Saying Goodbye, from Andy

The numbers don’t lie. Since the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market moved from its temporary site at Green Street to the Ferry Building our gross receipts have fallen. Meanwhile, our farm’s costs, like labor, diesel, insurance, electricity, seeds, and supplies continue to rise. If I thought that raising prices for our vegetables would make our farmers market stall more profitable I would do so, but I doubt that charging more is going to make much difference over the long haul. This candid posting about the Ferry Plaza Market from the Yelp web site by “Toro E.” in April, 2006, is instructive. After making glowing comments about the market’s setting and the prepared foods Toro writes, “ I usually leave the place with only few things in my hand.  I know many people do all their grocery shopping here, but I think it’s easier to get that done at Trader Joe’s, throwing bags in the car trunk rather than lugging it back from Ferry Plaza walking. ”

The market has changed. Many farms have changed with it by turning their attention towards providing value added products like juices, preserves, herbal salts, and snacks that can be eaten out of hand. We’ve changed at Mariquita Farm too, by focusing on serving the restaurant trade to make up for lost retail sales. I figure that if I can’t sell fresh vegetables to diners and tourists, then I’ll sell my vegetables to the chefs that cook for them. But with a selection of bulky, fresh, wet, dripping, heavy crops that need to be prepared, we are ill suited to take advantage of the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market’s upscale retail demographics. Vegetables we don’t sell at market can’t go back into inventory the way salted nuts or frozen juices can, but have to be counted as a loss against the day’s sales. The farms that we compete with at market for the cooking public’s vegetable dollars are better than they’ve ever been too, and there are more of them. Sometimes the hardest business decision to make well is to decide when to quit. Ego gets in the way.

Julia and I are proud of the contribution that our farm has made to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market over the years. We’ve been there since the beginning. We’re bowing out now, but my ego isn’t sore. I’m not quitting farming, I’m just changing how we do business. Our farm is stable and solvent. I’m sad, because over the years Julia and I have made many friends in San Francisco, and we won’t be able to see them every week any more. Saturday at the farmers market has been the high point of our social lives for years, and no matter whether Julia or I went to the market, the first question we’ve always asked each other when the truck got back to the ranch wasn’t, “How much money did you make?” but “Who did you see?”

Thinking back, it’s hard to fix on any moment that was the high point of the farmers market for me. I remember once I was able to display a harvest of strawberries, sweet peas, basil, lavender, mint, and thyme all at once, and the fragrance was almost overwhelming. Customers stopped in front of the stall like I’d clubbed them with a mallet. One woman, who worked as a Muni driver, said that my stall smelled so good it made her want to cry. That was a nice morning.
 
I remember, too, the first time I sold vegetables to Mr. Lawrence Ferlinghetti. I grew up in the middle of nowhere, and San Francisco always seemed as distant to me as Constantinople. In high school, when I was 15, our class took a field trip to the Steinhart Aquarium, and I slipped away from the schools of fish and crossed town for a pilgrimage to the City Lights Bookstore. My literature teacher, Wally LeValley, had been a taxi driver in North Beach during the poetry renaissance, and he turned me on to the Beat writers. Mr. Ferlinghetti. had a lot of moxie to take on the Federal Government and fight for the right for the right to publish Ginsberg’s poem Howl. He won that battle so that any of us can publish uncensored poetry! That was a real Patriot Act. So years later, when Mr. Ferlinghetti came to my stall for broccoli and cippolini, it made me feel good to have something for sale that he appreciated.

All the years in the Ferry Plaza Farmers market gave me a chance to meet a lot of interesting San Franciscans, but some of the most pleasant times at every market have been the moments at dawn just before the people showed up when I could step back and admire all the colors and smells and shapes in my vegetable display. I’d pause for a moment, and then, back at Green Street, the flock of parrots from Telegraph Hill would swoop over the market, right on schedule, squawking and scandalizing in their flight as they made their way to their hidden gardens. Then the crowds would pour into the parking lot, and the day would be a blur until I’d get home and tell Julia who I’d seen.

