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Best Of : San Francisco's Farmers' Markets

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Best Of : San Francisco's Farmers' Markets

Hey everyone, Amber here! I’ve been wanting to do a review like this for such a long time and now it is finally happening. As with most millennials, I love myself a good farmers market. What’s not to love really? They’re fun, relatively inexpensive, and by shopping at them, you’re supporting your local community. So I bring to you a review of three farmer’s markets ranging in size, price, and overall experience so hopefully, you’ll end up loving them as much as I do!

I’ve arranged the reviews in order of the size of the farmers market, ranging from small to large for everyone’s convenience. Enjoy!


NOE VALLEY

Photo & Lettering : Coach Amber

Photo & Lettering : Coach Amber

Oh Noe Valley. I love this place. It’s warm here, there are babies and dogs running everywhere, and did I mention it’s warm?!

The farmers market here is located on 24th Street in between Sanchez and Vicksburg across the street from Martha & Brothers Coffee. It is held every Saturday from 8am - 1pm.

The best way to describe the vibe that this farmers market has is familial and intimate. There are a lot of families in Noe Valley, and as you would expect, many of the people at the farmers market with me were families with children. There is a play structure for kids and also live music, which I really enjoyed. Seating is also available, so you can enjoy your tasty treats immediately after purchase!

Now let’s break things down a little bit more. This market has 9 farm vendors putting it in the smaller category, which I would mark as both a pro and a con. On the one hand, it could be seen as a good thing because it’s less overwhelming and you can get in and out relatively quickly. On the other hand, fewer vendors means less variety and price flexibility. For me, this is what I struggled with the most: not having the flexibility to price match with other vendors.

Photo Credit : Coach Amber

Photo Credit : Coach Amber

As with most farmer’s markets, produce isn’t the only thing sold there. There are about 6 food vendors, varying from juice all the way to bread and honey. With such limited supply of vendors, customers are extremely loyal and know the value of the product in hand. Therefore, this market can be seen as a little more pricey than most others. Typically people spend anywhere from 15-30 minutes here. To summarize, great weather, higher in price, and good for families.


STONESTOWN

Photo & Lettering : Coach Amber

Photo & Lettering : Coach Amber

Stonestown Farmers' Market is located in the fog bank in the Lake Merced district of the city. It's held year-round behind the Stonestown Galleria directly next to the UA Theatre every Sunday from 9-1pm.

This market sucks you in just a little bit more. There are 65 vendors at this location, ranging from produce to fresh eggs. With the dramatic increase in vendors from the previous location, you spend a little more time walking around to find the best deal. This gives you more wiggle room to get the biggest bang for your buck. This market is also one well-suited for SF families - there is always live music and games laid out for kids to play with while parents shop.

Check out P4L's official tote bag; it's great for groceries and shopping!

Check out P4L's official tote bag; it's great for groceries and shopping!

Perhaps the biggest pro of this market is the parking situation. There is tons of parking all around the market, so you’re guaranteed to find a spot pretty easily. The food vendors here are great as well. My go-to favorite has to be the freshly made dumplings - they’re pretty cheap, filling, and delicious. And you know that if there’s always a line, it’s got to be great.

If you’re looking to really get your money’s worth for great quality produce, come visit this location on Sundays! You won’t regret it!

FERRY PLAZA FARMERS MARKET

Photo & Lettering : Coach Amber

Photo & Lettering : Coach Amber

Alas, we’ve come to the end. The grand finale. I chose to review this market because unlike the rest, it’s the one I found myself spending the most time at, and quite easily too.

This market is located at the Ferry Building on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am-2pm, and Saturdays from 8am-2pm. With more than 100 vendors encompassing the Ferry Building, this is a great way to end this review.

Photo Credit : Amanda Lynn Photography

Photo Credit : Amanda Lynn Photography

Now, the weekday version of this market is not as big as Saturday’s show, but it still exudes the essence of the big one. Sprinkled with an array of food to farmed goods, it's important to try and stay focused as you walk the grounds of the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. Since this location is so big, it’s very easy to get sidetracked and lose focus of what you came for.

Photo Credit : Amanda Lynn Photography

Photo Credit : Amanda Lynn Photography

My suggestion is to take an initial lap around the market to see if anything catches your eye, and then come back to buy things later - you might find a better deal on the other side.

Overall, if you and your family are looking to spend the day along the water with tourists, come to this market on Saturday. However, if you don’t want your shopping experience to be shared with tourists, Tuesday’s and Thursday’s markets are your best bet.


WHY SHOP LOCAL?

Shopping at farmers markets is a great thing to do because you really can taste the difference in the quality of the product. These farmers are passionate about growing quality produce and they want everyone to know their passion. Also, shopping locally supports small business owners and non-corporate farmers, and they’re the best, aren’t they?! Shopping locally can also reduce your carbon footprint: by buying locally, you eliminate the need for transporting goods over vast distances. The pollution produced in the process of transporting produce can be significant, so buying local is also good for Mother Earth!

Check out CUESA's seasonality charts to see what is in season. The less your food has to travel, the fresher it is!

Also, don’t forget to bring your reusable bags! Happy shopping!



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Grocery Shopping With Coach Amber!

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Grocery Shopping With Coach Amber!

Do you find yourself eating take out more often than you would like? Or do you find yourself never having food in the fridge?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, keep reading!

