A vast majority of my home-cooked meals are made with produce from farmers' markets. Spring has sprung, and as I peruse the aisles lined with vendors, I become giddy with excitement spotting asparagus in season, strawberries adding vibrant red hues to the lineup, and gladly welcoming the first peaches and blueberries popping in to say hello.
During any given week, there are between 25 and 30 markets from which I can purchase local, seasonal, organic goods from farmers who bring their crops to my city. Not to mention that as I shop, I am able to physically shake the hand of the man or woman who, just days or hours prior, plucked my carrots from the ground and cut my kale straight from the plant. I can listen to live music, watch cooking demonstrations, enjoy my choice of hot food and buy flowers just because I can.
Until recently, I failed to grasp just how fortunate I am to have this tremendous bounty at my fingertips each and every day. I simply assumed that markets had always been a standard part of San Franciscan life: never really thinking twice. Yet as it turns out, when the market debuted in September of 1992, it was only billed as a temporary offering after the freeway running across the Ferry Building was damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. However, thanks to the outpouring of chefs who now had easier access to some of the finest, freshest ingredients around, the market's popularity grew exponentially, people clamored for more, and simply everyone demanded that it become a staple each and every week, thus providing the impetus for what we expect, and often times take for granted, today.
So swing by and wish Cuesa a Happy Birthday, thank a volunteer for keeping the markets friendly and clean, and take a moment to wonder what life would be like without that first market down at Ferry Plaza 20 years ago.