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Old Oakland Farmers' Market report

Ruth Lafler | May 8, 2004 04:43 PM

Fresh off a punishing workout at my nearby gym, I cruised the market hungry, which meant I was particularly susceptible to the baked goods and prepared foods.

I bought things from two bakeries that have only been mentioned in passing: Bakery in a Barn and Crepe & Brioche Bakery.

These two couldn't be more different. Bakery in a Barn (Rohnert Park) makes old-fashioned baked goods and pastries, including a few Pennsylvania Dutch specialties (whoopie pies, anyone?). Prices are low and quality is good but not great. If they're trying to look like everything was made by grandma in her kitchen, they've succeeded. I found it refreshingly "anti-Miette."

Then I crossed over to Crepe & Brioche Bakery (SF), which is very SF-post-Artisan-bread-movement: specialty levain, goodies made with brioche dough, fancy pretzels, etc. I politely declined a pretzel with dried fruit and bought a regular soft pretzel and a loaf of pumpkin seed levain. The pretzel was good, but the levain is outstanding, with pumpkinseeds both inside the dough and pressed into the crust. The bread is dense and chewy, and has a pleasant, not overpowering, sour rye flavor. I'm trying but not succeeding to resist picking off the toasted pumpkin seeds as I type.

After a thread on the subject earlier this week, I noted that live crawdads were available at 3 pounds for $10.

As usual at this market, there are a lot of Southeast Asian farmers selling all kinds of Asian herbs and vegetables. Watch out for those killer Asian grannies elbowing their way to the best produce at the best prices.

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