Ferry Building Farmers Market

The farmers market at the Ferry Building.

Alemany Farmers’ Market 

Best for:  Affordability, Diverse & Multi-Generational Vendors, Produce

Worst for:  Congestion, Crowds, Baked Goods

Produce reigns supreme at the Alemany Farmers’ Market, the City’s oldest and most storied market.  I rose at 7AM to meet the early morning vendors, only to find huge crowds already flooding the stalls.  The Alemany Market has the most affordable produce in town, and an endless supply of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and juices.  

One fruit vendor had driven for three hours to arrive in San Francisco just before the market opened. He proudly displayed his 9 varieties of fresh orange juice, which he shouted was “just the tip of the iceberg!”

Many of the vendors at the market have been setting up shop at Alemany for generations. They’re there rain or shine, and many had children and family working alongside them. The crowds are large and bustling, and most patrons have a game plan when they arrive.

Alemany is markedly cheaper and more pragmatic than the ones at the Ferry Building or Fort Mason. Seniors, couples, and young children make up the majority of shoppers, and the market is almost entirely focused on seasonal fruits, vegetables, nuts, and honey.

 

Ferry Building/Embarcadero Farmers Market

Best for:  Tourists, Sunshine, People Watching, Baked Goods

Worst for:  Expensive, Crowds

The Ferry Building Farmers’ Market was bustling with tourists, a lone Trump protester, and a charismatic vendor who sold me on the best almond chocolate sea salt bark known to humankind.

The market is smaller, more expensive than Alemany, with more prepared foods and baked goods. It’s clearly geared for a younger crowd, with beer and espresso readily available. Unlike other markets, the Ferry Building market includes stalls hosted by various San Francisco restaurants who offer handheld versions of their iconic dishes.

The Ferry Building market is a great place to bask in the midday sunshine with a drink and watch as tourists and locals stroll along the waterfront.

 

Stonestown Farmers Market 

Best for: Families, Peaceful Shopping, Groceries, Bread

Worst for: Weather, Tourists

In the far southwest corner of the City, the Stonestown Farmers Market is smaller and quiet, with a great family-friendly vibe.

A small selection of flowers, plants, and even clothes are on offer here, along with reasonably priced produce and some excellent breads and cookies.  Seafood, Italian, and Chinese food are also available for you to brunch while you shop. 

The Stonestown market a great place to ease into your Sunday morning. You can find seniors and families lounging around as jazz plays in the background; kids running around while their parents slowly wake up with a few cups of coffee.  While a bit smaller and with less variety compared to larger markets, Stonestown is the place to go for a quiet, family-friendly culinary experience.

 

Fort Mason Farmers Market

Best for: People-Watching, Baked Goods, Alcohol

Worst for: Expensive, Diversity 

Fort Mason farmers’ market is most similar to the Ferry Building market: relatively pricey, not particularly diverse, but with a large selection of prepared options - including multiple varieties of hard cider, an exclusive item I only found at Fort Mason.  

The Fort Mason market clearly caters to a younger, wealthier crowd.  Beer, wine, pastries, and fresh tacos are the main attractions, with some produce available if you’re actually interested in grocery shopping. 

Other than the hard cider, the Fort Mason farmers’ market did feature one other special guest: the current Speaker of the House. If you’re someone who thinks about what kind of crowd you’re shopping with, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pretty decent company. 

While I enjoyed the produce here, the baked goods were the real highlights.  The dozens of joggers returned from a light run around the Marina to snag almond croissants, fresh bread, and enormous cookies. People watching, comfort food and an alluring guava hard cider are the reasons to come to this market.

Alemany Farmers Market 

Saturdays: 6AM-2PM

100 Alemany Blvd

Ferry Building/Embarcadero Farmers Market

Tuesdays: 10AM-2PM

Thursdays: 10AM-2PM

Saturdays: 8AM-2PM

Ferry Building, 1 Ferry Plaza

Stonestown Farmers Market

Sundays: 9AM-1PM

3251 20th Avenue

Fort Mason Farmers Marke 

Sundays: 9:30AM-1:30PM

Fort Mason Center, Marina and Buchanan

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