The Ferry Plaza Farmers Market today was a husk of its former self: sparse, somewhat silent, and eerily still. But San Franciscans still came out — albeit in smaller droves — to get their locally sourced produce, making sure to practice proper social distancing all the while.
The lines that did exist at the prestigious farmer's market today were no more than a few people deep. Inside, the Ferry Building’s expansive halls echoed heavy footsteps. Caution tape surrounded vendor stands, reiterating the need for proper social distancing.
And, yes, there were plenty of on-site hand washing stations available to use.
“PLEASE GIVE [SIX FEET] SD FOR SOCIAL DISTANCING[,] WE CAN DO THIS,” reads a computer paper-printed sign splayed at one seller's stand, as pictured in the Chronicle’s coverage of today’s quiet Ferry Building farmers' market. “PLEASE REMAIN BEHIND THE ROPE[,] WE WILL SERVE YOU,” another states.
Saturday’s lukewarm business was, possibly, a foreshadowing of the days to come for the legendary Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. At the very least, the observed rules and policies represent a required change in normal habits — like, say, handling produce at whim — for the foreseeable future.
“Usually people just dive in and grab things,” remarked Annabelle Lenderink, manager of the Star Route Farms stand, to the Chronicle’s Steve Rubenstein. “Obviously we can’t have that right now, we want people staying away from each other and from the vegetables.”
Patrons who flocked to the market today professed that outings like this, amidst everything going on, are important to their wellbeing. For some, it’s a borderline religious experience.
“Our customers cherish their time here,” said Brie Mazurek, a market spokeswoman, to the media outlet. “Many have been indoors all week.”
“We’re open, we’re an essential public service and people seem grateful we’re here,” Mazurek adds. “We’re a community, we’re like a church to some people.”
Restaurants in the Ferry Building are also reeling. A-frames that line the outside of the plaza make it clear many eateries inside are still open for pickup and delivery. Boulettes Larder + Boulibar — a women-owned brunch touchstone in the Embarcadero — for example, posted on Instagram reminding people to show “love & support” for our local farmers' markets and to also extend those same courtesies toward San Francisco’s eating houses.
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PLEASE READ... boulettes larder & boulibar Amaryll Schwertner & Lori Regis & the BL/BB Family CORONAVIRUS MESSAGE TO OUR BELOVED GUESTS MARCH 19 - APRIL 8, 2020 STAY HOME + STAY SAFE, EVERYONE ! . We miss you! We're heartbroken not to be feeding you and serving you right now. . We believe strongly in the City's collective effort to keep us all safe: for the sake of everyone we love, let's all Stay Home + Stay Safe. . We encourage you to show love & support to our local farmers, fisherman & food-makers during this time: at the Farmer's Market, online, or in stores. . We're watching the situation closely—and in the meantime, we're cooking up some beautiful new Boulettes Larder offerings for easy pickup & delivery. (More to come soon on this; we're shooting for an April 8 rollout.) . We'll be doubling-down on our cleaning, sanitizing, and protective regimen— to ensure your safety and to safeguard the well-being of our team. . We're committed to doing everything we can (under these rapidly-changing conditions) to support the individual members of our team. . We are more committed than ever to nourishing you——body and soul and every sense in between. We hope and believe we'll get through this scary, uncertain time together—and we can't wait for the day when we can all eat and drink together!
Sift through more social media postings of Saturday’s tepid Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, below. And next time you're about to hit up Safeway for a head of romaine lettuce, think about grabbing one at a nearby farmer's market instead.
The Ferry Plaza Farmers Market is open today for your essential food needs! Farmers markets are exempt from the State of California order to stay home, as they provide an essential service for community food access. pic.twitter.com/hsc3JlyU2G— CUESA (@CUESA) March 21, 2020
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Thank you all for coming out to the Farmers Market! We are facing a ton of difficult decisions lately and continuing to go to the markers is one of them. We have an incredible online store and the thought of sending our people out there taking away the focus on the farmers and our local agriculture just doesn’t seem like the right decision. We welcome any feedback or advice you would like to give us because well... life is really difficult right now and making decisions based on gut instinct is what we do best. We LOVE you Granola Lovers and can’t wait to read your wanted valuable advice 🥰🥰 In Community, NJG TEAM
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#shelterinplace Day 5: When life gives you lemons, visit the farmers markets! 🍋 Since the grocery stores were low on produce, we hit up farmers market at the Ferry Building today. We heard on the local news that the Farmers Markets in SF are open because they are considered a necessity. 💐 These small farms and businesses are hurting, especially because they usually sell in bulk to local restaurants. Think about it, large grocery store chains aren't going anywhere soon, but small businesses will be the first to go. #shoplocal #shopsmallbusiness 🧀 I loved being in the fresh air opposed to confined grocery store aisles and being too close to people. There are fewer booths, way less people, no lines, and plenty of produce, pasta, peppers, flowers, cheeses, and meats. Almost everyone was wearing gloves, including shoppers, booths were spaced out and they even have a hand washing station! @square has a feature now to not have us sign when we pay to avoid touching people's devices. 🥕 Also The Pasta Shop is taking pre-orders if you know you're coming back next week so you're guaranteed your pasta and sauces! 🍝 If you are healthy and able to, please support small businesses and visit your local farmers markets! Thank you!
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Image: Wikimedia Commons