More Than a Vendor

Sure, we know who has our favorite pluots or who bakes a mean vegan brownie, but every vendor has their own story. Sometimes it's difficult to imagine these people outside of the market setting, but many of our vendors Read more

How You Like Dem Apples?

Perhaps one of the best things about this Summer-Fall hybrid season is apples! As many MCM shoppers know, everything you thought you knew about apples before is probably not even half the story. With over 30 years of experience, Dave Read more

What did the Mission say?

As I approached the youth surveyor’s booth at MCM last Thursday, all six surveyors were engaged in conversation with a passer-by. They looked relaxed and in charge, fielding questions about where to use the bathroom even as they explained Read more

Apriums and apricots: your guide to stone fruits featuring Twin Girls Farm

Posted on by Kaiya Gordon in Blog, Twin Girls Farm, Vendor of the Week | Leave a comment

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At the Twin Girls Farms booth, kids circle the cherry samples, grabbing fistfuls of the fruit and grinning. One jumps up and down. “Yay cherries!” he smiles. The booth’s proprietor Jimmy Egoian smiles too. After a few weeks away from Mission Community Market, Twin Girls has just turned the corner from winter season. Their tables are a testament to the warmer weather, and favorites, like yellow and white peaches, are piled high; there are signs pointing to new gems, too––pluots, donut white peaches, apriums, and loquats. I spoke to Jimmy about Twin Girls’ mission, what makes a good fruit, and how to tell the difference between a pluot and an aprium.

Twin Girls is not a superficial farm. “We don’t care what fruits look like,” Jimmy says. “If it eats good, it is good.” In fact, Jimmy explains that bad looking fruits are better tasting. “If it’s cracked,” he says, “it is ten times better.” The cracked fruits have a higher sugar content than their smooth-surfaced companions. When the fruits are growing, that sugar content causes the insides to grow faster than the outside, leading to skins that split and then re-heal.

Scarred (and sweet!) nectrines at Twin Girls Farm's booth

Scarred (and sweet!) nectarines at Twin Girls Farm’s booth.

It’s clear that shoppers respond to Twin Girls’ commitment to eating. Today, visitors are reaching for the new editions to Twin Girls’ table: apriums and pluots. Can’t tell the difference? Jimmy let me in on the secret––“apriums,” Jimmy notes, “are just backwards pluots.” What he means is that both fruits are combinations of apricots and plums, but they differ in composition; while pluots are about 75% plum and 25% apricot, apriums are the opposite.

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Apriums, like any other fruit, come in a variety of strains. The best one, flavorellas, are also the most rare––Jimmy tells me that farms can only grow about 10 to each tree. In comparison, the aprium strain that Twin Girls has on it’s tables, tasty rich apriums, grows 200 aprium fruits on each tree.

Jimmy Egoian, the proprietor of the Twin Girls Farm stall at MCM

Jimmy Egoian, the proprietor of the Twin Girls Farm stall at MCM

Another unique strain of stone fruit that has become a family favorite is the donut peach. Twin Girls has white donut peaches, and when Jimmy hands me one to taste, its sweetness is so concentrated I feel like I’m eating candy. That isn’t because of the donut shape, though, this donut strain just has more sugar. But the distinctive shape is a favorite with kids, who find the oblong shape easy to hold. Adults, too, flock to the donut peaches––perhaps reminiscing about their own childhood.

Yellow peaches are more acidic than their pale counterparts, which gives them that distinctive “tang” that works well in pies and on the grill.

And what is the taste difference between a white and yellow peach? White peaches, distinguishable by their paler, pink skins, are sweeter, and thus more easily bruised. Yellow peaches are more acidic than their pale counterparts, which gives them that distinctive “tang” that works well in pies and on the grill. Try white peaches on their own, with salsas or ceviche, or in drinks.

White peaches are sweeter and less acidic than yellow.

White peaches are sweeter and less acidic than yellow.

One more fruit that I’m interested in is grown in bunches on thick, brown stems. “That’s a loquat,” Jimmy notes, “it’s an old type of fruit.” It may be old, but its introduction to shoppers at Mission Community Market is recent. Loquats, which are ripe in the late winter or early spring, and may not be at the market for much longer, are sweetest when they are soft and orange.

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When I bite into the loquat that Jimmy hands me, I’m reminded of a lychee. Try loquats in jelly, compote, or even wine.

