Farmers Market Dispatch: CUESA's Yard at Mission Rock Debuts

CUESA, one of the most devoted foodie nonprofits around, has launched a new pop-up farmers market at the Yard at Mission Rock, across from AT&T Park. We stopped by for the debut yesterday morning en route to the Folsom Street Fair, to snag some rare Bronx grapes and Nopalito totopos con chile y picadillo (kind of like chilaquiles, but without eggs, and very spicy).

Some 15-20 vendors and food crafters (among them Tory Farms, Dirty Girl, Kitchen Witch, and Koda Farms) plus half a dozen restaurants (including Shorty Goldstein’s, Belcampo Meats, Marla Bakery, Bini’s Kitchen, Four Barrel, and Three Babes Bakeshop) set up shop, transforming a parking lot into an oasis of edibles. Because CUESA is about education, there were demos, too: a DIY pickled peppers workshop, a hot sauce tasting, and a how-to in making fig conserva by 25 Lusk’s Chef Matthew Dolan.

Mission Bay might not be the most beautiful neighborhood in San Francisco, which may be why it’s been so historically underserved by the region’s agricultural vendors. Its acres of asphalt don’t hurt, either, especially for anyone who's ever attempted a drive to the Ferry Building.

“I can’t believe people live in these buildings,” said Robert MacKimmie of City Bees, as he showed off his various hyper-local honeys. “I’ve got Telegraph Hill, Dolores Park, and Arden Wood, which is right by Stern Grove. I use other people’s backyards, so I’m all over the city. This is a sweet market. I’m so happy [CUESA] put it together.”

And it’s not a one-off, either. The next go-round is a Harvest Festival on Sunday, Oct. 25, which will include an apple cider pressing, a fall fruit pie contest, and a pie-making demo with Three Babes Bakeshop. November’s iteration comes up just before Thanksgiving, too. It’s very refreshing when, to mutilate some Joni Mitchell lyrics for a second, CUESA takes over a parking lot and puts up a paradise.

The Yard at Mission Rock, Sunday, Oct. 25, Nov. 22, and Dec. 20, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., at Third St. and Terry Francois Blvd.


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