In a food-crazed city like San Francisco, you shouldn’t be surprised to see several farmers markets. After all, it’s one of the first and most important farm-to-table regions in the U.S. What’s more, spotting a celebrity chef or farmer amongst the crowds are as commonplace as the ordinary consumer. So where other top spots for fresh produce, meats and dairy products? Take a closer look to see the five best in San Francisco.
Alemany Farmers’ Market
100 Alemany Blvd.
San Francisco, CA 94110
Hours: Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Often referred to as the “people’s market” Alemany Farmers’ Market was the first of its kind in California. In fact, this historic market dates back to August 12, 1943. However, it has been at its current location in Bernal Heights since 1947. Alemany is open every Saturday starting at 6 a.m. rain or shine. What’s more, it has arguably the best prices amongst all Bay Area markets. On a typical Saturday, you will see about 100 vendors on hand. Of course, if get hungry while shopping, you can purchase great food from the many food trucks.
The Grandaddy of California Farmer’s Markets
Despite its legendary status as the “granddaddy of California farmers’ markets) and widespread popularity, getting to the market can be a challenge. That’s because its location near Highways 280 and 101 might be tricky to find. What’a more, parking can get scarce by mid-morning or sometimes even earlier. Nevertheless, the parking lot is quite large and there is no fee to park. That in itself, is a blessing in pricey San Francisco. The closest BART station is at Glen Park about 1.5 miles away and may require a connection on Muni bus No. 23. You can also take a Muni trolley, then transfer to No. 23.
Related: Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Farms
Ferry Plaza Farmers Market
One Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111
Hours: Saturdays from 8 a.m.to 2 p.m., Tuesdays/Thursdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Due to its prime location and access to public transportation, Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market is the most visited in the Bay Area. Managed by CUESA, it’s often considered among the country’s best. Moreover, it is well-known for hosting top San Francisco farmers. If that’s not enough, it also attracts many leading chefs who come to purchase the freshest organic produce possible.
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Weekends At Ferry Plaza
The Market is open on Saturdays,Tuesdays and Thursdays rain or shine. Of course, the busiest day is on Saturdays drawing the best San Francisco farmers and visitors. Also on hand on Saturdays are free educational demos and ongoing special events. Located along the Embarcadero, the Ferry Building is easily accessible by bike or ride share. In addition, there is a Muni trolley stop right in front of the historic building. Equally impressive is that a BART station is just a few minutes walk away.
Fort Mason Center Farmers’ Market
2 Marina Blvd.
San Francisco, CA 94123
Hours: Sundays 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Although quite small in comparison to the larger local farmers’ markets, the Fort Mason Center Farmers’ Market makes up for its size with superb fresh organic produce and exceptional views of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. Hosted by the Golden Gate National Park Service and presented by the California Farmers’ Market Association, the Fort Mason market is open every Sunday rain or shine, with over 35 farmers and vendors,
Fort Mason Parking
Parking at Fort Mason isn’t generally an issue although it does require a fee starting at $3 for the first hour and $6 between one and two hours. Additional parking may be found near Ghirardelli Square a short walk away and Muni bus lines 28, 30, 30X, 43, 47 and 49 all serve Fort Mason Center. What also may be of interest to visitors to Fort Mason Center on Friday evenings is Off the Grid, an enormous mobile food gathering featuring some of San Francisco’s best mobile gourmet food vendors.
Heart Of The City Farmers’ Market
United Nations Place
San Francisco, CA 94102
Hours: Sundays from 7 a.m.to 5 p.m., Wednesdays from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Located at the United Nations Plaza near City Hall, the Heart of the City Farmers’ is the only independent, farmer-operated non-profit farmers’ market in San Francisco. First opened in 1981, the Heart of the City Farmers’ Market has a mission to support and small farmers and make fresh food available to low-income customers who might not be able to afford adequate nutrition in the City.
How To Purchase Goods At Heart Of The City
Heart of the City features a few dozen vendors who accept cash, credit cards and market tokens which may be purchased at the information tent. Additionally, the market accepts alternate forms of currency from food assistance programs like WIC, EBT, and EatSF. With its location very close to Market Street, United Nations Plaza is easily accessible by BART at the Civic Center station and with San Francisco Muni.
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Stonestown Farmers’ Market
3521 20th Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94132
Hours: Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Known as the “best family oriented” farmers’ market in San Francisco, Stonestown Farmers’ Market has been serving the west side of the city for nearly 10 years. Situated on one of the outlying parking lots of the Stonestown Galleria shopping mall near 19th Street/Highway 1, this lively farmers’ market is managed by the Agricultural Institute of Marin (AIM), which operates six other certified farmers’ markets in the Bay Area and represents more than 300 family farmers, specialty food purveyors and local artisans.
Vendors At Stonestown Farmers’ Market
Also not far from San Francisco State University, Stonestown farmers’ market typically has about 65 vendors on hand to sell fresh organic produce, baked goods, ethnic treats and other great food items. Free onsite parking is quite plentiful and Muni’s M line has a light rail stop in front of Stonestown Galleria on 19th Street/Highway 1.
Related: Ways To Support Local Small Business
About The Author
Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer who served as the National Travel Writer for CBS Local from 2012-2019. More than 900 of his stories still appear in syndication across 23 CBS websites, including CBS New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. During his peak years with CBS, Randy had a reported digital audience reach of 489 million and 5.5 million monthly visitors. Additionally, his stories have appeared in the Daily Meal, CBS News, CBS Radio, Engadget and Radio.com.