Mountain View Farmers’ Market

July 6, 2011 · 23 comments · Print This Post

in San Francisco, To Buy / To Try

I’m happy to report that my first visit to a California Farmers Market was fantastic. A few weeks ago, CK and I took a Zipcar to Mountain View to check out their Sunday market. We arrived at 9:30 AM, only 30 minutes after they opened and it was already jamming. I shudder to think about the crowd size if you sleep in and wait until noon.

I have to say, the markets in Boston seem rather quaint when faced with a behemoth such as this. It was absolutely huge in comparison. According to the website they have more than 80 vendors and producers. Honestly it can be a bit overwhelming. I made a point to walk completely through before making any purchases but by the time I arrived at the end I had no idea if I wanted the tomatoes on the right side or the left or where the eggs from the Araucana hens had disappeared to.

In the meantime I fell in love with the bright colors and festive atmosphere. I let the euphoria go to my head a bit though when I purchased a huge bag of greens and edible flowers. They were too pretty to resist but not quite as tasty as I hoped when I sampled them back home with dinner. Maybe I need a new dressing?

Flowers, potatoes, bright berries, numerous mushrooms, and juicy cherries all caught my attention and many made their way into my floral pastel sack (thanks Sabina!). I even managed to hunt down the elusive eggs, which were delicious but did not have yolks quite as bright as my Grammy’s eggs.

The produce may have been the star but the man staffing the Bolani Booth became my hero. This high energy gentleman eagerly handed out samples hand over fist. After I gobbled mine up I promptly purchased some Spinach Bolani and a Garlic Mint Cheese spread. If you ever get the chance to try this treat definitely do so! I actually just used the last of the spread in a dish of mashed cauliflower tonight and I’m on the hunt for more.

Below you’ll see my first market picks. I’m looking forward to trying a more daring assortment soon. Do you have experience with California Farmers’ Markets? Regardless of location what are your favorite items to bring home from your favorite hometown spots?

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

1 vanillasugarblog July 7, 2011 at 6:28 am

love this post.
i do miss cali.
you should see the farmers markets on the cape–sad (and I thought boston was huge lol)


2 The Hungry Crafter July 7, 2011 at 7:12 am

Holy moly!!! Yup, that makes the farmer’s markets here in Boston pale in comparison. The Rainier cherries look amazing!


3 Emily July 7, 2011 at 8:38 am

We frequent the Campbell Farmer’s Market – on Sunday’s Prather Ranch is there. Whole chickens, and the best beef in the country. I haven’t been up to the one in Mountain View, yet, though.

You should wander back down Castro street when the market isn’t going on. There’s a coffee shop there called Red Rock that is super yummy.

Welcome to South Bay!


4 Emily July 7, 2011 at 8:42 am

ps: Castro Street in Mountain View, not Castro in San Francisco. I’m sure there’s good coffee in the city, I just haven’t been up there enough to find it, yet.


5 Holli July 7, 2011 at 8:43 am

My mom lived in Mt View for awhile and I love their farmer’s market! I’m glad you two got to go to it….. I miss California Farmer’s Markets and produce stands on the roadsides…. I’m from Fresno, CA and I was very spoiled growing up amongst all that fresh food growing there. Now that I’m in Texas I miss it!


6 Adrienne July 7, 2011 at 10:46 am

Ooooh, are those golden raspberries? Nice. Did you get to try the cherries?


7 Erin July 7, 2011 at 11:04 am

Yes to both 🙂 The golden raspberries were fantastic! They tasted better than the red version. Or it could have been the novelty factor…who knows…


8 Claire July 7, 2011 at 11:31 am

😀 Happy Boy Farms is one of my favorites. My sister’s partner worked for them for a while and still fills in at markets on occasion. The markets here are definitely great. We’re so spoiled. 🙂


9 Erin July 7, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Ahh yes … welcome to the awesome Farmers Markets of the west coast ;] You guys need to rent a Zip car and just drive south for a night! Stay in Morrow Bay or Carmel and go to Hearst Castle! Or Gilroy – and get some garlic! Or go east into Yosemite! Or or or or … ;]


10 dani July 7, 2011 at 4:40 pm

oh i wish we had a farmers marker in my town 🙁
this looks amazing!


