intelligentsia.

  • Kristina
    August 22, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    When I moved to CA from Seattle, I was so surprised to find year-round farmers’ markets! It was a total treat. Now, it’s one of the reasons that I will never move, despite all the other drawbacks.
    If you ever come to the LA area, there is some amazing coffee to be found at Intelligentsia. Good stuff. Worth every penny.

  • Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run]
    August 22, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    I loveee farmers’ markets. I grew up going to our town’s Saturday market every week with my mom. Now, in college I go to the local market here — love. I took a few pictures there yesterday, but felt a bit self-conscious taking photos of peppers and honey. Do you feel that way at all? Any wise words for the seasoned expert???

  • Katherine
    August 22, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    Love a good farmers market too! So Cal is lousy with them. I go once a week. I like the Saturday Santa Monica organic fm and today I went to the Brentwood FM which was also pretty awesome.

  • Kathryn
    August 22, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    I shop the hispanic fruit/veggie market on Hillsborough in Tampa. I take $10 with me and get all the fruit and veggies I need for the week. Love it.

  • Steph
    August 22, 2010 at 11:43 pm

    I love Farmer’s Markets! But I don’t shop at them anymore, because I became a part of a CSA and get the same amazing produce from local farmers!
    Don’t hate on the “hipster” coffee. Embrace the non-burnt taste.. and if people have to put down coffee as hipster because it tastes good.. they’re missing out πŸ˜‰
    I am dying to try Blue Bottle.. we have a LA Mill and Intelligentsia here in L.A. and it’s pretty amazing. Im curious to see how it holds up to our stuff!

  • Laura (Starloz)
    August 22, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    I need to find my nearest farmers market. STAT!

  • Allie (Live Laugh Eat)
    August 22, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    I remember the Farmer’s Market in Charleston when I visited last summer. ‘Twas solid!

    The lady in the 3rd photo kinda looks like Tina from CNC…dontcha think??

  • Nora@LifeLifeEatRight
    August 22, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    I go to the Market every Saturday! There is nothing better in the world than waking up at 6am to brave the crowds and traffic to get the freshest local produce. I always find fun new things to try. My favorite part is bringing home unexpected finds and making the most delicious lunches/dinners with creative new products! This place looks like a dream to me!

  • caroline
    August 23, 2010 at 12:36 am

    Ahh one of the many reasons I love living in San Francisco! Beautiful photos πŸ™‚

  • Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down)
    August 23, 2010 at 3:01 am

    I’ve never had Blue Bottle coffee! But if they can make pretty designs like that, I’m sold. :mrgreen:

  • Tina
    August 23, 2010 at 3:28 am

    We have two new ones in our area. There weren’t any really closeby before but now more are starting to pop up which excites me.

  • Lauren at KeepItSweet
    August 23, 2010 at 3:45 am

    love the ferry building and the farmer’s market they have there, one of my favorite things about san fran!

  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is
    August 23, 2010 at 3:48 am

    So jealous of your figs.

  • Stacey
    August 23, 2010 at 3:58 am

    I love farmers markets and I can imagine in California that you have the best one’s. That coffee looks so pretty.

  • A Teenage Gourmet (Sami)
    August 23, 2010 at 4:20 am

    What kind of bread!? πŸ™‚

  • Liza (Health Nutting)
    August 23, 2010 at 4:25 am

    That Farmer’s Market looks incredible!
    You take such gorgeous pictures!

  • Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble)
    August 23, 2010 at 5:01 am

    Looks AMAZING. Love markets!!


  • Rosey Rebecca
    August 23, 2010 at 5:04 am

    I LOVE your new header. I’m a little behind on blog reading so I’m just seeing it now. It’s perfect for you!

    I also love farmers’ markets. Especially really big ones! That one looks awesome! I try to go to the market as much as possible. I love the community and all of the samples. πŸ™‚

  • Brooke - One Healthy Cookie
    August 23, 2010 at 5:06 am

    I think I need some hipster coffee in my life, stat.

  • OK Chick
    August 23, 2010 at 5:12 am

    Last summer I visited SF, and walked through that Farmer’s Market. I was in heaven. It made me sad that OK does not have a Farmer’s Market with such variety. You are very lucky.

