Farmer’s Market (Bay Area)

Now that we are back in California and the Covid cases have at least some hope that they might go in the right direction we can finally start to dive into the different farmer’s markets - what are your favorites in the Bay Area - even though we live on the peninsula we come around quite a lot especially on weekends and are open to any good suggestions in SF, peninsula or east bay.

The Ferry Building (Saturdays) is SF’s gold standard farmer’s market (in more ways than one). Smaller ones around the city provide a simpler experience while supporting many of the same growers. A couple of blocks from us is comprehensive Clement Street (Sundays, Arguello through third Ave.) fruit, vegetables, beef/lamb//pork/chicken/fish, eggs, perserves/condiments, tea, wine, handful of hot prepared food, flowers, live music. Civic Center (Wed and Sunday) and Alemany are more ethnic and very reasonable.

There are smaller markets throughout the week in various neighborhoods. Check here for days and hours.

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On the Peninsula, your best bet might be the San Mateo market (Saturdays). It’s huge, with a lot of vendors that aren’t anywhere else.

Because I’m in the East Bay, I usually go to my local markets, which would be Castro Valley and Hayward on Saturdays and Fremont on Sundays. (Given the demographics in Fremont, that one is very good for Asian produce.) Pleasanton and Danville also have nice Saturday markets that we go to if we feel like braving the parking situation (though Danville isn’t bad).

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  1. mountain view, at the train station, year round, but skimpier in the winter like now
    1. menlo park and palo alto

I haven’t gone to any further than that

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I live near the Old Oakland Farmers Market that’s on Fridays, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The pandemic hit it hard and I don’t think it’s recovered yet. That said, when in full operation mode, a decent mix of hot food vendors (Roti truck, tamales, burgers) and produce. Asian produce is speciality given it’s across the street from Oakland Chinatown…well represented with 5-6 vendors. Lots of seasonal fruit…like 3-4 strawberry vendors in season, same with stone fruit in season…4-5 vendors. Also Far West Fungi, walnuts from Sacto area and local honey. It happens on the same block as Swan’s Housewives Market…so good hot food options in brick and mortar, and or course Chinatown.


Additionally in SF and perhaps closer to you might be Stonestown FM on Sundays.

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Alemany (Saturdays) is my go to, but mainly because I’m lazy and cheap and it’s the closest one to me. They say it is the “first” farmers market in California, so kind of essential to check out at least once (parking tip, when you pull in from Alemany Blvd. don’t turn right into the market and wait in a line of cars, go straight on Putnam to the top of the hill and turn right on Tompkins to put you into the back of the parking lot). I love the Ferry building market for the variety of produce, but the prices are a bit precious.
As @pilgrim notes, the Stonestown farmers market is on Sundays and although smaller than Alemany they have some good food vendors. I would highly recommend pastries at Portside Bakery, as they only sell at Stonestown and San Rafael farmers markets.


When I lived in SF, use to go to Alemany. I like the lack of pretense, down home vibe and they had taco trucks on site way before the whole food truck thing even happened. That was always nice if you rolled out without breakfast. Parking is horrible but that’s SF.

The FMs in Berkeley are good and definitely Berkeley-ish but low key. Sat on Center Street near City Hall and Adeline on Tuesday. Tuesday is nice being from 2 to 7 p.m. The thing is, Berkeley Bowl is right there all the time.


Most of the vendors at the Ferry Building are also at Alemany. Selling the same produce at much lower prices. The Ferry Building spaces are, as is typical for a tourist attraction, a higher overhead for the farmers so they charge more. And the selection at Alemany is significantly larger.


Does anyone remember Jackie Jones and her dancing cat and musical saw at Alemany? She was infectiously joyous. Google videos.

Oh yes, she contributed to the funky vibe to the Alemany market.

She was lovely. Passed a few years ago.

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