Inner Sunset Farmers Market, San Francisco

| June 14, 2009 | 35 Comments
  • 35 Comments

Last Sunday, a brand-new farmers market opened in one of my favorite San Francisco neighborhoods: The Inner Sunset. The market, in the parking lot at Ninth and Irving streets, is run by the Pacific Coast Farmers Markets Association and will run from June through November. Walking into the market, you get a feeling of a true community event. Neighbors are greeting each other, and the general atmosphere was festive and fun. The market is mostly vegetable and fruit vendors, but shoppers can also purchase eggs, baked goods and prepared foods. There is even a tofu vendor, but I don’t remember seeing any cheeses or meats.

By the time I arrived, the eggs were sold out, but the vendor — Smart Eggs — looks interesting. It’s a student-run egg farm that is from Modesto Junior College.

There are quite a few farms from the coastal region and several from the Central Valley. I will be returning to this market. It’s a fun, mellow option for a Sunday morning market.

Inner Sunset Farmers Market
Inner Sunset Farmers Market-cherries
Inner Sunset Farmers Market-peas
Inner Sunset Farmers Market-honey The vendor list, as I noted it, is as follows:

Serendipity Farms
Far West Fungi
Berrylicious
De Palma Farms
Capay Organic
Wassum Ranch
Smart Eggs
Tofu Yu
Bakers of Paris
Her Farm
Arizmendi Bakery
Garcia Farm
Rodin Farm
Calolea
City Bees
Fifth Crow Farm
Kashiwase

Inner Sunset Farmers Market
9am – 1pm, Sundays
In the parking lot behind the Irving Street shops.
Enter from 9th or 8th Ave
Runs through November 22

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Category: farmers markets, san francisco, sustainability, environment, climate change

About the Author ()

"My passion for food began young." I am the editor of the influential website www.EatLocalChallenge.com which encourages readers to support local farmers and producers. I began my personal website, Life Begins at 30, in 2003. I have been published in Edible San Francisco and Fine Cooking, write regularly for Bay Area Bites, Serious Eats, and have been quoted in many nationwide publications. Photography is a passion, and I have had photos printed in National Geographic Traveler and Travel + Leisure. I contributed to a Williams-Sonoma cookbook: Cooking from the Farmers' Market, which was released in February 2010. I live in San Francisco, California and can often be found at local farmers markets seeking out the best of what's in season and chatting with farmers.
  • Matt

    Want to get the word out for another neighborhood Farmers Market at USF Campus on Lone Mountain @ Parker and McAllister. It’s half the size it was a few weeks ago. Come on neighbors, visit the market and help keep it going!

  • Paul

    The second week of the Inner Sunset farmers’ was also great. This week there was a great fresh fish vendor and a different neighborhood merchant (hand-made soap etc).

  • Brian

    If you have disposable cash its perfect for you! Its held in a parking lot causing parking problems for the neighboorhood!!! The prices are much higher than the Civic Center Farmers Market. This is nothing more then a Trendy Yuppie Farmers market, some of the stuff they were selling was more than Andronico’s! Get real: We are in a recession, this is truly obscene.

  • snuh

    Brian is correct that it’s not cheap, but if you live in the neighborhood it’s remarkably convenient. Civic Center is cheaper, but it’s _the Civic Center_. I’ll gladly pay more if it saves me the displeasure of schlepping back and forth to that hellhole of a neighborhood on that POS transit system we call MUNI.

  • Brian

    Everyone should contact the Farmers Market & SF Supervisor to tell them to have reasonably priced vendors. Everyone is making less nowadays & lowering prices including myself.
    The Farmers Market should be no different. They should hold the event at the Hall of Flowers or in the Newcomer school we need the parking!

  • snuh

    According to a Chron article I read, the Heart of the City market can have “at least 60 farmers [in] 98 stalls” in a day and it’s open for more than 20hrs a week. The Inner Sunset market is only a fraction of that size, is only open for 4hrs, and has a sliver of the attendance.

    So I think it’s completely reasonable that our market isn’t as inexpensive as Civic Center. I’m not convinced that getting the Supervisor to learn on the market is a productive way to go. As a fairly liberal San Franciscan, I feel kinda weird saying “let the market decide”, but I this case I feel customers and merchants are grown up enough to figure out what they’re willing to spend/charge.

