Heart of the City Farmers Market located in the Civic Center.

In 2006, I reported here about the Heart of the City Farmers Market, the oldest farmers market in San Francisco. Heart of the City has been in existence for 26 years, and is held each Wednesday from 7:00 am to 5:30 pm and each Sunday from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm. Even the hours of the market give you the clue that this is not the normal market that we have in the city — most other markets run for half days or a few hours each week.

There are several reasons to specifically attend the Heart of the City Farmers Market, which I remembered when attending both the Wednesday and the Sunday markets last week.

1) It’s a bargain. At Heart of the City, you can expect to leave with bags of produce spending very little money. The market location is a low-income area, and fruits and vegetables are priced to attract the neighbors. As a result, you will find very little organic produce, but you will find great produce from hard-working, local farmers.

Green garlic available in abundance this week.

2) Phan Farms. This is a farm that grows Asian produce in Sacramento. Recently, a friend mentioned that we have local dragon fruit available to us. I somewhat incredulously asked her what farmer was growing it, as it’s pretty unusual in our part of the world. When she told me Phan Farm, I wrote, “Thanks – I should have known. When in doubt, the answer is always Phan Farms.” Phan is the place you go when you need specialty Asian fruits and vegetables, or just to see produce that usually can’t be found at local farmers markets. This week, I picked up some young ginger from them. Phan Farms attends the Heart of the City Market on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Rare bergamot lemons from De Santis Farm.

3) De Santis Farm. This is a farm out of the Central Valley that grows many different varieties of citrus. Over the course of a year, I buy green walnuts, Buddha’s hand, pomelos, delicious Satsuma mandarins, and any variety of specialty citrus from this farming family. Last week, De Santis had bergamot lemons. They set me back a whopping $9 for two, but it was fun to try out this unusual fruit. De Santis attends the market on Wednesdays only.

4) Waffle Mania. There is quite a stir happening on the Internet about a waffle maker who drives his truck into local farmers markets and serves up delicious Belgian waffles. When I tasted the waffles, it took me back to the same delectable that I’d eaten walking around the streets of Europe many years ago. The only time you can have these waffles in San Francisco proper is Wednesday mornings at the Heart of the City Market.

If you are a farmers market shopper, I can’t recommend this market enthusiastically enough. It’s a part of San Francisco’s history, is a vibrant market full of a representative cross-section of San Franciscans, and an enjoyable place to shop.

Heart of the City Farmers Market
Market Street
(between Seventh and Eighth streets)
(415) 558-9455
Wednesdays, 7:00 am – 5:30 pm
Sundays, 7:00 am – 5:00 pm

Revisiting the Heart of the City Farmers Market 22 January,2008Jennifer Maiser

  • Anita

    Holy cow, I should be selling the bergamots from our tree, at those prices!

  • Jennifer Maiser

    A –

    I came home and tried to decide what to do with my lonely bergamot and looked up your bergamotcello recipe. I had to laugh b/c you used like 15 or something? There’s no way I could afford that. 🙂


Jennifer Maiser

“My passion for food began young.”

I am the editor of the influential website www.EatLocalChallenge.com which encourages readers to support local farmers and producers.

I began my personal website, Life Begins at 30, in 2003.

I have been published in Edible San Francisco and Fine Cooking, write regularly for Bay Area Bites, Serious Eats, and have been quoted in many nationwide publications. Photography is a passion, and I have had photos printed in National Geographic Traveler and Travel + Leisure.

I contributed to a Williams-Sonoma cookbook: Cooking from the Farmers’ Market, which was released in February 2010.

I live in San Francisco, California and can often be found at local farmers markets seeking out the best of what’s in season and chatting with farmers.

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