Ferry Building farmers market celebrates 25th anniversary

The organization that runs the Ferry Building farmers market is celebrating a quarter century of selling some of the city's freshest foods at the foot of Market Street.

On Saturday, The Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA) is celebrating a Birthday Bash at the Ferry Building, featuring forty-five restaurants, twenty bars and wineries, and twenty-five birthday cakes created by local pastry chefs.

CUESA farmers and founding staff will transform the venue for the celebration, offering unlimited food and drink tastings, peak-season produce, educational hands-on activities, live music, a silent auction, and more.

Expect to see a wide array of food vendors on hand like 4505 Meats, Brown Sugar Kitchen, Humphry Slocombe, Nopa, The Slanted Door and Tacolicious; and participating wineries and breweries like Golden State Cider, Almanac Beer Co., Broc Cellars and Heidrun Meadery.

Photo: Amanda Lynn Photography

The Ferry Plaza Farmers Market originated in the aftermath of the Loma Prieta earthquake "to create a public space for city folks and local farmers to gather, learn, share and create community through good food at a time when there were only two other farmers markets in the city," said a CUESA spokesperson.

Additionally, the venue has been an incubator for farmers working to reach shoppers in San Francisco and the surrounding areas.

"The Ferry Plaza Farmers Market was the place our farm got its start, where we were able to build relationships with customers and chefs, and get exposure to the media," Lorraine Walker of Eatwell Farm told Hoodline via email. "For our family, it was time together, working on our dreams and goals, spending time and sharing goodies with our 'market family,' our staff and the other vendors."

Eatwell Farm, a participant since the market's inception, raises pastured chickens and grows organic fruits and veggies in Dixon.

"The Ferry Plaza Farmers Market was, in a very tangible way, our doorway into the greater Bay Area market that currently purchases over ninety percent of the fruit that we grow," said Bryce Loewen of Blossom Bluff Orchards in Fresno County.

"It also created an opportunity for us to make contact, first with fine restaurants, later with amazing stores that gave us the first nudge toward breaking out of the classic wholesale model and doing our own distribution. It has been -- and will continue to be -- a very important part of our farm's story and journey," said Loewen, who has been selling at the market for roughly twenty-four years.

Proceeds from Saturday's event will help fund programs like Foodwise Kids and Schoolyard to Market, which empower healthy eating habits among youth. Each year, CUESA serves roughly 3,000 Bay Area youth with the free educational programs.

"The greatest reward with being part of CUESA and the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market community is how we all have evolved and continue to be the leaders in the trends of the farm to table' movement as a whole," said Aomboon Deasy of K&J Orchards in Winters.

CUESA's 25th Birthday Bash is June 10, 6-9 p.m. Tickets can be purchased here.