Spring has sprung. It was a glorious morning as I set out for the east bay to check out the Berkeley Farmer’s Market. The air was crisp and heavily scented with jasmine and cherry blossoms. *sigh* I love spring mornings…
I decided to head across the bridge to the other side of the bay to check out the Berkeley Farmer’s Market. The Berkeley Farmers Market started in 1987 and is committed to supporting small-scale farmers who produce sustainable agriculture. It is merely a block in length and has that good ole homey feeling.
The first thing I like to do when I arrive at a market is to grab a cup of coffee and walk the length of the market, once or twice, to see what is available. I was in luck! As soon as I walked up to the market, I could smell coffee, and not any coffee – very good coffee! Not only could I smell the dark-roasted brew but I could see the crowd around the stall. What a great surprise to see that Blue Bottle Coffee was available. Blue Bottle is a local coffee based in Oakland, CA. They take great pride in micro-roasting their beans. Blue Bottle uses only the finest organic coffee beans, which are roasted in small batches. Every cup is made to order using the drip method.
The nice thing about getting to the market a little early is being able to enjoy the serenity that is hanging over the market, as the vendors are setting up. Hot coffee in hand, I strolled the market, planning my menu for the week. It was very evident that spring is on the cusp, as there was an abundance of fresh asparagus, artichokes, baby leeks, green garlic, bitter but sweet dandelion greens, golden yellow chard, flowering bok choy and a rainbow of spring time beets. I love (big inhale as I typed these words) the smell of spring time beets …. musty, slightly dirty and a sweet dewy scent. It is hard to describe but I can almost taste them as I pull them to my nose. I find it intoxicating like a big bold red wine. Oh, how I love that!
The last of our favorite winter time veggies like watermelon radishes, carrots and butternut squash are still hanging on. How I will miss them! But I’m excited for more leeks, green garlic, chards, berries and the first sweet cherries, that will arrive in a couple months.
The Berkeley Farmer’s Market in only a block in length but they have a huge variety available. Not only is there a beautiful assortment of produce but they also offer fresh honey, fresh baked breads, cookies and pastries, beautiful orchids (which are a steal at the price of $5 for a small one or $10 for a larger one), multi-colored eggs more beautiful than Easter dyed ones with yolks that are the most vibrant golden yellow I have ever seen. There was fresh chicken, lamb, beef and seafood. I was entertained by a charming fellow at Hog Island Oyster as he shucked fresh oysters for me – nothing like a hot cup of coffee and oysters that are merely flavored by the sea to get you going for the day. I ended up leaving with 2 pounds of fresh Manila clams!
I was in love with everything about this market. The small time charm, the variety of the bounty, and the friendliest of the people. You will want to bring the entire family as this market is loaded with entertainment as well. Your children will love listening to the music and playing in the large grassy area and playground that is right next door.
I really enjoyed the Berkeley Farmer’s Market and I can definitely see myself falling in love with it!
Eat Boutique is an award-winning shop and story-driven recipe site created by Maggie Battista–shop girl, writer, author, and creative business coach. After hosting pop-up markets for 25,000+ guests, Maggie is working to open her first permanent Eat Boutique–a food-retail concept space with a new way to the very best food–as well as coaching women in food to reach life and business goals. Her second cookbook, A New Way to Food: 100 Recipes to Encourage a Healthy Relationship with Food, Nourish Your Beautiful Body, and Celebrate Real Wellness for Life, will be published by Roost Books on February 5, 2019.