  • Brian

    Many merchants & residents are not happy with a Yuppie Faire taking much needed parking space on a weekend. I myself feel if they are going to inconvience many here we should be able to afford it. It doesn’t matter what the market will bear. If this did not interfere with the locals I wouldn’t care if the prices were 3 times as much. One stand was charging $21 a lb for fish can you afford that? I’d like to also add I’m not convinced many are real farmers.

  • snuh

    Well, I understand the desire to have it be cheaper, but I feel it is unrealistic considering the scope and scale. And I particularly don’t see any need or reason to cast aspersions on the vendors and how “real” they are. So I reckon it’s best if we just amicably agree to disagree and leave it at that. Cheers and good luck to you.

  • Blue

    Regarding Brians comments — the market is an addition to the neighborhood, and anyone can still shop at lower priced markets if they wish. It seems that your main issue with them is the loss of parking. I agree with you that some prices are way too high — for example I did not buy my fish there. But some produce is not too bad (e.g. $3/lb for organic tomatoes). These small California farmers are also hurting in this economy and these markets provide a great income for them. I agree with you that it is not ideal, but since most businesses in the neigbhorhood are not open until noon, having the parking lot used until 1 pm, should not be too huge an impact on the businesses (many businesses, in fact, report an increase in business due to increased foot traffic).

  • Brian

    I beg to differ. I have talked to businesses who are not getting an increase of business in fact less. Many customers of these businesses not coming because of an increase of parking problems & traffic. May I add there’s plenty of places to buy fresh Veggies.. etc.. around the area and at lower prices! I saw nothing that you can’t buy in this area. I myself have plenty of sympathy for Farmers but pushing overpriced goods doesn’t sit well with me especially since you may notice the economy is in big trouble. If you really want this Farmers Market get them to hold it at the Hall of Flowers or in the playground of the Newcomer School. We need OUR parking period.

  • http://teaandcookies.blogspot.com Tea

    As a resident of the Inner Sunset (9 yrs), I’m delighted about the market. It’s a great addition to the neighborhood and fosters community. There is very little organic produce available in the Inner Sunset, and the prices are cheaper than the Ferry Plaza market (the inexpensive produce at the Civic Center you mention is not organic). If you don’t chose to invest your money in fresh, locally grown produce from small growers, that’s fine, but there are many of us who do. The benefit of this market far outweighs the temporary loss of a few parking spaces–and I say that as someone who lives in the area and parks on the street.

    Thanks for the writeup, great pictures.

  • Brian

    7th & Lawton is another good area to hold the Event. So Merchants & Locals can have parking in the Area.

  • Blue

    Hi Brian, it seems that your biggest concern is parking (since lower-priced shopping options are still there). I’m still not sure who you think is most affected, and I would like to try to understand — the market is on Sunday morning, when most businesses have yet to open, and ends at 1 pm. Most retail businesses are open from noon. So whose parking is affected? Regarding your suggestions for other locations, they’re very good ideas, but the GG Park charter forbids commercial ventures like a farmers’ market, the school district rejected requests to use their school play yard, and the 7th & Lawton is a possibility, but would probably have more people driving, and the school district who owns it is currently trying to sell it.

  • Brian

    Here a response from someone from another site who left the following posting:

    “I live right on this block, and no one asked me my opinion: I would have stood up for the residents. I love farmers markets, and i support local merchants. However, people need to realize that parking has gotten progressively more ridiculous in this neighborhood, especially on the weekends, ever since the science museum re-opened. This farmers market means that residents don’t have a place to park on Saturday night; unless they feel like waking up at 7am; or a free place to park on Sunday morning. I can tell you this parking lot is well-used on the weekend nights. I’m all for a farmers market — but why isn’t it someplace else?? — like the school yard across from Andronicos or on 7th near the gardens where there isn’t as much competition for parking, or in the park where there is more municipal spaces?”

  • Brian

    I also want to add I know 2 Merchants personally who open before 12 noon. They have driven around literally an hour or more looking for parking and they are not happy.
    I’m sure there’s plenty more. These merchants are part of the neighboorhood, pay rent, taxes and have been here for years, May I add some of their customers can’t find parking so they don’t patronize the business. There’s a good reason that parking lot exists and its because its necessary! I’m sorry but as far as lower prices I don’t see them. I expected prices comparable to Civic Center Farmers Market which I’ve patronized.

