Markets & Stores

Old Oakland Farmers Market Redux – wilder & more organic ... tri-tip from Los Banos?

rworange | Sep 17, 200607:06 PM     6


If redux can mean three years since my last visit. The market has changed very little ... thank heavens.

Chowhound posts written in 2001 accurately describe the market today. Even an old KRON 1997 article accurately describes this timeless, reliable, workhorse of a market.

A handful of faces have changed, but not that many. A list of Friday’s vendors and links to reports are waaaay at the end.

Extra credit for the grocery, meat and fish markets that line the street ...true one-stop shopping. Here’s an update on the fish and meat shops at the Housewives Market.

A new addition is Marita’s Bakery of San Leandro, famous for red velvet cake.

The EXCELLENT Red River Smokehouse from Princton is here.

Has anyone tried the tri-tip sandwich from Yamaguchi? They are from Los Banos ... tri-tip country. They also sell Southern desserts like strawberry shortcake, cobblers and banana pudding. The only other market they attend is the Tuesday market in Monterey.

The move towards organic and natural food was surprising. Wild salmon was available at Sincere Seafood. Hudson Valley and Rocky chickens are sold at Jack’s. Yerena Farms is an organic farmer from Watsonville selling strawberries. They also sell at Ferry Plaza on Saturdays.

There were a few more organic vendors like Happy Boy who had lovely melons ... Sicilian melons that looked like Ogen ... piel de sapo that looked like Santa Claus melons.

Hamada Farms was mainly selling grapes for $2 lb – Maroo black seedless, Thompson, Flame, Muscat, Concord & Ribier

I think this was the name of the stand and not a warning ... Cat on Guard ... “World’s finest dates” ... very popular. The free samples of their date candy didn’t hurt. However, the people at table next to mine were chowing on dates and making little, happy cooing noises with each bite of date. Next time I’ll elbow my way through the crowds and try them.

Inflation hadn’t hit Stackhouse Brothers Orchards which still had some fruit available for $1 lb. Rodriquez of Watsonville who sold berries for decades at Ferry Plaza before that market got too full of itself, was also selling tomatoes.

Of course, there were they many no-name, mostly Asian vendors. The other egg guy who sells quail, salted duck, chicken balut, duck balut and chicken eggs.

Summer was transitioning out. Peppers were plentiful. There were some colorful tiny bird chills. Lots of eggplant – marble-sized white, all sizes of purple and golf-ball sized green Thai. This is bitter melon season. There was exotic gold cauliflower and black string beans.

The prettiest were the frosty jade-colored bowling-ball sized melons that looked like they were actually carved from jade.

A new vendor was the Afghan stand selling Bolani, a soft flat bread that was very good. He had some dips that weren’t so African, like sun-dried tomato ... good sample.

Never realized Great Harvest which sells the spelt bread was a national chain started in Connecticut. That doesn’t seem right.

Chef Theo’s was selling natural spices and teas. He sells 100 percent organic chamomile tea from Egypt.

The Filipino food vendor might be the same as the one at Temescal’s Sunday market.

The DiBrova Sausage stand at the center of the market next to the music was the most popular. There were a few plastic tables in this area to enjoy food from the various vendors. Dibrova sausages were $3.25- $4.50 and include mustard, catsup, relish, onions cheese sauerkraut hot sauce. Today’s selection included: chicken & spinach, smoked chicken apple, garlic chicken, hot pepper chicken, spicy Cajun chicken, all beef hotdog, Polish, bratwurst, spicy Andouille, Spicy Italian and jalapeno hot link .

Limited time didn’t allow checking out how some of the other local vendors, like G.B. Ratto. Tamalaria La Michoacan on 704 Jefferson St was still selling tamales for $10 a dozen.

Totally forgot to stop by La Borinquena Mex-icatessen to pick up the ground green chili powder they sell ... and great tortillas.

I nominate Old Oakland for the best farmers market music. Ok, I don’t get to this market often, but it has always had above decent music on each visit. An older blues guitarist poured his soul out ...

Got yourself another man and you done split the scene
Oooh – ooh I still love you baby
Please don’t start no stuff
I don’t want to get rough
But I want to know

Maybe the written words don’t look like much but, man, this guy could bring it home ... forget that woman ... I’ll go home with you.. I got the groceries baby, let me cook you a meal ... da, da, da, da ... but I digress.

Maybe living in this side of the bay will allow me to get to this market more often than every three years.


On Fridays visit (* same vendors from three years ago)

Baked goods:
* Crepe and Brioche
Feel Good
* Great Harvest breads
Marita’s Bakery

Great Valley Eggs
No-name Asian guy with chicken balut, duck balut, salted duck, quail & chicken eggs

Red River Smokehouse (Princeton)

Bolini guy
Chef Theo’s Spices & Tea
Kettle corn

About 20 unnamed, usually Asian, produce stands
Cat on Guard
Hamada Farms
* Happy Boy,
* Mora Farms
* Stackhouse Brothers Orchards
Yerena Farms

Prepared food
* All Star Tamales
* DiBrova Sausage
* Roli Roti
Yamaguchi tri-tip

Not there anymore ... or out this week ... or I walked right by them and didn’t notice (I don’t think so) :

Adam’s pickles, olive oils and canned garlic cloves
Bakery in a Barn
Big Paw olive oils and vinegars
Dewey Farms pistachios, almonds and walnuts.
Hudson Fish
Nina’s Russian foods
Papachay coffee
Twin Girls

Old Oakland Farmers Market Site:

Chowhound reports:


KRON article

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