Tag Archives: farmers market

Meet Gail Hayden, the godmother of California farmers markets

Hayden has been at the forefront of the farmers market revolution in California for 40 years.

(Published by South Bay Accent magazine in May, 2019)

Farmers markets have been supplying towns and villages with fresh produce for eons, with these lively bazaars feeding citizens worldwide as well as serving as social institutions in the community. Thomas Jefferson reportedly bought his meat, eggs and vegetables in the early 1800s at a Georgetown farmers market and billions of less-renowned individuals have historically relied on such operations. But unlike in Europe and Asia, farmers markets in America dwindled away as industrialization rose, farms got fewer and larger and bureaucracies interceded.

Gail Hayden helped change that. Continue reading


Grazing at Local Farmers Markets

Farmer’s-Market-1Sure, farmers markets are great places to buy produce, but they’re also a tasty source of ready-to-eat foods.

(Published by South Bay Accent in April, 2014.)

The South Bay’s best al fresco dining these days is taking place at a farmers market near you. Years ago, when the much smaller number of local farmers markets had not yet been discovered by the masses, kettle corn was the ready-to-eat snack amidst all the produce vendors.  Things have changed dramatically since then. As markets have proliferated, a new generation of food vendors has turned South Bay farmers markets into veritable outdoor food courts where the offerings are fresh, tasty and often preceded by irresistible samples. Continue reading

The Baker Behind the Manresa Bread Project

breadIn just two hours, every crumb of bread made by Manresa baker Avery Ruzicka is sold out at the Sunday farmers markets.

(See previous article on chef David Kinch of Manresa.)

Not all labors of love get suitable recognition but as many happy tummies will attest, the Manresa Bread Project hasn’t been languishing in obscurity.  While the restaurant’s recent celebrity is a factor in this, much of the acclaim is due to the passion of Manresa’s young baker, Avery Ruzicka. Continue reading

Munching at Local Farmers Markets

(This article appeared in the San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times and Oakland Tribune on April 6, 2011.)

Barlovento Chocolates is one of the delicious examples of ready-to-eat foods at Bay Area farmers markets

Besides the expected — great produce — some local farmers markets also deliver outrageously good ready-to-eat food.  From to-die-for sorbets and hand-made chocolates to seasoned dried kale that makes regular chips a greasy anachronism, market vendors these days are selling edibles that easily pass any discriminating-foodie taste test.

Besides being delicious, some of these well-received market products have also propelled vendors into new venues, from storefronts and restaurants to appearances in grocery chains.  And such success stories are igniting aspirations among vendors who want to be the next Bruce Aidells Sausage Company (sold by its founder for millions in 2002), Blue Bottle Coffee (now with a roasting plant, online operation and retail presence) or Bakesale Betty (two cafes). Continue reading