  • Blue

    Brian, that makes sense — I can imagine your frustration since you live on that block and now cannot park. But did you know that this summer, DPT will be stopping free Sunday parking? So, for those people who used to park free Saturday night through Sunday will now have to pay on Sunday :-(

  • B

    To say that a few-hour-long market shouldn’t exist just because of parking issues is a bit on the ridiculous side. How many spots are there in that very small lot, compared to the entire rest of the neighborhood? And why would a missing 20 parking spots (or so, I don’t know the exact number) really turn people off to coming to the neighborhood? On the rare occasion that I drive to the Inner Sunset, I expect to drive around for 15 minutes to find a place to park. I’ve never managed to get a spot in that parking lot, even though I’ve tried many times. This is why I use public transportation, something that all San Franciscans should use, at the very least for when they’re going to traffic congested areas that are known for having no parking- like the Inner Sunset. I just have a hard time imagining anyone refusing to come to the neighborhood to shop because there are 20 fewer parking spaces one morning of the entire week.

    Oh, and the nectarines and peaches I got (pesticide free although not certified organic) for $2.50 a pound is a pretty good deal! And oh so delicious.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/bonequinha_sf/ Claudine

    I’ve lived in the Inner Sunset since 1999 and *love* the addition of a Farmer’s Market. It’s cheaper than the Ferry Building and in many instances – Andronico’s. I love being able to walk to 9th/ Irving (central, close to public transport) on a Sunday morning. Props to the organizers (thank you for including/ allowing a fish vendor) for putting together such a fabulous market.

  • paul

    Thanks for your feedback, B and Claudine. It’s also great to know that, for those people (currently 183) who have completed a feedback survey (tinyurl.com/ISPNmarketsurvey), customers are walking to the market 97% of the time. Feel free to complete the short feedback survey yourself, if you’ve not already done so.

  • Brian

    I’ve lived in this neighboorhood since 1986 & We really need the parking. It is not ridiculous or a small matter as some have stated. Another location should be found.

  • http://www.iriemedia.com Andrew

    As a rabid fan of Art’s Cafe (in front of this parking lot), I sincerely appreciate this farmers market for holding the lot for me to roll in around 2PM for a leisurely lunch (with free parking!).

    For the market itself: I’m glad it’s there but I can see how it might be frustrating for very local residents. That whole area is a nightmare for parking though, and I generally just hop the N farther down the line and avoid all the shenanigans.

  • Brian

    The Farmers Market was sold with the idea for the locals & others would take the Muni there but a large amount are coming in their cars. If all the people who didn’t live in the neighboorhood would take the Muni it would help out alot but that’s not going to happen. There’s alot of wasted time with people trying to finding parking generating smog and wasting gas.

  • paul

    Brian, you said there are a large amount of people outside the neighborhood coming in by car. Can you let us know how you know this? This perception seems to be at odds with a survey of market goers. Here is the response to the question “How do you travel to the market?”:
    Walk 97.3%
    Bike 4.3%
    Take MUNI 4.8%
    Drive 3.2%
    based on 188 people who have taken the survey between 6/18 and 6/30.

  • Brian

    1. I live here & I see there’s no parking available in the neighboorhood.
    2. I see alot of Traffic congestion.
    3. I see people with dried flowers for example (available & very popular at the market) getting into their cars.
    4. I’ve lived in this neighborhood since 1986 & have never seen the parking & traffic so busy on Sundays ever.
    5. I’ve talked with others who have to work in the neighboorhood who drive around an hour or more looking for parking.
    6. I would not dare drive my car anywhere on a Sunday unless I was planning to return after 3 pm.
    Rest assured I’m not the Grinch and I’m not making this stuff up, I am a witness to it.

  • troll

    Brian’s a troll, he trolled a bunch of other sites, he does not represent the majority of people he’s just someone who hates fun, hates the neighborhood, and tells lies to advance his agenda. He is out and out lying about the parking situation, he’s lying about the market, and he is an overall liar. do not feed the trolls, he needs to sit down and shut up, he never got involved BEFORE the market started he just stayed at home playing video games and watching tv. now he’s mad? Sit down AND SHUT UP BRIAN! THE MARKET IS HERE TO STAY YOU LOSE LOSER!