Customers who’ve shopped with us since the beginning can remember how many times  I’ve changed our farm’s mix of products over the years. I started out with salad greens and tomatoes, then turned to herbs, flowers and strawberries, and more lately focused on bunched greens and heirloom Italian vegetables. It’s never enough to just grow vegetables to survive as a farmer. The challenge of farming is to change as fast as the marketplace does. The only thing that doesn’t change is the fact that everything always changes. Like the poet said, “He not busy being born is busy dying.” We’re not dying at Mariquita Farm, we’re just molting.

Julia and I plan to focus ourselves on  Two Small Farms community supported agriculture program that we run in partnership with High Ground Organic Farms, and we intend to improve service to our restaurant account. Julia and I are going to keep putting out our Ladybug Letter because it’s a project we enjoy doing together, and we’ve started a blog because we want to stay in touch with the people we’ve met as best we can. Look for a newsletter article soon on how Mariquita Farm goats are working to restore native California coastal prairie habitat at High Ground Organic Farm in Watsonville.

And we’re going to continue to open Mariquita Farm up to the public for u-picks and open houses. This summer I hope to host America’s first Pimiento de Padron u-pick. Maybe I can convince one of my chef friends to come and toast some peppers in a skillet so that we can all enjoy tapas. Laura Kummerer, the native plant specialist who is guiding the habitat restoration project at High Ground with my goats, is planning to host a no charge field trip to show any interested people what we’re up to. High Ground is a gorgeous ranch, so I encourage you to visit. Check our next newsletter or our blog for details of this, and other events. When my crop of red flowered fava beans is ready to harvest I’d like to share the seed with gardeners who would like to help me pick and clean the crop. Details tba when the beans begin to dry.

The Ferry Plaza Farmers Market has been good to us over the years, and any number of times a good day at market helped us make payroll. Julia and I can feel confident as we evolve our new marketing strategy in part because we have met so many chefs and restauranteurs at market over the years. It is our hope that another small farm can take our space and grow into a strong, sustainable business by taking advantage of the unique opportunity that the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market offers. I’m grateful for the opportunity I had to serve on the Ferry Plaza Board. It was a great education. I want to thank all of you for your support over the years, and I especially want to thank farmers market’s founding Executive Director, Ms. Sibella Kraus, for inviting us into the market in the first place. I’m grateful for all the work the C.U.E.S.A. staff puts in on behalf of farmers like us and I’m thankful to Dexter Carmichael, the manager, for all the hard work he’s put in over the years. Thanks again. I’ll miss you all. Andy

here’s a gift to all our ‘frequent market customers’: a virtual farm bouquet of unexpected agricultural flowers

Julia’s note: I’ll MISS THE MARKET. And…. we hope to see many of our frequent customers and friends down on our farm when we have open days, and at dinners we’ll attend and host with restaurants we sell to.  -julia

38 Responses to “Saying Goodbye, from Andy”


  1. 1 jen maiser

    Andy and Julia … you will be sorely missed. You will be a farm that I will eventually tell my children about as one of the greats who used to come to the FPFM. I will continue to hunt down your produce at every restaurant I can, and will try and make it down for as many u-picks as possible.

  2. 2 Brett Emerson

    The market is never the same when your stall isn’t there, so I’m incredibly sad to learn that you won’t be coming to the Saturday market any longer. I’ve been going to the market since it began over a decade ago, and you’re right. It has changed. If the changes haven’t supported the farmers — the whole reason we go to the market — we all have to ask ourselves if the changes have been for the better. I look forward to the day when my restaurant opens (later this year) so that I can buy produce from you and support you in that way.

    (On a lighter note, I also look forward to the u-pick pimientos de padrón!)

  3. 3 ruth

    You were one of the two last remaining motives to get up early on Saturday! I’ll miss you so much, and several friends will too. I always stopped by your stall even if I didn’t buy anything (which was rarely!)
    I wish you all the best in your future endeavors and I hope I can find replacements for your delectable produce. I would never have heard of nor tried Erbette Chard and many other lovely heirlooms were it not for you.

