Beautiful Heirloom Tom-aaaah-toes
(click on the picture to enlarge)
I couldn't resist sharing this picture of Balakian Farm's tomatoes with you. The numbers of different sizes, shapes and colours available never ceases to amaze me. CUESA - The Centre for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture, has recently changed their website. They now have a great web page featuring all the farmers that sell at the Ferry Building. This is how I discovered that Balakian Farms is actually 200 miles from San Francisco, they were the only people I forgot to ask when shopping last week. A market organiser explained to me that they try and keep the market vendors from within the San Francisco Foodshed but that if a vendor from a little further away is allowed, it just means they are exceptional, that's all.
When I left the UK 4.5 years ago, I'd never hear of an heirloom tomato. I wonder if they've caught on in Europe yet?
PS. Yesterday's eating local challenge was more of a failure. I started well with a breakfast of Cowgirl Panir Cheese, June Taylor Cherry and Almond Conserve and a pluot from Frog Hollow Farms. For lunch we went to a little place close to our office called Seafood and Pasta Kitchen where I tried to ask the manageress about their food sources. She doesn't speak English as a first language so the conversation was a little difficult. From what I gathered, the fish is fresh, not frozen but it is delivered by a big company that serves San Francisco and Sacramento. She told me that in the mornings they get up early go to a market either in San Francisco or Oakland for vegetables. She said yes when I asked her if it was a farmers' market, but I suspect she, just means vegetable market, unless there are some for-trade farmers markets I don't know anything about. The fact that she was confused about why I was asking the questions, and wasn't prepared with any answers, suggests that most people really don't care about where their food comes from.
We went to buy some water. Fred refuses to drink anything but Perrier but I invested in a couple of bottles of local Calistoga instead. Then I weakened and had a Crunchie Bar. I'll call that a cultural necessity. In the evening, I met with seven friends for dinner at an ethnic restaurant I will be reviewing next week for SFist. I was totally out of energy for asking non-English speakers questions about food sources and so I drowned my sorrows in a pint of Boddingtons (another cultural necessity). I am sorry, I just couldn't face the Sierra Nevada. Failed!