Farmers Market Photo Essay Lesson

Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, a photo essay



Outdoors at the Ferry Plaza, food vendors selling fresh certified produce

The Ferry Plaza

The mecca of farmers markets in San Francisco is held outside in front of the Embarcadero ferry terminal three times weekly, with the largest market taking place on Saturdays. The Ferry Plaza farmers market is widely acclaimed for providing the freshest and largest variety of produce straight from the farms, artisanal products and finished brands along with other certified organic products.  As a certified California farmers market, the Ferry Plaza farmers market upholds a high standard while promoting sustainable, local production and distribution of these raw and finished products. It’s definitely a foodie hangout and attracts top local chefs and fussy buyers to support well-known artisanal and farm products grown or made locally.





Artisanal market

Not only is there amazing produce for sale, but there are also popular artisanal products available here including jams, cheese and cured meats, baked breads and pastries. Also, there is also a wide array of artisanal street food available outdoors with vendors selling grilled meats, wood fired pizza, and a variety of other ethnic specialties. It’s almost mandatory to try out some of the delicious offerings from the food vendors after a busy morning visiting and shopping at your favorite produce and artisanal vendors.



Portuguese malasadas (donuts) are filled with exotic fillings like mango, passion creme and guava





Specialty food focused

It is a cornucopia of different raw, artisanal product and street food available all in one place. Along with the weekly farmers market, the Ferry Plaza Embarcadero houses some of the most original and well-known food brands, restaurants and purveyors from Northern California all under one large complex. You’ll definitely be in foodie heaven when you visit this mecca of food and food lifestyle in San Francisco. You can easily spend an entire day at the farmers market and then shop at the Ferry Plaza, then capping it all with a delicious meal with the outdoor street vendors or any of the fabulous restaurants inside the Ferry Plaza Embarcadero.

Here are a few more favorites on display during the Saturday market


A medley of salad greens and edible flowers




An assortment of colorful peppers from mild to extremely hot.




The dahlia lady, makes preps up her display for some fast selling dahlias and sunflowers.









Aren’t these gorgeous looking beets?


Not only is the Ferry Plaza farmers market a foodie magnet, it is also a great place to photograph the Embarcadero plaza, the market and of course some beautiful images of food. The Embarcadero ferry builing and interior is also worth visiting and taking some more pictures. Just outside the terminal are seating areas and walkways with scenic vistas of the bay front, and the Bay Bridge in the background. If you would like to see some more images of the Embarcadero and the farmers market, please visit my Flickr page and enjoy the images.

Have you been to some amazing farmers markets like the Ferry Plaza market? Please share your favorite markets with us in the comments below.

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Lincoln Perry


  1. By now, we’ve all expressed appropriate outrage about being advised to “write what you know.” At the farmers market, farmers are also growing what they don’t know. “Clemony!” last week’s vendor told me, handing over three stalks of Cleome. She’d probably conflated the flower with Lemony Snicket. My dictionary icon gives me access to the information that Cleome means “a different plant.” Lesson: write or grow things with which you’re unfamiliar.
  2. Think for a moment of the plight of the painter—for example, my husband. “See if you can get those things, the ones, you know, with the … ” (fingers squiggle the air in a Cy Twombly way). “Do you mean those— ” “No, not those, the, they’re sort of big bulbs, they have … ” He means kohlrabi. “I’ll try, but they’ll probably have cut off the whalebone corset things,” I say, knowing that he wants to do a painting of kohlrabi, not eat it. Lesson: human beings struggle to find the right words, whether they’re visual artists or writers, or maybe dancers who rise up on their, you know, pink things, their ballet slippers, so they can stand on tippy-toes like this, Whooooops!” (Last word was the lesson.)
  3. My favorite farmer is Lettuce Man. He has a rather ordinary name, but in no other way is he ordinary. His celery looks like something you could climb if you needed to get leaves out of the gutters (a final reference to my husband who, unlike Trump, is not always pleased when I refer to him). Until Lettuce Man’s business card faded into invisibility on the fridge, I often looked at Bill’s name with great respect, in anticipation of the next market, wondering what new miracles he’d manage. Lesson: Handing out a business card is fine, as long as you’re already sure the other person actually likes you. Otherwise, as a writer, rethink it. Lesson: not just snobbery, but reverse snobbery, exists in the arts.
  4. Notice the number of really oddly dressed people milling around the truck bed with its lowered hatch, displaying heirloom tomatoes your grandmother would definitely have passed up (a brown tomato flecked yellow?), and microgreens. If there’s one-upmanship conversation among these bizarrely attired people, they’re chefs, not yet in their ubiquitous red patent-leather clogs and puffy pants. You may pick up a few helpful hints no person who isn’t on drugs would ever come up with. Lesson: you don’t have to be part of the Trump administration to tell bizarre, grandiose lies.
  5. Ask questions about the sugar content of the small-batch pies numbered like lithographs that have been made by the nice man in the bodice-pleated gingham apron, whose information sheet says he made the crust with organically grown rye ground into flour, using extra-virgin Tuscan olive oil as “fat” and hand-churned butter from free-grazing cows whose astrological signs are compatible. Lesson: it’s better to have an agent.
  6. Goth jewelry, however interesting, does not properly belong at the farmers market, but as you browse silver skulls with genuine acorn eyes, do ask what she buys at the market. She will have gotten there very early and have tastes different from yours (or do goths buy fiddlehead ferns?). Again, you might get cooking tips, or at least some good stories. Lesson: if you don’t bring up your galleys, she probably won’t bring up the manuscript she’s working on. Go home, keep quiet, and cook happily.


Ann Beattie is the author, most recently, of The Accomplished Guest. Read her Art of Fiction interview here.

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