    Ruth

  4. 4 paula linton

    god this depresses me more than i can say
    i loved seeing you all at the market and especially loved it when you brought yor children
    the company i work for, greenleaf, doesn’t sell your wonders so now what do i do? guess it’s time for a csa-but the real delight was seeing all your craft and genius and relating it to all you wonderful words
    you and all who make your farm are treasures and great sustainers of mind, body and soul
    i am deeply feeling the loss
    all my best wishes
    long may you thrive
    paula linton

  5. 5 Marcus Rector

    This is very sad. I’ve missed you the past few weeks, but time and change are a necessary part of any business. I’ll see you at you-pick tomatoes, if not before.
    Good luck, blue skies and green lights.
    Marcus

  6. 6 Linda Collery

    Although I rarely make it up to the FPFM (I now live in San Carlos), it was comforting to me to know that you were there. On the rare occasions I did come up, I always purchased wonderful items from your stand. I hope to come down for u-picks and look forward to continuing to read your blog. The very best to your family.

  7. 7 Rosi Bustamante

    Oh no! We are one of those families who look up to you and your great produce! You were almost the only reason we visited the FPFM, and now we will no longer have any reason to go! (well, maybe to scout out any new farms, like you suggest… but finding a “FIND” like you and Julia is hard to do!!!)
    Boo hoo…!
    Now that you’ll dedicate more time to Two Small Farms, is there any way you would consider offering boxes every two weeks, or half boxes, to make up for not-so-consistent vegetable consumers and busy familes such as ourselves, who won’t be able to get just-the-perfect-amount-of-veggies we used to pick weekly at the FPFM? We would greatly appreciate it!
    Oh, we will MISS YOU!!!!
    A fan family

  8. 8 andy

    Hello, now I’m logged in as Andy, but this is really Julia:

    yes, you can request and every other week box, just ask and Zelda will likely be able to do it. We only have one size box in our CSA, we used to have 2 sizes, but very few folks wanted the large size. So we took our ‘half share’ and made it into a ’share’.

    Thanks to everyone for their kind words! We are *not* stopping farming at all. We will still work 6 days a week: but I want that 6th day to be more like a half day rather than a double day, you know?!

    peace, Julia

  9. 9 Lisa

    How very Sad. When I think of the SF Farmers Market I think of your farm, your cheerful faces, and your inspiring produce. Although I haven’t been in over a year– I relocated to the lovely town of Venice (Julia’s hometown!)I feel close to SF by the simple pleasure of receiving and reading your newsletter.
    Thank you for giving us chefs an opportunity to be inspired– without farmers like you there would be no great chefs.

    Lisa

  10. 10 Broccoli Addict

    Must. Have. Broccoli di Cicco.
    Must. Have. Broccoli di Cicco.
    Must. Have. Brocooli…Andy?
    Andy is that you…?
    The broccoli Andy…must…have…broccoli…
    The light.
    Oh, I see the bright white light.
    Andy?
    Andy? Are you there?
    The light.
    I see you Andy…I’m going towards the light…the broccoli light.
    Must. Have. Broccoli…
    Ahhh.
    Ahhh. The light is broccoli.
    Uhnn.
    Broc.
    Co.
    Liiiiii…

  11. 11 Morton

    Have you considered the Berkeley Farmers’ Market? I’ve talked to a few vendors who used to sell at FPFM, were unhappy with the trends in tourists and prepared foods, and are now happily settled in Berkeley. The patrons are very passionate about food, and far more interested in heirloom vegetables than crepes and popcorn. You see a lot of people pushing carts full to the brim with fruits, vegetables, fresh eggs and meat, even when it’s pouring rain outside. There is a strong emphasis on organic and beyond organic foods, and patrons will happily pay a higher price for quality produce. There are only a few prepared food vendors, and those vendors are required to purchase the majority of their produce from other stalls. So, before you give up on Farmers’ Markets altogether, come to Berkeley on a Saturday and check out our market, and be sure to talk to the folks running things at the Ecology Center booth. I think your stall would be a big hit here.

  12. 12 julia

    Hello, Morton:

    thanks for your note about Berkeley: we used to do that market. We loved it, but doing both Saturday markets was too much. (one truck, two markets, one bridge: it was a very long day!)

    Andy and I feel a little bit like we’ve ‘graduated’. We’ve found our other two marketing efforts (CSA and restaurants) to have virtually no waste at all: every leaf and root harvested is sold. I have to make sure my own name in on our CSA list so I have vegetables for my own kitchen!

    Farmers markets have been great, before our CSA we were doing up to 20 markets a week in high season. Our philosophy is that farmers markets are for farmers looking for outlets to sell their produce, that’s been true for decades, really for millennia. (uh oh, a latin plural! help!)

