Monday, February 16, 2009

Hippies and Liberals at the Berkeley Farmers' Market

I don't go to the same farmers' market every week, although I go to some more than others (love the Ferry Plaza market and my Temescal neighborhood market is just so close). One that I don't get to too often is the Berkeley Farmers' Market, which has been around for many years and where Chez Panisse's Alice Waters would often shop at in the early years.

I'm surprised sometimes when I mention the market to friends and they're not familiar with when it is or where it is. So I was at the market a couple of weekends ago and decided to do a photo feature for those of you who may not have shopped at this urban farmers' market or may not have been there for awhile.

The market takes place every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on a one block stretch on Center Street between Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Milvia Streets. (It's just one block east of the Berkeley Downtown BART station.)

Not surprisingly, there are amazing fresh vegetables, and I was really amazed at these interesting colored carrots. They don't seem like heirloom carrots (which are different colors like purple or yellow) but sure were colorful.

I spotted these two large jars at the Fatted Calf booth. I almost took a second take thinking they were Chinese sausages, or lap cheong, that I blogged about recently. But of course, they weren't although they were similar in shape. They're actually mini sausages that they market as easy-to-eat snacks, almost like beef jerky. One is more sweet while the other is more peppery. I tried the sweet one (on the left), which cost $2.50 each and it was pretty good. Very easy to bite into (and lots of pockets of fat for those of you who like that in their salumi) but I wouldn't describe it as sweet, but definitely good.

This is a booth I haven't seen before. It's this guy who sells specialty coffee that's brewed in an unsual way. At his booth he had this beautiful display of this coffee pot.

But this is how he makes your cup of coffee with this special brewer with the big flames. I'm not a coffee drinker so I didn't order a cup, but it was sure fun to watch.

Amazingly beautiful color on these kabocha squash.

Of course, being at Berkeley there were recycling containers every where, which I think is great. I've been to some farmers' market where the trash can isn't very visible. So I like how the containers are easy to spot and the recycling clearly marked.

The Frog Hollow Farm display. I thought it was so interesting how the jars of spreads and chutney were displayed like an art exhibit.

OK, so I was just having some fun in my headline when I said there were hippies and liberals at the market (it's not like they wear their labels on their jackets in Berkeley, but you know they're there). But I did spot a lot of people carrying off these huge trays of wheat grass. They love their wheat grass in Berkeley.

Berkeley Farmers' Market, Center and Milvia Streets, downtown Berkeley, Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For list of vendors, click here.


Anonymous said...

Hey Chef Ben, I've never been to that farmer's market either, although I've driven past it many times... looks interesting, especially that coffee contraption!

Passionate Eater said...

I saw one of those coffee makers in Maryland, and I think the heat makes the water rise (or fall, I don't remember) into the other glass chamber. It looks like a science experiment with the huge exposed flame and strangely shaped glass things. But I heard the coffee is the BEST from those makers.