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Feb 13th
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Foodie Road Trip

dining_ferrybuildingThe Ferry Building Farmers Market is a community celebration

San Francisco's Ferry Building Farmers Market is considered one of the best in the country for its diversity of produce and the uniqueness of artisinal foodstuffs. Each week, its three markets attract 25,000 visitors, the largest one on Saturdays.

In the spirit of sustainability I gathered canvas bags, a trio of reusable mesh produce bags ($7.50 Bed Bath & Beyond) and stepped onto Metro's 17 Express bus just before 7 a.m. to catch Caltrain at San Jose's Diridon Station. From an upstairs seat overlooking homes and fruit-laden citrus trees I pondered the juxtaposition of graffiti-tagged warehouses and backyard tennis courts.

The Sunnyvale Caltrain parking lot was covered with farmers market canopies, a scene that would be repeated at the Belmont and Mountain View stations on Sunday. I envisioned a future in which our own little train would connect us with North Coast farmers at a Davenport market.

Cater-corner from the San Francisco station I hopped on the Muni's T-trolley for a short ride down to the rejuvenated Embarcadero, disembarking just past the Bay Bridge. It was a short walk along the bay toward the clock-faced spire of the 1898 ferry building.

At the pier's entrance, cooks griddled pancakes and French toast for the hungry hordes. I worked my way back to find the farmers. Like a kid in a candy store not knowing where to start, I waited at Healdsburg's Downtown Bakery for a sweet glaze-drizzled, currant-studded hot cross bun ($2). I savored its flavors of ginger and orange peel as I took my first pass around the booths.

Purveyors, mainly from the North Bay, included our own Dirty Girl Farms. The line was long at Primavera Mexican where corn tortillas are made on the spot. The wait was even longer at Rolli Roti where rotisserie chicken turned on long spits in the back of the truck. There was Pea Sprout Pesto from a vegan-raw deli, sustainably farmed Tomales Bay Oysters from Hog Island Oyster Company, bags of multi-hued potatoes, goat summer sausage, eerily shaped mushrooms, and aromatic smoked fish. Marin Sun Farms sold fresh meat, sausages, and a stock kit complete with chicken feet.

From Napa's Fatted Calf Charcuterie, I chewed on long fingers of old world sausage sec ($2). From the Coachella Valley came Flying Disk Ranch's eco-dynamic dates. I chose big, dark, sugary Medjools ($8/lb.) and milder tan Zahidi ($4/lb.). I picked a hefty one-and-a-half pound Olympia brown-skinned Asian pear ($3.25/lb.); white-fleshed, crisp and sugary, and a thick-skinned one-pound grapefruit ($1.25/lb.) crossed with a pomello for sweetness. The strong flavor of Petaluma's Point Reyes new blue cheese is perfect for salads. Also strong was Cowgirl Cheese's organic soft-ripened Red Hawk that puts Camembert to shame.

Although the round trip ($31) cost more than driving, the reposeful ride was worth it. But I was dismayed to learn that Caltrain is considering discontinuation of weekend and Giants' game service altogether on July 1, which is a huge blow to my personal environmental footprint reduction. Share your opinion at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, Embarcadero and Market Street, San Francisco. Tuesdays and Thursdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visit ferrybuildingmarketplace.com/farmers_market.php.

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Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

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