Market Watch: Baker and Banker at the Ferry Plaza
Lori Baker and Jeff Banker, the husband-and-wife team behind Baker and Banker Restaurant, were recently spotted at the market stocking up on ripe, juicy organic strawberries at Yerena Farms. Lori, the pastry chef, had her eyes on them for a strawberry and champagne sorbet, as well as a seasonal fruit crisp with an oatmeal and brown sugar crumble topping.
While Lori shopped for red berries, Jeff, the mastermind behind the savory side of the Baker and Banker menu, was scoping out green strawberries reserved in the back of the booth for some of farmer Poli Yerena’s restaurant clients. At the very start of this year’s strawberry season, Poli had been displaying the green berries on his tables for regular customers, encouraging them to try pickling them—a trend that has caught on with chefs and market shoppers alike over the past few years. Poli told me that now that his berry season is in full swing, his crew is only harvesting green berries for pre-order or for his restaurant accounts and chefs like Jeff Banker.
In addition to berries, Jeff and Lori source most of what they use in their kitchen from their bi-weekly trips to the farmers markets. “Right now we are getting a lot of veggies from County Line Harvest, peas and fava beans from Iacopi Farms, and tatsoi and other greens from Star Route. We print our menu every day and change a few things once or twice a week depending on what comes into season or what looks good to us at the market,” Jeff told me.
When I met up with the couple at the Tuesday market a couple of weeks ago, they were literally counting down the days until the birth of their second child, Benjamin Banker, who was born just a few days later. Baker and Banker is currently taking a hiatus from their weekly brunch service so that Lori and Jeff can focus on hanging out with baby Benjamin, but they will remain open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday. You can also stop by their bakery, which features Lori’s creations and is open Wednesday through Sunday 9 am to 5 pm.