This is the big kahuna, the landmark, the farmer’s market by which all other farmer’s market’s will be judged. It does have an unfair advantage since it does have the ferry plaza retail shops as well. But let’s see how it matches up.
Blocks away from the Embarcadero BART station, the Ferry Plaza is an easy and convenient walk from both BART and MUNI. However, parking is a pain in the ass. You will have to drive around a lot to find a place and then realize that the meters only take coins. The pay lots are about four blocks away and will run you $10. It does help that the farmers market is on a Saturday where you don’t feel so rushed.
Vibe – 4
The crowd here is upscale and yuppie for sure. But you know, white people like stuff, particularly farmers markets. The ambiance is great though, people are friendly and strangers just chat each other up. You’ll get a fair mix of locals and tourists. The big plus is the actual ferry plaza where you can sit down and get breakfast as well as having a clean bathroom.
It’s hard to rival the sheer variety of the produce here. There’s a stall selling sheafs of wheat that they will grind on the premises! Because of the location and clientele, there are fewer Asian producers and fewer stalls selling Asian greens. There is a preponderance of dried fruit in the front.
Prepared Foods –5
The prepared food here rock. I’m not going to count the shops in the Ferry Plaza because that would be mean. But there are all kinds of prepared foods including roast chicken, sausages and hot dogs, and best of all, a breakfast vendor selling pancakes, waffles, hashbrowns and scrambled eggs. Surprisingly, there isn’t the ubiquitous crepe vendor. I will say that there is a bakery stall where the employees are brusque to the point of crankiness but that is a small anomaly in a sea of friendliness.
There aren’t that many flowers here, maybe two or three stalls. Most wildflower bouquets are in the $4 range, a dollar more than the ones in Old Oakland.
Total: 21 out of 25
This is where you take the out of towners to, and i mean that in a good way. The numbers of vendors is great. The quality of the produce is excellent. The facilities are excellent. And being right on the water just makes it feel like a vacation.