    We want that spot & niche at FPFM to be for other newer farmers, ones that are EXCITED to get up and go and interact with their public. We like the rule that CUESA has that the farmers themselves need to show up at least once or twice a month, it was never a problem for us. I wish we showed up even more and other farmers did too! Support the farms where the farmers themselves are, they are generally the ones who need the sales the most in my experience.

    Also: after doing the 20 markets a week several years ago we chose FPFM and Berkeley because they were by far the ‘cleanest’ markets in terms of very few if any folks just reselling stuff and pretending to be farms. It got old to compete with clowns like that, and no, I’m not going to name names here. :-)
    I hope other farms will find the interest and possibility to grow ‘the weird stuff’!

    julia

  13. 13 Paul Homchick

    Indeed, very sad. Mariquita Farms was always the highlight of my weekly visit to the Ferry Plaza farmers market. The produce was always of the highest quality, and there was always something new and exciting at the stand. No one else at the market was as excited about their produce, and no one else had produce that made me as excited. It was always an intellectual as well as a gustatory pleasure stopping at your stand. I’ve missed you the past few weeks and will certainly continue to do so!

  14. 14 Tea

    Oh no! While I can completely understand this as a sanity choice on your part, I am so sad to hear the news all the same (and really sad to hear how the numbers shape up). My market bag has been lighter the past few weeks without your yummy produce in it; I had been hoping it was a temporary thing.

    We have been lucky to have you–and lucky to have restaurants where we can still enjoy your hard work made tangible (edible?). But I will be sorry not to get to say hi and watch the kids grow up. Hope to run into you on your visits now–and I know you will enjoy your newly relaxing Saturday mornings. Sending all the best–and many thanks for everything you’ve given us over the years. (and Andy, I miss Green Street too).

  15. 15 Lauren

    I too would like to express my gratitude and sadness. I’m one of the folks that do all my shopping at FPFM each Saturday. Your farm stall was always one of the first stops for me. What’s more, when prices continued to rise at other stalls, yours remained accessible to me (I suspect one of the few low-income “regulars”). I understand that the economics of small farming are quite complex though. The most reasonable tomatoes, chard, lettuces, herbs, and new delights could be discovered from week to week. I’m feeling more and more like this market is not really meant for me. I don’t have a car, so it’s difficult for me to do a pick-up CSA. But I will continue to look to your website for recipes and to check in from time to time. Thanks for feeding me so well for these past years!

  16. 16 Debbie

    I, too, will miss you at the farmer’s market. I always headed straight for the abundance of the Mariquita stall and often only purchased from you. You consistently carried the best quality produce at the best prices. The friendliest people, too. I echo the sentiments someone wrote here about broccoli de cicco — what am I going to do without it? Where will I get early girl tomatoes like yours? I could go on and on but I see this is all about me, and I understand completely your wanting your lives back. But I have to say it — it is a huge loss to the market and MY Saturday mornings. I’m glad, though, that we still have the literary Andy.

  17. 17 Donna

    Well *deleted un-lady-like explative*!
    What will we do without you?
    I’m glad the CSA and restaurant biz is going so well for you, but you will be missed.
    I look forward to the U-picks; favas, padrones, tomatoes … yum yum … any chance for elderberries again too?
    For those who’ve said they can’t do the CSA because they don’t have a car, when I pick up ours I do it on my bike, so it can be done without a car.
    I know you don’t do the CSA in the winter because the crops get monotonous, but since we won’t be able to see you in the winter at the market, would you consider a winter CSA for those of us who don’t mind greens, greens and more greens?
    Also, please keep posting the occasional pictures of Graydon and Lena so we can watch them grow :-)
    Donna

  18. 18 andy

    Hi, this is Julia again.

    thanks much for all your kind comments. Truly it feels like we’ve ‘graduated’ to a better place for our farm and who we are personally and as a family. I hope folks will look for those farms where the farmers themselves are there…

    Donna: I’ll have Andy get back to you about ramps, I know we don’t grow them, but he can answer here better than I can why. We’re both big fans of all alliums.

