Tuesday, August 7, 2007

UN Plaza Farmer's Market

One of the pleasures of working in the Tenderloin is Wednesday's Farmer's Market in the United Nations Plaza. With the backdrop of San Francisco's splendidly restored City Hall, you can stroll through and find just about any possible kind of fruit or vegetable from violet eggplants to brilliant red chiles and tomatoes. The colors alone are worth the visit.

There are often musicians playing in the BART station below so you hear the music floating up - one week, it will be the plaintive voice of the diminutive Mexican guitarist in his ten gallon hat; another week, the tuneless scraping of the homeless guy who "plays" a violin without music or, apparently, talent but with a concentrated verve and a secret inner smile that never fades. I have enjoyed everything from classical cornet to gospel hymns to the banjo player who, when I dropped a little money in his open case, changed seamlessly from his original tune to "You are my sunshine" to send me up the escalator with a smile on my face.

The fresh fish, tamale and rotisserie chicken booths always have a long line but the longest of all is one that I have to admit to carefully avoiding - the live chicken truck. Listening to the worried mutterings of the hens inside hurts my heart, even though I know that what comes from the Roli Roti truck was like that just hours before. The shining eyes of the iced fish don't affect me in the same way - I guess I'm just a wimp for warm-blooded animals.

So, on Wednesdays when I emerge from the BART station into the lively bustle of the market, I buy a cup of coffee from the ladies in the coffee booth on the Market Street side and walk away from the chicken truck toward the spectacle of the City Hall, admiring the colorful beauty of the fresh produce and flowers.

9 Comments:

Blogger Mouse said...

I am, strangely, very drawn to aubergines. So much so that I once commissioned an oil painting based on these beauties. Don't you just want to take them home and transform them into a parmigiana?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Mouse, yes, or ratatouille! And the color of these! Wow!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

OMG! I guess that market has really transformed in the four years since I worked in the Tenderloin and walked to it on my Wednesday lunch breaks.
I don't recall Roli Roti, and especially not the live chicken truck. Really good fish purveyors, though. Sparkling sand dabs.
Crack heads. Bums.
Wow, city life is colorful.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Cookie, "colorful" is an understatement, especially in San Francisco! Fun, isn't it? :-)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007  
Blogger Anita said...

I, too, remembered this market as a bedraggled thing. But the other day when I was heading back to work from the library, the Grove escalator was blocked, which drew me up Market to the market. Wow, what a change! I'm definitely planning my library pickups for Wednesdays now :D

Wednesday, August 08, 2007  
Blogger Dagny said...

Such beautiful colors.

But then I cannot get past that a "mouse" first commented and included the word "ratatouille" in the comment. I can't help but wonder if Pixar has infiltrated your blog.

Or maybe I just see conspiracy theories everywhere.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007  
Blogger Mouse said...

Dagny
Excuse me but 'ratatouille' is not a word in my vocabulary! Nor 'chicken mole'...
I am too shrewd to mention other rodents.
My contribution was parmigiana!

No conspiracies, just a little pun fun and I bet you wish you hadn't got me started :-)

Thursday, August 09, 2007  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Anita, glad you found the market has improved - we even have some organic growers there now!

Dagny, the rodent from the movie was a rat, not a mouse... it's a fun movie, if you haven't already seen it, a little darker than the usual Pixar fare but, of course, a happy ending. MB and I liked it.

Thursday, August 09, 2007  
Anonymous LGBTcompassionDotOrg said...

Some other animal advocates and I working to stop the wanton illegal animal cruelty occurring with the live chicken vendor, but allowed to continue by city officials (he's been cited for 700 violations recently, but no action taken yet). We're receiving coverage from KRON TV. You can learn more, and find out how to help at http:/www.LGBTcompassion.org

Sunday, June 21, 2009  

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