Are you ready? I am not sure if you are. This is the last post about San Francisco. I may have saved the best for last. I am not totally sure this was the best part since I loved every bit of my trip, but I will say that this part of my trip BLEW MY MIND! I am serious. I went to the Heart of the City Farmers' Market and it was magical.
California farmers' markets are a whole different scene than Minnesota farmers' markets, which is an awesome thing in and of itself. Beyond that, it seemed like this particular market, on this particular day, was just exactly perfect for me. It started off with a booth that was selling something I had never seen nor heard of before, so I asked the seller what a JuJube was and what does he do? He gives me a sample of every type that he has and tells me a bunch of information about them. This is the very same seller who has a sign that says, "No Sample." It was that sort of day!
If you are also unfamiliar with a ju jube, I can tell you now that it is the fruit that becomes a date when it is ripened and dried. There are many varieties. Of the two I tasted, one of them was a bit snappy like an apple, while the other one was a bit softer and sort of foamy in texture.
|I don't remember what these bumpy veggies are!|
I have also never had a persimmon before. By the time they get shipped to MN, the quality is greatly reduced and the price is super high. I ate a bunch of these during my trip. Delicious!
There really wasn't much at the market that you weren't allowed, and sometimes encouraged, to taste! It was heavenly, I tell you! When you are invited to taste the food, I think it also encourages you to talk to the vendors. I found the sellers/vendors/farmers to be really friendly and happy to listen to me gush about their bounty.
Seeing as I was there in October, these berries were a gorgeous sight.
This booth made me wish I had the resources to do a lot of cooking on my trip. The variety and prices at this mushroom stand were mighty tempting!
All of this gorgeous produce of amazing quality that I was allowed to sample and perhaps buy at a low price on a beautiful morning at the start of my trip...yep, that was unbelievably awesome. And, guess what?! That wasn't even the whole story about how awesome this market was. My time at the market coincided with a group of school kids on a field trip to the market. They were chatting up and interviewing the market vendors about their goods. Swoon.
People were walking gorgeous bikes through the market.
There was even a fountain that was making rainbows for me! Are you tired of all of this gushing? Ok, let me give you a dose of gritty city:
I saw a sanitary worker hosing down the public restroom next to the market and the plaza where the market is held possesses a sordid past. Ok, now back to the lovely market.
It is too bad I am not a big fan of raisins, because many vendors that were selling grapes were also selling raisins.
The citrus at this particular stand was amazing. Again, I found myself coming across produce I didn't know existed. For example: pink lemons! They exist! I thought pink lemons were just something somebody made up to sell overly sweetened lemonade, kind of like razzleberry or something equally fictitious. Nope! They are real! They are gorgeous, too.
|dates on the stem|
I had a seriously hard time not buying bags and bags of produce. I was able to control myself by reminding myself that there were going to be plenty of other delicious food options all throughout the city.
I did buy some food and take it back to my hostel for lunch. I ate a salad with a mixture of greens (some of which were new to me), slices of avocado (a variety that has an edible peel), slices of tomato (that were dry-farmed to enhance their flavor) with pink lemon juice squeezed over it. I had a side of thompson grapes and a fresh beets and greens juice from a market vendor. The bagel was leftover from my free continental breakfast.
And, for a snack later, I ate a white pomegranate. Those aren't fictional either!
If you, too, want to have a magical experience at this market, be sure you hit up the market on a Wednesday. I went back on Friday and it wasn't magical at all.
So, there you have it! The non-chronological recap of my time in San Francisco. I most definitely enjoyed my time in the city on the bay and already have the desire to go back with Paul to explore the region around the city. Hooray for seeing and doing and eating new things. It fills my soul.