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Market Watch: What The Chefs Are Buying

Every week, Lulu Meyer gives us the scoop on the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.

Chefs from over 60 Bay Area restaurants come down to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market to find the best local products. Some spend hours here scoping out what’s hot this week, talking a little shop with their fellow chefs. This week I talked to a few of the chefs that make it a point to shop at the market not just on Saturdays but Tuesdays and Thursdays too. I asked what they were shopping for and what items they look forward to each spring:

Executive chef Jacob Des Voignes of Local: Mission Eatery picked up some horseradish, and some late season citrus like the Cara Cara oranges he is using this week in a marmalade that will be served on the restaurant’s braised lamb sandwiches. He had just bought pea shoots from Knoll Farms, and told me that he’s inspired by all the great spring greens coming into season. 

Nopa’s pastry chef Amy Brown was stocking up on spring basics like asparagus and fava greens for the restaurant. She told me she’s excited that the change in season will mean a break from citrus-based desserts and is looking forward to the chance to use fresh herbs and berries on her dessert menu.

Chef Phil West of Range was piling his cart up with broccoli di cicco and artichokes for his dinner menu and a box of white guava’s from Brokaw Nursery to be used in one or more of the restaurant’s eclectic cocktails. He also had a personal stash of strawberries to snack on as he maneuvered his way through the crowded Saturday market.

Picco’s Chef Jared Rodgers was wielding a cart laden with the last of the spring navel oranges, a hefty supply of arugula and several flats of strawberries. It’s the berries that Jared says he’s been most looking forward to this year.

Mission Beach Café’s Shawn Paul and Tobias Womack were on the hunt for some flowering arugula, bunches of beets, mushrooms and artichokes. The duo also seemed particularly jazzed about the breakfast radishes they scored at Dirty Girl Produce.