|Wolfram web log 2003 San Fransico Farmer Markets||| Search|
I admit that some real farmers go to Embarcadero and there are also a hefty representative of other resellers, crafts people and non-farmers there too. The major difference, it seams to me, is that the prices at the Embarcadero are higher then at Rainbow or Wholefoods -- it's one of the most expensive places to buy fruit in San Francisco.
Last August, most peaches were selling for $3 - $3.50 a pound at the Embarcadero, $3 - $2.50 at Rainbow, and $1 - $.75 at the REAL farmers market. Buyer beware. Seriously, TwinFarms was selling organic peaches at Embarcadero for $3/pound and the same TwinFarms fruit was going for $1.50/pound near Silver Avenue. I asked the TwinFarms vendor at Silver avenue about the price difference and he said it's because they charge over $1000 more for a booth at the Embarcadero. Someone has to pay that $1000 and it's the people who buy the peaches.
Traditionally, the location near Silver Avenue is were farmers went to sell produce to all the little grocery stores in San Francisco. Since most corner stores no longer sell fruit, the focus has changed over the years. However, more farmers are still in the habit of selling bulk at Alemany and some of them are intimidated by paying $1000 more to try boutique selling elsewhere.
The traditional farmer's market off Alemany Street is more like other markets I've been to in foreign countries. Trade is going on, bargaining even, and there is far less pretence. English is not the only language spoken in Alemany market and it feels more real to me.
I guess the real reason I dislike the Embarcadero -- I'll admit it. Embarcadero Farmers Market is unsettling to me because it's slightly Stepford and almost exclusively white. Perhaps there are a few dark hair white people but mostly blondish, very light looking white people. It seams to be more like a trendy mall then a real farmers market. I feel like an alien there sometimes, like an imposter who doesn't fit in. It doesn't feel very real to me.
Three things you get at the traditional farmers market that can't get at the Embarcadero (Besides cheap fruit):