With everyone’s busy schedules, it's hard to make time to make a home-cooked meal. Most of people don’t even cook on a daily basis, which is something I struggle with as well. It’s much easier and more time-efficient to go out and order food everyday, but the downside is that you don’t always know what goes into your food. The benefits of having home-cooked meals are significant: you are able to choose what you fuel your body with, you save money, and you get the satisfaction of being your own chef! Don’t know where to start?

Here are some tips:

1. Don’t go shopping hungry.

This is probably the last thing you want to do. When you are hungry, there is more of a chance that you will buy more food than you need and in turn, settle for more unhealthy foods.

2. Make a list!

Make a list and stick to it. This way, your grocery shopping time is cut down in half because you won’t be walking up and down aisles searching for the items that you want to get.

3. Avoid prime times!

AKA Weekdays after work 4pm-6pm

Sunday at ALL TIMES, unless you try to go when they first open.

4. Lastly, purchase simple food.

If you find yourself struggling to make a meal at home, don’t go and buy lavish ingredients that only serve one purpose. Purchase ingredients that can be used for multiple dishes that way nothing is going to waste.

Here’s an example of a week's worth of simple ingredients for easy-to-prepare meals at home. If you are cinched for time and really don’t have the time to go shopping on your own, you can try productivity apps and services such as Instacart, AmazonFresh, and CurbSpace that allow you to choose your groceries and have them available for pickup/delivery to save time! Listed below is a solid, go-to shopping list as well as a few recipes that can be easily made with those ingredients.

Sample grocery list: Eggs, milk, yogurt, berries, banana, onion, tomatoes, spinach, zucchini, mushrooms, chicken/other protein, grain (brown rice), avocado, garlic , tortilla (corn), black beans, lemon/lime

 

Here are some example recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

Breakfast

Veggie Omelette

Prep time: 5 minutes. Total cook time, 10 minutes. Serving size 1

Ingredients

2 eggs

2 Tbs chopped onion (yellow)

1 clove garlic minced

3 cherry tomatoes chopped

2 mushrooms chopped

Handful of spinach

¼ avocado

1 Tbs olive oil ( other cooking oil)

Salt and pepper to taste.
 

Directions:

Heat up pan to medium heat. Add olive oil. Chop up onion and garlic. Add to heated pan. Stir until soft and brown, about 2 minutes.  Keep stirring so that you don’t burn the garlic. Then add the tomatoes and mushrooms. Saute for 1 min. While you wait, crack the 2 eggs into a bowl and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Whip with fork so that the yolk and white come together. Add the handful of spinach into the pan and stir for about 30 seconds, or until wilted slightly. Finally add the eggs. Carefully stir the egg and veggie mixture until it starts to come together. Once cooked thoroughly on one side, flip over with spatula. Once flipped, then add ¼ of the avocado slices to one side of the omelette. After 1 minute or the other side of the omelette is cooked to your liking, fold in half and serve! Enjoy!

Quick Breakfast Smoothie 

Ingredients

½ cup yogurt

¼ cup berries (fresh or frozen)

Handful spinach

¼ cup milk (almond, soy, coconut)

Handful of ice

Directions:

Put everything in your blender of choice and blend until smooth.

Lunch/Dinner

Wannabe Chipotle Burrito Bowl

I love chipotle just as much as the next person, but with all of the controversy regarding the health of their restaurant I don’t want to take any chances. This would be a great recipe for date night in! Or to double up for a lunch and dinner!

Prep time: 10 minutes. Total cook time: 20 minutes. Serving size 2.

Ingredients

6 oz chicken, preferably tenders because they are easier to cook evenly ( fresh or frozen)

3 TBS onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic minced

4 mushrooms chopped

6 cherry tomatoes chopped

½ zucchini chopped in small squares

½ avocado

½ can of black beans, drained and rinsed

4 tortillas (corn or flour)

1 cup uncooked rice

Cayenne, paprika, cumin to taste.

Directions:

Chicken prep: Time to season!  Add 1-2 TBS of each seasoning: cayenne pepper, paprika, and cumin as well as salt and pepper to taste.

While your chicken is absorbing all of the good flavors. Start chopping up your veggies and put to the side as well as draining and rinsing your black beans.

Now you're ready to cook!

Start the rice next!

Add 1 cup of uncooked rice into a sauce pan. Turn on heat, then add 2 cups of warm water. Bring rice to a boil, then simmer (low heat) with lid until rice is cooked through and no more water is left in the pan. Check occasionally and stir.

Time for veggies!

Turn on pan to medium heat. Add 1 TBS olive oil. Then add the onion and garlic. Stir until brown and onions are translucent. Next add the tomatoes, mushrooms and zucchini. After 2 minutes, or veggies are soft but not mushy add black beans and stir. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Then remove from heat and place aside.

In separate pan, time to cook the chicken! Turn on pan to medium heat. Add 1 TBS olive oil. Then add seasoned chicken to pan. Cook on each side for about 3-4 minutes depending on the size of the tender. Once cooked through, remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes before you cut into bite sized pieces.

Time to assemble!

In a bowl, add ½ cup of cooked rice, ¼ cup of the veggie mixture, and ½ cup of the diced chicken. Top with sliced avocado. Feel free to enjoy with a tortilla, a squeeze of lime, or a dollop of plain greek yogurt for a healthier version of sour cream! Enjoy!

Now that you have some easy staple meals, there are no excuses! These recipes use up all the groceries I listed above, which saves you a ton of money and nothing goes to waste!

 

 

Learn more about Coach Amber here

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