    julia

  19. 19 Marikay LeValley

    Hi Andy,
    I am Wally LeValley’s wife and my neighbor who visits your market each week told me to read your story. Wally has just finished writing a chapter for his new book which talks about North Beach in the 50’s when he was a student at SFSU and actually, a part-time tour guide. His first book, “Waiting to be Called” was published two years ago. We hope your farming continues to thrive as it sounds like you are following your bliss.
    Marikay

  20. 20 Yvonne

    Your farm got me out of be and to the market by 8am! Thank you also for vegetable introductions and your thoughts. In particular, thank you for introducing me to the wonderful dry farmed Early Girl and San Marzano tomatoes that I have bought from you by the cases, and then dehydrated or made sauces to enjoy over the winter these past few years. I will especially appreciate my last bag of frozen tomato sauce this next month.

    Two questions:
    Will tomatoes be availble by the case for those not on you weekly delivery this summer?
    I don’t see where I am to sign up for your blog?

  21. 21 Tamar

    I moved to Los Angeles from SF six years ago, and have been reading the newsletter ever since — always with fond memories of getting up early on Saturday mornings to trek down from Russian Hill to the old location at Green Street. Your stall and produce were always a highlight. Sorry to hear you’ll be moving on (not nearly as sorry, I’m sure, as those still living in SF), but glad to hear that I can still get my Mariquita fix every week via the newsletter/blog. Best of luck in the new endeavors!

    Tamar

  22. 22 julie

    hey guys, you a true national treasures for our city of San Francisco. you are celebrated and admired from afar. continue on as you do and we will all be waiting for the stories to flow. looking forward to some tea and good food with you in the nearest.

  23. 23 Bob, The Knife Guy

    Remind me not to read your letters first thing, early in the morning. That’s when I opened up “Saying Goodbye, from Andy,” today. It was one of the low points of my day. It coud only get better.

    A lot could be said, but I won’t. I know all too well the feeling of Saturdays being a social high point of the week; Jill and I go through the same routine in the afternoon. Both with respect to customers as well as our fellow “marketeers.”

    It’s been a distinct pleasure being your FPFM neighbor for many years. Andy, thanks, again, for the erbette seed. Having harvested my own supply of seed from unpicked plants, this wonderful chard will perpetuate itself.

    Julia…if should ever come to pass that you come back to FPFM, you, Britta and I will have to go to the Imperial Tea Court, and negotiate.

    All the best, you guys.

    Bob Kattenburg

  24. 24 andy

    Hello, this is Julia again:

    “Two questions:
    Will tomatoes be availble by the case for those not on you weekly delivery this summer?
    I don’t see where I am to sign up for your blog?”

    There is a place to sign up for this blog on the main page (ladybugletter.com) it’s on the right of the page a bit under the tractor image…

    We will have flats of tomatoes to sell to the public and we’ll figure out how to get them to those that want them when they come. BiRite comes to mind, and/or maybe tomato flats at our CSA pick up sites. (we have 5 pick up sites in SF)

    I’ll talk with Simon and Sam at BiRite, they do buy our stuff, but I’ll talk with them specifically about the Erbette Chard and the Broccoli di Cicco. stay tuned, I’ll post here if I get any information…

    re: going to other farmers markets: not at this time… Berkeley and Santa Cruz are both great markets. I plan to shop at the Santa Cruz market sometimes! but even if we *could* get in to either one (unlikely), we’re feeling like we want to try to farm without farmers markets. They are quite a bit of work. Right now we can sell every leaf and root with little to no waste. I do feel a little like we’ve graduated. This is an experiment, I’ve been doing farmers markets with Andy since I met him! It’s a new world indeed.

    julia

    thanks to everyone, we feel quite loved.

