We definitely have become fans of the Grand Lake Farmer Market. We’ve known it existed but we’ve never gone there until we moved to North Oakland. Upon the recommendation of our server at B, we decided to go the week after we moved into our house. It was a blast. The vendors are almost uniformly friendly (almost) and the produce is high quality. It’s a big crowd that goes there and one that is stereotypically Northern California – young white folks with dreadlocks, aging hippies, yuppies and their families, etc.
This market isn’t anywhere near a BART station. Although being at the intersection of Lakeshore Ave. and the 580 freeway it’s fairly convenient to drive. T he big challenge is to find parking. It’s a popular farmers market so parking can be challenging. One thing that adds to the convenience is having Trader Joe’s right down the street. It means you can really get all of your grocery shopping done in one fell swoop.
Vibe – 4
It’s a fun friendly scene here. Very similar to Berkeley Farmers Market but without be aggressively progressive. It attracts the usual Bay Area crowd. The lay is great because it is concentrated into one area and you don’t have to cross streets to see the whole market. I’d give the vibe a 5 but there are a few vendors who just aren’t that friendly. Also the sheer number of people makes it hard for vendors to chat (although that doesn’t stop the vendors in Berkeley or the Ferry Plaza.
Produce – 4
The variety of products is pretty standard. What is great is the sheer size of the market. You can really do comparison shopping to see whose produce you like the best. Of course it helps that we’re shopping in the middle of summer where there is a profusion of fruits and vegetables. I particularly like the variety of nut vendors.
Prepared Foods –4
There is a great variety of prepared foods. There’s the roast chicken people, the Belgian waffle people, Indian Food, Afghan Food you name it. What I do particularly like is that Cowgirl Creamery has an outpost at Grand Lake. I love their panir and use it to make some awesome ravioli.
Great selection of flowers. I’d rank it right up there with Old Oakland for flowers. One good thing is that there is a vendor that sells cut orchids. For those of us who have a habit of killing orchid plants having a bouquet of cut orchids is a nice treat.
Total: 19 out of 25