The Slow Food Marketplace just opened at Civic Center today, along with all the other events of the Slow Food Nation event. My friend June and I went down to check it out. There is a garden with vegetables and flowers right in front of City Hall. It's a great juxtaposition; I wish I had my camera with me to take a photo. (Pam Peirce at her blog, Golden Gate Gardener, has some great photos.) There is a lot of great food for sale, to eat on the spot and for later. I had a nostalgic moment talking to Pablo, an olive oil producer from Apollo Olive Oil, about the varieties they grow and Spanish olive oil. They make divine organic extra virgin olive oil in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Here's what I bought:
1 bottle Sierra blend Apollo Olive Oil
Half a flat of organic strawberries from Salinas
Basket of organic cherry tomatoes
Half a Cowgirl Creamery Red Hawk cheese
Organic Canary melon from Fully Belly Farm in Yolo County
1 pound of Tongue of Fire shelling beans
2 lbs. of heirloom apples from Windrose Farm in Sonoma, mixed varieties
June also bought a lot. The only reason we had a hope of getting it all back on BART was because we had brought my deluxe Spanish Rolser grocery cart.
I bought this at the Sant Antoni covered market in Barcelona for 15 euros. It is the best grocery cart I have ever seen. It swerves like a Ferrari, maneuvers bumps like a Land Rover, and has so far transported at least the weight of a Volkswagen in its 8 years of life. And it shows no signs of slowing down. I used it for all my shopping in Barcelona (where we did not have a car) except for the semi-monthly beverage deliveries from the supermarket. Back here in SF, where we live around the corner from a Safeway, I pack it as full as it goes and toddle back home with my purchases, and bring it to the farmers' market. I have received many many comments on it: people want to know where I bought it so they can get one, and even the grocery clerks who help me pack it wake up from their automaton stupor and say, "That's cool!"
You can buy it at a Canadian Rolser website, where you can see some MUCH more groovy designs than mine, but the least expensive one I saw was $69 Canadian dollars, not including shipping. At one time my husband and I had the idea that we should start a business importing them from Spain to sell here. But the rest of life took over. Anybody want to start an import business? I think the time is ripe.