Few things signal that warm weather is right around the corner like strolling through a farmer’s market in San Francisco’s afternoon sun. Luckily, the nonprofit Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA) is bringing back the Mission Community Market on Thursday, March 11.
Established in 2010, the Mission Community Market is a traditional open-air farmers market, which typically features food, live music, and local crafts. Live music and crafts are on hold due to coronavirus safety restrictions, but while the market is losing out on entertainment they are gaining in space for new vendors.
Masa, tortilla, sope, salsa, and guisado-maker Bolita joins the market this month as a brand-new business, while the regenerative dairy farm Alexandre Family Farm is also a recent addition to the market. The market will take place from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at 22nd and Bartlett streets.
“Farmers markets are crucial for building a following and building community on a neighborhood and city level,” says Bolita owner Emmanuel Galvan. He started Bolita in his home in the Mission, selling masa via Instagram. “I am excited to return to the neighborhood that built Bolita,” he says.
Old classics still remain. Avila Farms, Blue House Farms, Happy Boy Farms, and Urban Organics will offer delicious fresh fruits and vegetables, while specialty vendors like Far West Fungi offer organically grown and wild mushrooms. Stop by Delightful foods for a delicious pie, or Roti for homemade curries, dips, and chutney. Other shops offer freshly made pasta, hummus, and beautiful flower bouquets. Ready-to-eat items like tacos and pizza will also be available for customers who need a snack while they shop.
In recent years, the market has become a vital grocery shopping destination for San Franciscans using CalFresh for food assistance. Last year alone Calfresh usage at the market more than doubled, with customers spending nearly $24,000 worth of aid. Customers who want to double their aid up to $10 a day can do so through the nonprofit’s Market Match program. These customers receive small wooden tokens at the CUESA information booth that can be used to purchase fruits and vegetables throughout the market. Through this program, farmers gain new shoppers and a chance to earn added income.
Safety is paramount at the Mission farmers market. Mask wearing is required, and booths have been spread out so as to better accommodate social distancing. The Makeout Room has graciously partnered with CUESA to provide hand washing stations, too. To reduce socializing, children’s activities have also been cancelled.
CUESA also operates the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. That market is open Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. More information about each can be found about both markets on CUESA’s website.