Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, San Francisco

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Another day, another farmers market. I won’t bore you to death with another vague rendering of my morning wandering around stalls. Well, not for too long, anyway. This was the busiest of all the markets that I’ve been to yet, it was bustling. As it’s right on the waterfront  by the Ferry Building it attracts a huge crowd. By the look of the laden bags, I’d have said that a lot of these visitors were locals, there were also a number of people with restaurant carts – there to do their shopping for their respective eateries. Of the produce stalls two in particular caught my interest. One was selling heritage breed apples – with some dating back to the 18th Century. I picked a handful of Wickson, a small apple that looked to be a cross with a crab apple – it was very sharp but really quite tasty. We have a variety of old varieties at home on the farm, and a few years back I did some research and found out we had some quite rare cider apple trees called Pig Aderyn (Birds Beak), they’re only found in one other place – St Dogmaels in Pembrokeshire. Our farm was part of the Glyn Abbey Estate at one time and the main Country House was home to a group of monks for a period – we’ve assumed that the apples have come somehow via them from the Abbey at St Dogmaels.The second stall to take my fancy was Happy Girl Kitchen Co, they had a range of jams, pickles, preserves and juices. All beautifully bottled and with elegant simple branding. They run canning and pickling courses, I only wish I could have stayed a few more days to attend one. After all, it’s just another way of curing a product to keep it from spoiling!I followed my usual mantra of choosing the food cart with the longest queue and waited for my turn for a porchetta sandwich from Roli Roti. Porchetta seems to be hugely popular here – I’ve seen it on the menu at a handful of places. Traditionally it’s a whole de-boned pig, but here in the US it tends to be a rolled middle (belly + loin), which is stuffed and tied. The sandwich I had was good, sadly it wasn’t great, and if I was honest it didn’t really live up to the hog roasts I’m used to eating. The one thing that did stand out though, was their roast potatoes – they were dripping in pork fat and sea salt, and there’s a nasty big stain on my shirt to prove it. It was also good to see that the majority of the ingredients for the food had been sourced from the market itself.

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