  • Danny Dawson

    After walking to the Inner Sunset Farmer’s Market this past Saturday, finding organic Kale for $1.50 a bunch was an unexpected pleasure. Non-organic bunches of the same size go for $3-$4 elsewhere in the Sunset. In addition, if it weren’t for this market, I would be unable to get Lion’s Mane mushrooms (a real treat) without trekking all the way across the city to the Ferry Building.

    I also would never have known about the neighborhood association were it not for them tabling in the market.

  • paul

    Troll — you are not very polite. I do not agree with a lot of what Brian concludes, but his points are valid. In his experience, parking and traffic is worse on Sundays. I think the farmers’ market has very little impact there — the major change in traffic on weekends happened with the reopening of the Academy of Sciences, and now with the Tutankhamun exhibit, it is going to be really bad this summer.

    So, Troll, please take your vitriol somewhere else.

    And Brian, I am sorry that you find the farmers’ market a negative impact on the neighborhood. But for me, who has also been in this neighborhood since 1986, I think it is great. Not only it is a great place to get incredible produce (albeit, not at Alemany prices), it’s a wonderful place to meet and chat with neighbors — it almost feels like a village sometimes.

  • EJ

    Which prepared food vendors at this farmers’ market (or others in the Bay Area) are your favorite? I’m interested in trying the best “street food” in the Bay Area.

  • Freddy

    I do not, “buy”, that the prices need to be so high for these farmers to make a profit. It seems like pretty much of a rip off. I was really disappointed. Is it only the well off that should have access to good local food? Totally ridiculous prices.

  • Dylan

    I have never had trouble parking in that area of the Inner Sunset at any time of day on any day. An hour or more to find a parking spot? Those people are probably circling the block instead of parking a couple of blocks away. They need to stop being lazy and start learning how to walk a little. But guess what, its the city and there’s always going to be a parking problem so long as people insist on driving large, ungainly vehicles or not parking properly in the spots available.

  • Brian

    I’ve been personally attacked on this page so I’m not giving my opinion anymore.
    I suggest anyone walk around and Ask the Mom & Pop establishments by the Farmers Market if the Parking OR Business climate has help or hurt them.
    Also how they like that the Farmer Market is now year around.

  • Blue

    @Brian. I certainly have no interest in personally attacking anyone, I just have a different opinion from you. I have asked at Park’s Farmer’s Market on 10th Avenue specifically about the impact of the Farmer’s Market. This store is the closest physically and in merchandise to the Sunday Farmer’s market and while one of the owners told me that has been a small decrease in business, she said business was going well. I have spoken to several owners of restaurants and coffee shops who have told me that they have an *increase* in business from the Sunday Farmers’ market patrons.

  • Brian

    I suggest for u 2 walk up & down 9 ave & talk 2 mom & pop merchants not the Trendy shops.
    I’ve heard from them w/out me asking. Also a lot are upset because the Farmer’s Market was sold by being around just 1/2 the year but now its more.
    The whole dialog is moot anyway its here 2 stay.

  • leandra

    in response to the comments re: farmers markets prices.

    small, local farmers are generally not subsidized by the federal government, while the large, industrial, corporate farms are handed billions. thus the prices at mainstream markets are artificially low. they do not reflect the true cost of growing healthy, nutritious food.

    not to mention, using toxic fertlizers and pesticides will control plant growth with less manual labor (thus lower costs), but the impact to food quality as well as environmental degradation is not considered in the equation. its called “externalizing costs…”

    i happen to know some small, local farmers and i’m avidly interested in the local agriculture industry. these farmers work 18 hour days during the high season, and after costs they are living at poverty level.

    i used to think one of the benefits of farmers markets was to ‘save money’–however, i now understand that the point is to support these small farms and our local economies. Independent food sources are crucial to our city’s food security–so we need to support them, to support ourselves.

    Plus, the fruits n veggies are so damn fresh and tasty!

  • Brian

    The Farmers Market is a Cash Cow. It doesn’t matter if you like it or not its here to stay and so is the parking mess on Sundays year round which is much worse than Saturdays. After 3pm Sundays miraculously street parking starts to appear.