  25. 25 andy

    Hi everybody. I appreciate the nice notes. A nice market stall is always a bit of a collaboration between the farmer and the customers. Name practically anything that I sold in my stall and I can tell you the name of the person who encouraged me to grow it. My friend Martin Bournhonesque, for example, got me growing the Erbette Chard that’s been so popular. Armando “Tiny” Maes got me harvesting the nettles that were wild in the field for years, Victoria Libin got me growing Friarelli peppers and cavolo broccolo, Chris Cossentino got me to do Padron peppers, Patty Untermann told me to grow Romanesco zucchini, and so on. A lot of times the customers have taught me a lot about the background and uses for the vegetables I grew. When we did the Berkeley Farmers Market years ago there was one East Indian woman who came to my stall the first day that I had an experimental planting of red carrots for sale. She was excited about the carrots because they were such a familiar flavor from back home. She told me that they only grew well in the fall and winter, and she told me that they were especially flavorful when baked. Then she disappeared. She reappeared a few minutes later with all her friends in tow, which told me the most important thing—that I would be able to sell the whole crop. Another time, at Ferry Plaza, I was trying to sell my first crop of cardoon without success. Two fellows in chef’s whites passed by the stall speaking German. They laughed when they saw the cardoon. In a while they returned, and after a pantomime I divined that they wanted to buy a cardoon. A German speaking market shopper intervened as translator and explained that they wanted ALL the cardoon. I made them a deal and they rolled off laughing. I asked my translator what the joke was and she explained that the men were chefs on a cruise ship. They had threatened to wait until their vessel was in international waters so that the U.S. Coast Guard couldn’t intervene, and then they were going to make all the Americans on board eat cardoon until they liked it. Moral of the story? Well, maybe there isn’t a moral. If you miss the special Italian vegetables we grow bug the farmers whose stalls you shop at to plant them. There’s no rocket science to it, and the seeds are all available from Growitalian.com. Growitalian serves home gardeners too, and they put out an interesting newsletter. I’m planning on selling lots of Erbette and broccoli di cicco to Birite Market on 18th street too, so visit them, and please come visit us when we have an open house. We’re hoping to have a number of oddball events that appeal to special interests. Look for the date of our fava bean u-pick coming up. Right now I’m trying to figure out when the main crop will hit before I make a date. Thanks, Andy

  26. 26 Susan Blew

    Andy and Julia -
    My husband, Dennis, first introduced me to Mariquita Farms produce at the Farmer’s Market. As an Italian-American he knew some of your produce from his youth - although I, more of a chef than he, was completely in the dark. I’m not sure that our fan club of Mariqita products didn’t start because Dennis started making beautiful paintings of peppers and other beautiful farmers’ market finds. Imagine how much you learn about vegetables when you’re spending hours staring at them! Imagine how fast you have to paint to capture them at their freshest! And imagine how surprised you are when the peppers start changing colors after a couple of days in your studio! Who knew that white peppers changed to red after a few days?!

    As almost-every-week shoppers at the FPFM (even though we live in Berkeley) your stand became a highlight of our trips. We’ve been missing you the past month or so, and we thought you might be on a well-deserved winter break. We will miss your wonderful creative harvest and, although we’ll try the new guys, no one will take your place in our hearts and on our palates.

    Susan

  27. 27 Christina

    Hi Julia and Andy,

    Congratulations. Change is exciting and selling every leaf and root is awesome. Thank you for sharing and trading delicious carrots and radishes and greens. I can’t wait to visit the farm again and see it in the daylight, not at 4:00 a.m. when we were on the way to farmers’ market a few years ago. I know you won’t be far and it’ll be good to see you at farmers’ market shopping and having time to talk more often. See you then.

    Love,
    Christina

  28. 28 Julie Burford

    Julia and Andy,

    Much as you will be mised, I can understand and applaud your decision. Life is a process of change and adjustment, so this is just the next phase for you and your family. As long as the newsletters keep coming, I can still feel in touch with your uniquely illuminating view of the world we share. Hope to see you at market as a shopper or visitor!

    Julie Burford

  29. 29 zac

    There were few stands I looked forward to visiting each Saturday more than Mariquita. Your produce and the affable folks behind it broadened my palate and gave me a rich appreciation for fresh, colorful, and aromatic food. It was an education.

    While every small business has to adapt their model to consumer and marketplace demands, losing Mariquita like this definitely gives me pause. If the Ferry Building serves tourists better than it does the farmers then I really need to find alternate avenues to support the farmers and artisan purveyors I love.

    I’ll see you at the U-picks!

  30. 30 Jan

    Hi guys,

    I wrote a note at the market on Saturday, but also wanted to add to these comments. I shopped at your stall since the beginning (like another poster I am a San Franciscan who buys 90% of my produce from the FPFM) and followed you and the market to all the various locations. One of the most enjoyable evenings was sitting by Andy at the pre-Ferry Plaza opening dinner and listening to him talk about the various artichokes that made up the centerpiece. I’m sure the people who made it didn’t expect a farmer to take it apart to illustrate the differences in the age of the artichokes!

