The best farmer's market finds

April 22, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Heading to your local farmer's market can be a fun family outing and a great way to get your family to eat healthier. Australian chef and TV personality Christopher Smith went to the farmer's market at the Ferry Building in San Francisco and has these great tips for how to choose the best veggies every time.

Farmer's market tips

When choosing strawberries, pick ones that are red all the way through.

Find asparagus bunches that have tight tips and that snap in half.

Look for vibrant yellow and red tomatoes to make a great confit sauce.

Much of the organic produce is picked the day before and is fresher and free of toxins.

About the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market

The Ferry Plaza Farmers Market is a California certified farmers market operated by the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA). The market is open two days a week-Tuesdays and Saturdays. The large Saturday market is held both in front of the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero and on the rear plaza overlooking the Bay. On Tuesday, the market spills out of the Arcades onto the Embarcadero sidewalk. The markets offer produce and flowers from small regional farmers and ranchers, many of whom are certified organic. A wealth of other products include regional artisan specialties such as breads, cheeses and jams.

Started as a one-time event in 1992, the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market's popularity led to the opening of a year-round market in May 1993. On Saturdays, 10 - 15,000 faithful shoppers attend the market because it reconnects them with their food sources. Shopping at a farmers market provides a forum for learning how food is grown, who grew it, and why it tastes so good. CUESA hosts weekly cooking demonstrations and interviews with farmers in the open-air Arcades along the front of the building, and these programs are free and open to the public.

For more information, visit: www.ferrybuildingmarketplace.com

What is sustainable agriculture?

In 2005, CUESA broadened its mission; in addition to supporting sustainable agrictulture as our name indicates, we are working to improve the sustainability of the entire food system. A food system is the inter-relationship of agricultural systems, their economic, social, cultural, and technological support systems, and systems of food distribution and consumption. A sustainable food system uses practices that are environmentally sound, humane, economically viable, and socially just. Sustainable agriculture uses these same practices.

CUESA'S Guiding Principles of Sustainable Agricultural Production

Environmentally Sound
Producers actively work to create and sustain cultivated landscapes that are complex, diverse and balanced biological systems. Producers use practices that conserve and restore resources.

Humane Animal Management
While being raised, animals are allowed to engage in the natural behaviors that are important to their well-being, and are harvested in ways that minimize stress to the animals and the environment.

Economically Viable
Producers operate within a framework of sound business planning and pursue integrated and proactive approaches to marketing and sales.

Socially Just
Producers and their employees receive fair and reasonable compensation and work in a safe and respectful environment.

For more information, visit: www.cuesa.org


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