11 Jess Mann July 8, 2011 at 5:08 am

All right Erin.
I think I can tell you about my favorite farmers market secret now.
The Civic Center Market, that’s right, as in, right at the base of the tenderloin, crawling with crackheads and screaming homeless people, is one of the city’s best hidden treasures.
Not only does it provide the downtown area with a much cheaper, yet just as varied, alternative to the Ferry Market (which is for the tourists beeteedubs), but it is the home to the fabled Date Man.
If you are anything like me, you warble the praises of the unsung date using it in baking, wine stewed over ice cream, snacking by itself or more extravagantly stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped with prosciutto (the devil on horseback) with a sexy glass of cab sav.
Sandwiched between the nut stall and the citrus station, across from the eggs and the bread but not as far down as the fish this itty bitty set up with hand written signs and a tell tale green tarp is the Date Man’s table.
He and his pert Asian wife, purvey every kind of date imaginable, sorted according to flavor, “chew chews” or “honey toffees” being familiar names. Even fleshy, fresh dates on the vine make an appearance. And here’s the kicker. Every sort is somewhere about two bucks a pound.
Sorry, got all excited there.
Good luck finding such a deal anyplace else.
I make sure to buy a couple of bags at any opportunity, and I savor them over a long, luscious time.
The Civic Center Market is held on wednesdays. Go urban Erin. You won’t regret it. I promise.


12 Erin July 8, 2011 at 7:35 am

How am I supposed to stand the wait until Wednesday now Jess!? I want dates now!! In all seriousness though thank you for the tip. I didn’t know about that market and the insane number of tourists at the Ferry Building give me fits. You are invaluable. Keep the hints coming please. I love them!


13 Carrie July 9, 2011 at 7:42 pm

i live in sunnyvale so i usually go to the sunnyvale farmers market but mountain view is just one town over so i think i’m going to have to check them out next week!!! your photos look amazing.


14 Erin @ The Speckled Palate July 11, 2011 at 3:37 pm

One day, I will experience a farmer’s market like that. Because it looks incredible. And I hope that you were able to bring home a bounty of different fruits, veggies and other foods!


15 Bee July 11, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Farmers Markets… this is why I really need to carry cash more often. I always stumble upon them and can never buy stuff! I really need to remedy this–glad you’re having fun in San Fran! It’s next on my list to visit.


16 kat July 11, 2011 at 8:19 pm

oh the mountain view is one of the BEST! in the peninsula, it truly is one of the largest. i go to the palo alto one but only because it’s three blocks from my house. and the bolani stuff….mmmmm! love it. i like to mix the pesto, mint cheese and that sweet jalapeno jelly on mine. you can also buy the bolani items at most whole foods. i think the one on 4th carries it in case you can’t wait until sunday!

i always pick up asparagus, seasonal fruit and some baked goods at mine.


17 cole July 12, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Beautiful pics! I’m collecting favorite summer veggie recipes on my blog – come by and link up your faves!


18 Eric F July 15, 2011 at 6:41 pm

Strawberry Jam. That way I can remember the summer when it gets cold up here in NY.


19 Hänni July 16, 2011 at 11:25 am

The farmer’s markets in Houston are so lame. You are lucky! What a beautiful assortment of goodies you got to take home.


20 Susan/Wild Yeast July 21, 2011 at 7:49 am

I found this post via the MV Farmer’sMarket Facebook page. The market is a few blocks from my house and it is indeed fantastic. Your market photos are lovely and the rest of your blog is, too!


21 Courtney July 24, 2011 at 3:57 pm

my favorite is the Santa Monica Farmer’s market on Sundays! They have the best breakfast stations


22 Christine August 10, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Hadn’t been to a farmer’s market for a couple years but recently recommitted to more organic foods & fresher than Whole Foods. Thursday I visited the Los Altos FM that includes Hidden Villa Farm. I love their work & wanted to see their offering. Everything had been picked that morning; I got lettuce, basil, lemon cukes, broccoli & bell pepper. Excellent! Bought wonderful nectarines & peaches from another stand. Looking forward to my next visit.


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