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman
    August 23, 2010 at 5:14 am

    This is why I envy Californians. We have a great farmers market, but only for half of the year. I would love to be able to shop ours year-round. Darn that snow!

  • Heather
    August 23, 2010 at 5:45 am

    we have a great farmer’s market in boulder, and i love shopping there, but i don’t do it as often as i’d like. yours looks amazing!

  • nicole
    August 23, 2010 at 6:10 am

    I WISH I lived in farmer’s market heaven. Seems amazing!

  • eatmovelove
    August 23, 2010 at 6:18 am

    No Farmer’s Market here. Not much of anything.
    Joey Chestnut is HOT!
    …and, hipster coffee is where it’s at.

  • Jess
    August 23, 2010 at 6:25 am

    You are so lucky!! I can’t find figs at any farmer’s markets in Northern NJ :o( Your pictures are awesome, and so is Blue Bottle Coffee! Next time you are in San Fran you should try Four Barrel Roasters that’s my favorite there! Also Ritual Roasters is good!

  • Marisa
    August 23, 2010 at 6:49 am

    Beautiful pics! I live in Madison, WI and our Farmers Market is pretty great! I tend to hit the smaller one on Wed more often since I work off the square, but I head to the big Sat market monthly.

  • Valerie
    August 23, 2010 at 6:50 am

    There’s an awesome farmer’s market in my town. I try to go every Saturday morning and stock up on fresh produce. It’s one of my favorite things to do on the weekend! πŸ™‚

  • Amanda
    August 23, 2010 at 6:52 am

    We have a small farmers market that is amazingly cheap as well as having some great quality food!

  • Samantha @ Food Edu
    August 23, 2010 at 6:56 am

    Great pictures Jenna! I love farmers markets! When I went to college in San Luis Obispo, going to the farmer’s market was a regular thing. These days I don’t frequent them much anymore because I have a CSA. I bet the one in SF is amazing though =)

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape
    August 23, 2010 at 6:57 am

    I totally agree with you on “hipster coffee”. Starbucks is still good and all but coffee from an actual coffee shoppe always tastes better. There is this place by me called the Bourgeois Pig (I know, weird name) and they have the most amazing cappucinos. I would go there over Starbucks any day!

  • Rachel Wilkerson
    August 23, 2010 at 6:58 am

    I’ve been spending my weekends finding Houston’s farmers markets. Two weeks ago, I found a GREAT one. This past weekend, I went through hell and high water to go to the second one…and it was AWFUL. Such a disappointment, only a few stands…I’ll stick to the first one from now on!

  • R @ Learning As I Chop
    August 23, 2010 at 7:02 am

    “There’s really not much I love more in life than a solid farmer’s market.”


  • Kristin
    August 23, 2010 at 7:10 am

    I’m from Detroit, which also has a year-round farmer’s market on Saturdays (and a small summer one a few blocks from me!). Still, there’s something about the Ferry market that just sings to you. I’ve made sure to visit all three times I’ve been to SF. My favorite part is Mariposa Bakery’s kiosk — gluten-free treats! — but before I was diagnosed I LOOOOOVVVED Miette’s macaroons. If you haven’t tried them you MUST next time you visit.

  • Tracy
    August 23, 2010 at 7:22 am

    Seriously, try arriving by one of the Bay ferries. No traffic, no parking hassle… just step right off, into the market πŸ™‚

  • MaryK.
    August 23, 2010 at 7:28 am

    I LOVED the farmers market they had right by my house in San Diego! Tons of fresh flowers, fish, salsa, herbs, and the list goes on! I miss them now that I live in Iowa. πŸ™ We do have a lot of fresh sweet corn here though! πŸ™‚

  • Erin
    August 23, 2010 at 7:33 am

    Next time you go to the Ferry bldg market check to see if Dirty Girl Produce is around. I *love* them (and not just because of the name) but also b/c of the strawberries.

  • Nancy @ The Wife of a Dairyman
    August 23, 2010 at 7:40 am

    What in the world was Joey shoveling down his throat at this competition! I guess I’ll just have to wait…..

  • Krystina
    August 23, 2010 at 7:40 am

    $2.99/lb heirloom tomatoes? I’m jealous.

