Ramble On

Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Old Oakland Market

On Friday morning I had set up a short business meeting over coffee with a colleague near the Oakland Federal Building.  I walked the seven or so blocks up there, and to my surprise, found that I was strolling right through the middle of the Old Oakland Farmers Market. So while I thought I was finished writing about farmers markets this trip, it turns out I have one more in me.

I decided to go ahead and post since our vacation is coming to an end, and I won't have the chance to write again for a few days...maybe not even until next Tuesday.  Also, this will be a rare Saturday post - I can probably still count how many of those there were on one hand, even after seven years!

Turns out there is a decent market history in this part of Oakland - the farmers market is near a building that is named the Housewives Market, and it is similar to the Union Market building in DC.  Also, the blocks that are closed off for this one border on Oakland's China Town, and I heard Thai, Vietnamese, and Chinese being spoken among the clientele - so I expected to see regional offerings to reflect their tastes.

The two photos here show some Asian vegetables - bitter melon and Thai eggplant.  I also saw tables of greens (I may have had some of that lettuce and cilantro at dinner tonight over at Le Cheval), green beans, squash, and traditional eggplant, not to mention an incredible display of strawberries.

For value-add ag, there wasn't much to mention here - the size of the city and these neighborhoods probably make a straight produce set up profitable enough.  There was a booth offering "home made" soap, although the packaging suggested otherwise.

And then there was this incredible honey booth - large jars of it, and the proprietor even offers to recycle your old honey bottles.  Mary told me she'd seen an article somewhere that offered to set up bee hives, with the host getting a share of production.  I'm wondering if this booth is part of that operation.

So this will be the final post during the vacation.  I have a lot of material to write-up when we get back to Alexandria, probably enough to cover the month of June.  So until my next post, have a good one!

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