Mark Sullivan, Executive Chef of Spruce Restaurant, comes to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market weekly to pick up fresh fruit, heirloom vegetables and a little inspiration. Mark’s menu changes seasonally and the smells and tastes at each farmers’ stands are an important part of his creative process. Mark’s kitchen is also supplied with herbs and vegetables from the restaurant’s private farm, SMIP Ranch.
SMIP Ranch is a small Woodside-based operation that exists mainly to source Spruce, and its sister restaurants, The Village Pub, Mayfield Bakery and Café des Amis (SMIP is an acronym for a Latin phrase meaning, "so we shall remain in peace"). This year SMIP Ranch welcomed two new farm managers, Mary Colombo and Brian Shipman, former employees of County Line Harvest, the farm that just happens to source Spruce’s favorite local chicories.
Besides the chicories from County Line, this week at the market, Chef Sullivan was on a quest for citrus. His first stop was the Hamada Farms booth where each week Mark and a handful of the city’s finest chefs can be found putting in orders with farmer Clifford Hamada. In the summer months the Kingsburg-based Hamada Farms, is known for their stone fruit, but come early winter their stand is well-stocked with Satsumas, Navel oranges, Kishu mandarins, Yuzu, Meyer lemons and other citrus. Mark had his eyes on some Tahitian pomelos that he would be serving with scallops, blood oranges for a grilled fish entree and kumquats that he was thinking of pairing with duck breast.