  • Rachel (Two Healthy Plates)
    August 23, 2010 at 7:43 am

    What beautiful photos from the market – there is always so much great stuff to see there !

    I love farmers market season – we have several around town and they are coordinated so that there is always at least one open each day of the week. The big ones are only on the weekend though!

  • Annie@stronghealthyfit
    August 23, 2010 at 7:43 am

    I’m going to a Farmer’s Market today! I try to go as much as possible in the summer, bc nothing grows in NH during the winter πŸ™‚

  • Lizzie
    August 23, 2010 at 7:48 am

    During the summer there are farmer’s markets on at different locations around the city that are easy to get to on public transport. I usually hit up the Monday one down the street from me after work (they have this woman selling THE most incredible homemade pastas and raviolis – yum!!) and grab veggies for the week there. It can be more $$ but we notice a definite taste difference. Plus everyone is so nice so it makes it fun! I love the colour in your photos!!

  • Bonnie
    August 23, 2010 at 7:58 am

    My favorite farmer’s market is actually the same as yours – located right there on the Embarcadero in San Francisco. πŸ™‚ I’m originally from just outside the city but married a Calgarian and now find myself north of the border, so seeing those pictures you posted brought back GREAT memories of us as a family wandering into the city in the morning to get coffee (although we’re Peet’s Coffee fans!), a little pastry nibble, and browsing of the market before heading to hike around the Marin Headlands. Thanks for the post – it brought many smiles to my face and good thoughts to my mind. πŸ™‚

  • sarah k. @ the pajama chef
    August 23, 2010 at 8:04 am

    i love farmers markets! ours is pretty great, but it’s not big enough to sell a lot of ready to eat food & drinks there. they do have great bread and produce which is the whole reason for it, right? πŸ™‚

  • Jil @ Peace, Love & Munchies
    August 23, 2010 at 8:17 am

    We do have farmer’s markets but they pale in comparison to the ones that surround you, and aren’t even in the same league as the Ferry Building! Gorgeous photos!!

  • Kayla @ Let's Live Wholesome
    August 23, 2010 at 8:23 am

    Is it weird that I imagined swimming through those seas of peppers? How glorious. If, and when, I come to Cali some day, Blue Bottle Coffee is my #1 stop.

  • Camille
    August 23, 2010 at 8:30 am

    The entire year I lived in SF, I never went to the Ferry Bldg Farmer’s Market! I missed out on a lot!

  • Deva (Voracious Vorilee)
    August 23, 2010 at 8:42 am

    I grew up in Southeast Ohio, and the farmer’s market I grew up by has grown so much since I was a kid – from produce and flowers, to coffees, salsa, fresh pastries and bread. Heaven!

    And I love the hipster coffee, too. I have since I was 16 πŸ™‚

  • Jenn
    August 23, 2010 at 8:53 am

    We have some great farmers markets here in Fort Wayne, IN. They usually have the best homemade Amish breads:) And, I tasted some Amish peanut butter last week from a squeeze bottle…tasted like fudge!!!

  • Amber K
    August 23, 2010 at 9:05 am

    I do, but it’s very small. Not exactly a good selection. But I don’t ever want to spend the time and money to travel to the huge ones in Portland (OR).

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin
    August 23, 2010 at 9:08 am

    I go to our local farmer’s market once or twice a week, but it is nothing like that one!

  • Shelley (Pink House)
    August 23, 2010 at 9:13 am

    Oh, so jealous! Our Farmers Markets in Montana just don’t have the produce like that!

  • Stacey (The Habit of Healthy)
    August 23, 2010 at 9:26 am

    I can see why you love that market. It looks amazing!

  • Andrea
    August 23, 2010 at 9:45 am

    I swear, there is no better place to take photos than a farmers market. The subject matter is like non-other…there’s just something about nature! And that coffee looks fab. Makes my Sheetz coffee cup look like crap!

  • Elli @ 16 and Losing It
    August 23, 2010 at 9:56 am

    ugh HEAVEN! There are a few small farmers markets in my area but nothing as amazing and beautiful as that! I’m so jealous of you right now! That coffee looks pretty awesome too!

  • Jackie
    August 23, 2010 at 9:56 am

    I’ve never had a fig. Ever. Fig chutney, yes. Regular fig, no.