    As someone else said, I’ll especially enjoy the last of the tomato sauce that’s in my freezer! And hopefully I’ll be able to find a u-pick date to come down and visit.

    You’ll both be missed!

    Jan

  31. 31 Danny

    Andy and Julia,

    Thank you for all your superb vegetables and strawberries. My children love your strawberries. One question: will you ever be at the Menlo Park Sunday Market?

    Thanks,

    Danny

  32. 32 julia

    Hello, and thanks much to all your sweet comments.

    There’s been a few questions and suggestions about other markets we could attend. The Ferry Plaza Farmers market isn’t the same as when it was at Green St, but in it’s current location it’s still a great farmers market. Berkeley is a great market, 100%, Andy and I used to do that market and we loved it.

    Our pulling out of the Ferry Plaza FM is more about looking hard at our business and also at our family. Our children are officially ‘tweeners: they recently turned 10 and 12. They won’t be young for long! We want to spend more time with them. And the CSA and restaurant route are simply more efficient at selling what we grow. Andy’s had larger farms in the past and he’s not interested in getting bigger, so more efficient is always the goal around here. Part of that is for me to be less distracted and in theory able to attend to details.

    The Ferry Plaza farmers market afforded us a chance to meet so many chefs and reconnect with chefs from Andy’s younger farming days. But now it’s time for us to give that spot to other farms that truly need that outlet.

    It’s a bit of a gamble, stay tuned here and find out how it’s going!

    I suppose that was a long winded response to Danny’s question: no, we’re not going to go to Menlo Park for their farmers market, but our CSA does deliver there. I know that the CSA doesn’t work for everyone, and the farmers market is a different experience, but at least we’re serving *some* of Menlo Park!

    http://www.mariquita.com/membership/deliveries.html

    And yes, I happily and dutifully went to one of my local farmers markets this weekend: I bought pea shoots and kiwis and out of season but locally grown apples for my children. Next week I plan on scoring some radish sprouts!

    -Julia

  33. 33 Tana

    Dear Andy and Julia,

    While I am sure the San Francisco marketgoers are grieving at their loss, I just want to add my congratulations that your farm is thriving, and that you can make choices that allow you to spend more time with your children before they fly the coop. It’s awesome that you have so many restaurants who recognize the quality of the food you grow, and awesome that so many people are signed up for your Two Small Farms CSA. That’s GREAT.

    I appreciate all that you give to those of us fortunate enough to be in your sphere, and that includes the newsletters, the recipes, the thoughtful writings by BOTH of you, and just your clear, warm spirits that grace our lives.

    Best wishes in your new ventures: I hope I can visit again soon.

  34. 34 Michelle

    In addition to enjoying the vegetables from our subscription to your CSA, we’d love to support the restaurants you sell too! We eat in restaurants at least once a week and would love to spend those dollars at places that use high quality, sustainably produced ingredients like yours. Restaurants don’t seem to advertise their ingredient sourcing practices. Is it possible for you to share?

  35. 35 Carolyn

    Oh god, I want to cry. Saturday mornings and most of my cooking won’t be the same without Mariquita at the Ferry Building. I’ll miss you guys (and your Erbette Chard and beautiful tomatoes and thick bundles of flat leaf parsley and delicious, delicious beets)!

  36. 36 shelly

    I will really miss your beautiful produce, particularly the peppers, tomatoes, nettles, and greens. This is truly the end of an era.

  37. 37 Karena

    I just stirred the last quart of your gorgeous San Marzano tomatoes I had in my freezer into a pot of Bolognese. If I close my eyes I can see your stand full of jade green bunches of tatsoi and I can smell the strawberry baskets overflowing with basil leaves. Thank you for feeding us over the years. All the best to your family.

  38. 38 Kirby

    I miss you guys. As someone who buys my produce at the SF market, I’m sad to see farmers like you disappear. I’d just gotten my kids into eating green stuff, with your farm’s help. And, I can’t bare the thought of not having any san marzano’s this summer. Guess it’s time to sign up for CSA.

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