Farmers’ Market Fridays

7686476.jpgOver the course of the next 6 weeks, I will be bringing you a list of farmers’ markets by county. Why? Because it is important to support local farmers, it is important to eat locally, and your health can only be improved by being out in the fresh air, walking the booths, and buying only the freshest, tastiest produce available.

My great grandparents were farmers. Somehow, along the way, that got lost. Going to college in a rural environment where farmstands were prevalent, brought back the importance of good food, not to mention that which was reasonably priced. When my children were small, I began home gardens, and we spent many happy days at my godparents, who had an acre of trees and gardens. My children could pull a peach off a tree or a carrot out of the ground, rinse and eat. That food sustained us through difficult times and broadened my repertoire in the kitchen. Although that house has been sold, we continue to have a small garden in our own backyard and make weekly or bi-weekly appearances at the local farmer’s markets, whether in San Mateo, San Carlos, or Redwood City. I’m always amazed at the great choices of produce, both organic and not, that can be found, and believe that we should be supporting these small growers, who have such a passion for what they do.

A farmer’s market is a treat for the senses—smelling the fresh peaches, 19006853.jpgstrawberries, herbs and even the dirt they were grown in. You can see the vibrant colors, textures, and varieties available, not to mention the enthusiasm of the growers. And you should make it a point to talk to the growers themselves; find out how and why they farm, what to expect in the upcoming weeks, and maybe even have them share a favorite recipe. Best of all, you can taste what you are buying—a sliver of juicy pear, the crunch of a fresh green pea, the sugary goodness of honeycomb. An added bonus is the live music, set to the background of a chatting shoppers and the laughter of the children. It will do your heart good to get outside and and load up on fresh food.

So, here it goes, our first week brings Alameda County, which has a diverse and wide range of markets. There just has to be one near you. And please feel free to chime in on your favorites or any that I have missed.

NOTE: Markets are year-round unless noted otherwise.

Alameda County:

Alameda Tuesday 9:30am – 1pm Taylor and Webster
Bayfair Farmers’ Market Every Saturday 9am – 1 pm Bayfair Mall, San Leandro
Berkeley Saturday 10am – 3 pm Center Street and MLK Jr. Way
Berkeley Tuesday 2 – 7 pm Derby Street and MLK Jr. Way
East Oakland Friday 10am – 2pm (April – December) Faith Deliverance Church
El Cerrito Tuesday 9am – 1pm, Saturday 9an – 1 pm San Pablo and Fairmont
Fremont Saturday 9am – 1 pm Bill Ball Plaza
Fremont Thursday 10am – 2pm Kaiser Permanente Medical Center
Fremont/Irvington Sunday 9am – 1pm Bay and Fremont Ave.
Fruitvale Sunday 10am – 3pm Fruivale Village
Grand Lake Saturday 9am – 2pm Grand and Lake Park Avenue
Hayward Saturday 9am – 1pm Main and B Street
Jack London Square Sunday 10am – 2pm Embarcadero and Broadway
Kaiser Hayward Wednesday 10am – 2pm Kaiser Permanente Hospital
Kaiser Oakland Friday 10am – 2pm 3801 Howe Street
Livermore Thursday 4 – 8pm (May-October) Third and J
Millsmont Saturday 9am – 1pm (June – October) MacArthur at Seminary
Montclair Sunday 9am – 1pm Montclair Village, Oakland
North Berkeley Thursday 3 – 7pm Rose & Shattuck
Old Oakland Friday 8am – 2pm Swan’s Marketplace, Ninth & Washington Sts.
Pleasanton Saturday 9am – 1pm West Angela and Main
San Leandro Saturday 9am – 1pm Bayfair Mall
Temescal Sunday 9am – 1pm DMV 5300 Claremont Avenue
Union City Saturday 9am – 1pm Old Alvarado/Cesar Chavez Park
West Alameda Tuesday 9:30 – 1pm Webster and Taylor
West Oakland Saturday 10am – 4pm Fifth Street63299445.jpg