  • Jasmine @ Eat Move Write
    August 23, 2010 at 10:07 am

    That coffee looks like a work of art! Beautiful.

    I’ve yet to shop at my local farmer’s markets. They are eternally on days I can’t go, but I really want to. I’m thinking of joining a CSA instead.

  • Nicole
    August 23, 2010 at 10:23 am

    We have some amaaaaazing Farmers Markets down here in Tucson, AZ. I go every week and buy most of my groceries there. Tomatoes and squash are incredible right now but I cannot wait for the leafy greens to start making an appearance. There is something special about connecting with the Farmers that picked their produce hours before. It is important to understand where our food comes from.

  • Sarah for Real
    August 23, 2010 at 10:31 am

    I love shopping at my farmer’s market! Took a little practice but I’m good at it now.

    And I have to say, I’m so glad it’s not a pricey as the California ones! I mean, I understand the cost of living thing… I guess I’m just thankful it’s lower up here in Washington.

  • Mastering Public Health (@MasPublicHealth)
    August 23, 2010 at 10:39 am

    Visiting the San Francisco Ferry Building was one of the highlights of my trip there. Frog Hollow Farm makes AWESOME organic fruit preserves (among other goodies) and I bought 3 to bring home. You absolutely must try the Naval Orange Marmalade and Meyer Lemon Marmalade… they’re unlike anything I’ve ever tasted. So glad I ran back to buy them before the ferry came — and even happier that they ship ( to save a 3,000-mile trip. πŸ™‚

  • maria
    August 23, 2010 at 10:54 am

    i live about a 10 min walk from the ferry building farmers market! i love finishing long runs there and then eating samples from everywhere when i cool down, and taking visitors there to marvel. to buy my produce tho, i just discovered the fillmore farmers market and im smitten. its a bit cheaper and i think i am becoming friends with the vendors. perfect!

  • Vicky @ eat live spin
    August 23, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Every Saturday I go to the Union Square Green Market in NYC. I try and buy all my produce from them and not the supermarket.

  • Lauren @ Running Examiner
    August 23, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Nothing wrong with the hipster coffee trap πŸ˜‰ I fell into it some time ago, too.

  • Lauren @ 40Apples
    August 23, 2010 at 11:53 am

    The Ferry Building Farmer’s Market is truly the .BEST. farmer’s market I have every been to. And I’ve been to a lot. It even beats Portland OR, aka America’s Eden, in size and scope.
    Despite the comparable shortcomings of NYC’s produce, I still try to go to the Union Square Greenmarket every weekend. Quite obsessed in fact.

  • Melissa
    August 23, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    I totally agree that European coffee is THE best! And I love the tiny little cups πŸ™‚

  • Jaime
    August 23, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    Those figs!! Amazing πŸ™‚ I shop at a farmers’ market every weekend but we don’t get figs like those! Yum!

  • AshleyH
    August 23, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    I live by an awesome farmer’s market and I make a point to going every week. When I miss it, it takes a huge toll on my meals for that week. Every thing is phenomenal! I especially love the fresh garlic and rosemary sourdough and multigrain breads. Yum!

  • Michelle @ Turning Over a New Leaf
    August 23, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Those figs look AMAZING!

    I love hipster coffee. We have an amazing coffeehouse here in Plainview, and everyone I’ve talked to love the coffee there much more than the coffee at Starbucks.

  • Cat
    August 23, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    If hipster coffee is wrong, then I don’t want to be right. Seriously! I live a stones throw from the Blue Bottle kiosk in Hayes Valley, which makes me spoiled enough as it is, but it was closed today due to construction/paving on the alley and I nearly threw a 3-year old style tantrum. It is that good.

  • Erica
    August 23, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    Did you know I’ve never been to a Farmer’s Market?! Never. It it on my to-do list, though! Maybe in STL this weekend…I hear they have a bangin’ one there!!

  • sherri
    August 28, 2010 at 10:15 am

    just got back from a week in sf. loved the farmer’s market and all the foodie shops in the ferry building. blue bottle coffee was my fav, too! for the daddy of all farmer’s markets, you and almanzo need to go to the pike place market in seattle.