The farm started with yellow peaches a few weeks ago, which Jimmy tells me is about “10 days earlier than early.” But “no matter what,” he continues, “from year to year everyone wants a yellow peach.” To determine when peaches, and other stone fruits like them, will become ripe, farmers look at the “bloom” of the plants. When the bloom comes in farmers can determine whether their crops will be early, on time, or late. Early doesn’t necessarily mean better; Twin Girls’ peaches may have grown premature due to a dry winter. But Jimmy cautions against drought fear-mongering: “we’ve been dealing with little water for 6 or 7 years,” he says.

“The perfect fruit is never the best fruit.”

Along with the crop time, deficient water can affect the shape of the fruit. Lopsided fruits are one result of a drought; when the pits, or stones, of a fruit are not sufficiently hydrated, they may be unable to grow evenly. But other imperfections, are not a problem for Twin Girls’––for this farm, it’s all about the taste. “That’s what’s going to bring people back,” Jimmy says, handing me a slice of aprium. It’s bruised, but very sweet. “The perfect fruit,” he continues, “is never the best fruit.”

Street Stage Launches at MCM today!

Posted on by Kaiya Gordon in Artists, Blog, Live Music, public art | Leave a comment

Highlighting San Francisco’s talented musicians is an important aspect of the community at Mission Community Market. That’s why MCM is excited to unveil an all-new street stage TODAY! The stage will serve as an important platform for our accomplished musicians to engage with the market and highlight their music. Get your first look at the stage below, then come see it in action tonight as local rockstars Diana Gameros and FriendsLa Gente Trio, and The Paper Dolls bring it to life!

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Our street stage is a new, one-of-a-kind design created by SF’s street stage team, John Francis and Ross Hansen, and was built in collaboration with San Francisco’s Pavement to Parks program. The new stage will carve out a space within MCM for local musicians to call their own. We are thrilled that the platform will allow for increased movement and visibility for performers at MCM. Like the prototype street stage that we debuted last year, we know that this new stage will be met with exuberance from our community of musicians, vendors, and shoppers.

Diana GamerosCelebrate the debut of this new stage with MCM on Thursday, as we kick off the summer with three fantastic musical acts. First, listen to Diana Gameros and Friends at 4pm. Diana Gameros is an innovative and versatile musician who writes bilingual songs of “love, longing, and hope.” Her music is firmly placed in the cultural crossroads between Mexico and the independent music scene of California. If you like what you hear, check out her upcoming gig on June 14th at the SFJAZZ center, and listen to her recent debut album, Eterno Retorno.

La Gente - Rafael SarriaTaking the stage at 5pm is a trio from the Bay Area’s beloved band, La Gente! Come listen and boogie to a high-powered musical blend of Reggae, Cumbia, Hip-Hop, Salsa, Rock, and World Music. Led by singer-songwriter Rafael Bustamarte Sarria, who is also an organizer of The Mission Arts Performance Project, the group has been heralded for transcending genres. La Gente is currently in production for their fourth studio album, and their set is sure to make everyone dance. If you just can’t get enough of La Gente, check out their all-ages Carnaval show this Saturday at The Chapel!

The Paper DollsLastly, don’t miss The Paper Dolls at 6:30 pm. Playing a mixture of old and new, covers and originals, The Paper Dolls are a San Francisco Classic. The talented duo behind the band, Uni and Em Doll, bring crooning vocals, ukeleles, and glitz. Want even more Paper Dolls? Check out their upcoming shows here.

The unique design of this stage is flexible and bright––optimal for the continuously moving atmosphere of the market!  Come and help us ring in the summer with fresh produce, tasty dinner, and great music from local artists Thursday May 22nd, 4pm-8pm, at Mission Community Market!

Mercado Kitchen: Fava Bean Dip

Posted on by BrittanyG in Blog, Blue House Farm, Mercado Kitchen, Recipes | Leave a comment

Sick and tired of making the same ol’ salsas and dips for summer BBQ parties? Try Mission Community Market’s fun version of a bean dip! Stop by Blue House Farm this Thursday from 4-8pm to grab your bundle of fava beans and impress your friends with this week’s healthy recipe!

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Fava Bean Dip

Fava beans are similar to other beans and contain what many call “perfect proteins.” They are loaded with amino acids and are also rich in fiber and vitamins A, B, C, K, E, PP, and mineral salts. More information on fava beans can be found here.

