“Heart of the City” is probably the second cheesiest name ever for a market, being only narrowly beat out by “Tony’s Fruit-Splosion!” on Highway 70 in Marysville. But, we never call it by its official name and really, who does besides the market itself on its website? Civic Center Farmers’ Market or even CiCeFaMa, sounds so much better… And while it’s not the biggest, most assorted or fanciest farmers’ market out there in this food-obsessed city (and it only happens twice a week), I feel the need to declare my unconditional love for the HOCFM publicly.
The Tenderloin is a neighborhood seriously lacking proper grocery stores, as mentioned by District 6 Supervisor candidate Theresa Sparks in this interview (go to 12:20 – the interview is painfully long and at times as boring as a Wednesday night at The Ambassador, but there are a few interesting comments about the Tenderloin). I hope Sparks’ idea of offering incentives to grocery stores to move into the Tenderloin materializes, but in the meantime I feel lucky and incredibly thankful for this farmers market. I don’t have a car, and short of spending 3 hours roundtrip in going to Trader Joe’s, my only option for grocery shopping are the little convenience stores with expired packaged stuff and little fresh produce short of their inherent mold aisles. But, as explained in this must-read article on how the poor pay more for everything, that sucks.
According to their website, the HOCFM was started in June 1981 (next year, 30th birthday party!) as part of an effort to help people gain access to a basic resource: food. They started with only 14 farmers, and today they have an average of 65. They’re mostly selling fruits and vegetables, but also fish, chickens, mushrooms, nuts, pop-corn, flowers, honey, home-made pasta and a few other good things. You can see some of them in these few shots I took this morning. After which I proceeded to buying a whole box of strawberries for $6, two bunches of sunflowers for $5, 3 pounds of cherry tomatoes for $2 and fresh mint & basil for $1. You can’t beat that.