Where to buy produce

GoldenproduceI know, I know. The obvious conclusion to that title is the farmer’s market. But the reality is that the farmer’s markets in town are profoundly inconvenient for me. When I do get to go to them, it’s as a field trip, and excursion, a lark. It’s not sustainable for me, pardon the pun.

Luckily, in a place like San Francisco, good fruit and veg is readily available at good markets all over town. No one store satisfies every need, but there are four spots that I frequent most often. Not coincidentally, they form a nearly straight line along a north-south corridor that limns my transportation options.

1. Golden Produce, 172 Church St @ Market
Why anyone would bother to buy one single vegetable at Church Street Safeway when Golden Produce is literally across the street is beyond me. Golden has pretty much everything you need, plus a little more, and a healthy dose of exotic/ethnic produce in there for good measure.

2. Bi-Rite, 3639 18th St btwn Dolores/Guerrero
Sure, you pay dearly for the privelege of shopping there, but Bi-Rite’s produce, in particular anything that comes from the owners’ family’s Balaikan Farms is unbeatable. Local, fresh, ripe and close to the source.

3. Valencia Farmer’s Market, 1229 Valencia St @ 24th
Not a farmer’s market at all, but a good little hippie dippie market with good produce and a goodly amount of tofu and other health food staples. Excellent fruit here, and often at better prices than other places even within the Mission.

4. Nameless produce market, 1798 Church St @ 30th
I honestly have no idea what the name of this market is, but it never ceases to amaze me. They sport a constantly changing array of fresh produce, sometimes rather boutiquey. A couple of weeks ago I passed by and they had a box full of gorgeous tiny purple artichokes. Last week we found plump Romano beans, and for our anniversary dinner on Friday we got adorable baby zucchini smaller than your pinky. Considering how woeful the market situation is in Noe Valley generally, this place is a pure godsend. Plus, it’s close to Drewe’s, which makes for one two-stop shopping.

Edit: Just found a receipt. It’s called Church Produce. Original.

  • Thanks for the report! I’ve been to the first three in your list but haven’t gotten the chance to visit the no-name market. 30th and Church is a bit further out on the J line than I typically have the patience for, but it sounds like a pretty cool place to check out!

  • I’m tellin’ ya – it’s worth the trip. Plus, consider that it’s right on the J and 24 lines, so it’s not that out of the way if you’re anywhere in the Castro/Noe/Mission/Bernal area.

  • I can’t wait to try Church Produce. We used to live around the corner from Golden and it was amazing to me how much of my grocery shopping I could get done there without visiting the Safeway of Doom.

  • huff

    i used to live across the street from the market on 30th and church, up until about 2 years ago. it is easily one of the best produce markets, if not the best, in the city that i’ve come across in 15 years here in town. plus, you know it’s good and cheap because all of the firehouses in the area shop there; half the time during the day the street is choked with double-parked fire trucks.