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Ingredients:
12 larger Fava Bean stalks from Blue House Farm
3/4 Can of black beans
2-3 Cloves of garlic, minced
1 whole Avocado
Salt, Pepper
2 tbs Olive oil

Directions:
Fava beans require a two step de-shelling process. First, remove the large beans from their pods. Once all the beans have been removed, add to boiling water for roughly a minute, then place directly in ice cold water. The second layer of skin should peel off easily. Little green beans about half the size of their skin should pop out.

In a saucepan, add roughly 2 tbs of olive oil. Add the minced garlic and sauté for just a moment. Add the fava beans, black beans, and spices. Stir for roughly 3-4 minutes. Grab a potato masher, add the avocado, and smash all ingredients until a soft bean dip remains.

Serve warm with organic blue corn tortilla chips.

Celebrate CalFresh Month at MCM on May 8th!

Posted on by EmilyN in Blog, Health promotion | Leave a comment

DSC_0353Many people don’t know that CalFresh is the new name for California’s electronic food stamp benefit program. Federally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), CalFresh can help low-income Mission families put healthy and nutritious food on the table. We’re celebrating CalFresh customers this month at MCM, and on May 8th we’ll have a special CalFresh Awareness Day!

Mission Community Market has accepted food stamp benefits since its inception, and we partnered with The Bi-Rite Family of Businesses in late 2013 to offer a dollar-for-dollar match (up to $10) for patrons who shop at the market with their CalFresh card. This benefit was previously offered in 2012 and we were thrilled to bring it back this season with Bi-Rite’s support.  CalFresh users can swipe their card every week at the market for up to $10 in free produce!

Join us on May 8th as we feature:

A Presentation from Bi-Rite! Join us at 6:00 pm when Sam Mogannam will say a few words.

Giveaways – The first 50 CalFresh customers get a free item ($3-6 value) donated by MCM vendors! Choose from fruit and veggies, salsa, mini jams, baguettes, and more!

Benefits Pre-Screenings From SF-Marin Food Bank – You may qualify for CalFresh benefits – Talk to a specialist!

An Urban Sprouts Healthy Cooking Demo  – Learn to cook with what you can get at the market!

Community Outreach Tables – Chat with folks from The Women’s Building and The Shanti Project

Live Music from Benjamin Brown at 4 pm and Dean Harlem at 6 pm

Join us for a great day at MCM and celebrate healthy eating with us!

Spotlight on Lifefood Gardens

Posted on by BrittanyG in Blog, LifeFood Gardens, Vendor of the Week, Vendors | Leave a comment

Microgreens: A shot of vitamins

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As you approach the market from Valencia and down 22nd street, you may see what appears to be a stall full of lush grass and a happy smiling man. This is one of Mission Community Markets newest vendors, Lifefood Gardens, and the smiling man you see there each Thursday is Loren. He represents his girlfriend Katy’s business of growing and selling a variety of microgreens. They began growing microgreens in a sprout machine, and eventually moved to growing these baby plants in their bathroom, kitchen, and various other places in their small SF apartment for personal consumption. Katy, who has been a raw foodist for 13 years, developed an innate passion for growing microgreens within her home. When Katie got fed up with working in the software world, she decided to begin a garden. After success with their small personal microgreen operation, they purchased land up north in Lake County and built a large greenhouse to begin their dream garden. They originally planned to grow off-season tomatoes, but found that microgreens provided them with a financially viable and consistent harvest, as well as nutritious and delicious food. One and a half years later, they’ve grown their business to reach across the entire Bay Area, serving ten different farmer’s markets (six here in SF alone).

SF Markets
Thursdays: Crocker Galleria, Mission Community Market (!!)
Sundays: Fort Mason, Divisadero, Clement, and Sunset markets

Outside SF
Saturdays: Oakland Grand Lake, Berkeley, College of San Mateo, and the Saratoga markets

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Microgreens are just what they sound like –baby versions of many of the greens you know and love. Many studies show that microgreens may house more nutrients and vitamins than their adult forms, making microgreens an affordable option to get your daily dose of vitamin C, E, and beta carotene to name a few.

Stop by MCM each week on Thursday from 4-8pm to pick up a tray of microgreens to improve your health, boost your immunities, support a local business, and make a friend. Some of the different varieties include sunflower, garlic, onion, broccoli, mixed greens, radish, wheatgrass, and more. Not sure what to do with these fresh greens? Check out this week’s recipe highlighting sunflower microgreens in a healthy salad!