On a sunny Tuesday around lunchtime, the Yerba Buena Lane Farmers’ Market is a bustling place for people who live and work in the district to buy fresh food that’s locally-grown and sold, in many cases, by the same people who grow it or prepare it. With a wonderful selection of fresh produce, nuts, pies, and prepared foods like hummus, this “pocket market” is a popular spot every Tuesday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Market Street between Third and Fourth streets. The market is one of many neighborhood programs that got its start from a community grant from the Yerba Buena Community Benefit District (YBCBD).
Kurtis Wu is the founder and executive director of Urban Table Farmers’ Markets, a nonprofit that establishes certified farmer’s markets in the Bay Area like the one at Yerba Buena Lane. “Our mission is to support a sustainable food system by bringing local, seasonal and sustainably raised foods from small regional farmers to people living in the city,” said Wu. “We believe that by making farmer’s markets more accessible, we can connect rural farmers to urban communities.”
Several years ago, Wu saw a need for more farmers markets in the Bay Area, so he started looking for prime locations. He believes that famers markets fill a need in the marketplace where people believe in locally sourced and healthy food.
“We currently have three thriving markets and one food truck pod,” said Wu. “These markets bring people together for a good cause and we work with local government, business owners, churches and farmers to create markets that fit their respective communities. The market at Yerba Buena Lane is a perfect example, because it has become more than a market. It’s also a place where people can interact and share their passion for good, healthy food.”
Wu’s job is not an easy one. Running farmers markets involves balancing budgets, scheduling and managing the markets themselves, while establishing and maintaining relations with clients and customers.
Edgar Juarez and Daniel Silvia travel to San Francisco from their 56-acre farm in Salinas every Tuesday to sell a wide range of fruits and vegetables grown by Rio de Parras Organics. Juarez enjoys interacting with market goers as much as growing organic food. “Customers like the convenience and since they’re usually coming here during their lunch hour or a break, they’re in a good mood. I think they enjoy the options we offer and appreciate the fact that we grow these items ourselves. Our top three sellers are strawberries, carrots and tomatoes, when they’re in season.”
Joseph Fiori sells flavored pistachios, almonds and walnuts for Winters Fruit Tree, a nut farm in Winters. “We’ve established a connection here with these people and they seem to come back every week,” said Fiori. “Some folks are surprised to find a farmer’s market right smack in the middle of downtown, but once they discover it, they keep coming back!”
Try the Farmers’ Market next time you’re looking for tasty, local and organic vegetables, fruits and other prepared food. It’s a delicious alternative to processed food that has people flocking to Yerba Buena Lane every Tuesday.
By: Edmund Attanasio