A love letter to the Alemany Farmers Market

A small selection of Saturday's haul

Today is February 13, within spitting distance of Valentine’s Day, and everyone is thinking of ways to tell their sweetie how much they love them. But, as much as I adore the Cocktail Host, today I have another love on my mind: the Alemany Farmers Market, which I visit every Saturday I can.

I think of it as the Goldilocks of San Francisco farmers’ markets. Sometimes, if I have plans on Saturday morning, I go to the Heart of the City market on Sunday instead. There’s nothing wrong with this market, but I have a hard time getting excited about their selection. The Ferry Plaza Farmers Market is the most impressive in the city,  with lots of artisanal prepared foods mixed in with the most gorgeous fruits and vegetables you’ll ever see. Still, the crush of tourists there and  the heart-stoppingly high prices mean shopping there is only an occasional indulgence. I once paid $6 for a peach there. Six freaking dollars. It was a beautiful, sexy peach—one of the best I’ve ever eaten—but did I mention it cost $6?

So Alemany is my farmers’ market sweetheart. They’ve got lots of organic produce in addition to the conventionally grown stuff and stock just about everything I need … and many things I need but just didn’t know it yet.

Cardoons, anyone?


Or maybe you could use some five-foot long stalks of sugarcane?


And who wouldn’t want to eat their veggies when they see a pile of eye-popping rainbow chard?

Rainbow chard

And the cocktail geek in me does a little dance every time I walk up to Rosa de Santis’s citrus stand, which sells citrus of every stripe. Of course there are blood oranges in season, about which I have written often, here, and here, and here. But that’s just the start of it.

There are kumquats and limequats and mandarinquats, oh my!

Kumquats and limequats and mandarinquats, oh my!

Buddha's hand

In addition to rangpur limes, calamondini, and more, she also almost always has Buddha’s hand, which I’d love to use in some homemade bitters, or just infuse into some simple syrup.

And last month I discovered her blood limes. Who even knew there was such a thing? I was going to post some photos of them a few weeks ago—they make beautiful ruby-colored cocktail—but unfortunately my friends and I drank them all up before I managed to work out the perfect cocktail recipe for them. I bought another batch on Saturday, so I’ll let you know if I come up with anything interesting to do with them.

In the meantime, I spent the weekend making soups and salads and roasting broccoli and figuring out what to do with my Jerusalem artichokes.

Some of Saturday's groceries

I’m sorry. Did you see those purple and yellow carrots, which I’m planning on making into a salad with tahini dressing?

Purple carrots!

Alemany Farmers Market, will you be my valentine?