"All good things are wild and free." --Henry David Thoreau

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Alemany Farmers' Market

The Alemany Farmers Market, known as “the people’s market,” is not to be missed with its organic produce, vegetable and herb seedlings for sale, hot, prepared foods to eat, buskers playing steel drums, and good people. It happens every Saturday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Apparently it was the first farmers’ market in California, founded in 1943, but that’s hard to believe since farmers have sold goods at markets for a long time. Regardless, it’s established and well loved, and definitely worth patronizing.

It’s accessible by bus and car, located at 100 Alemany Boulevard, at the confluence of the 280 and 101 freeways in southeastern San Francisco, and directly south of Bernal Hill. Parking is free.

It’s a nice idea to avoid plastic—bring cash and your own bags.

One of the best aspects to the Alemany Farmers’ Market is its proximity to a great urban hike—it’s literally on the southern edge of Bernal Hill, one of the prettiest places in San Francisco.

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It's Spring! Yay!

Spring is here! On Saturday at 1:30 in the afternoon, the Sun crossed directly over the Earth’s equator and marked the Vernal Equinox, when day and night are of equal length. The Vernal Equinox occurs anywhere from March 20th to the 23rd—this year it was on Saturday, March 20th.
It's appropriate, therefore, to celebrate the arrival of spring by taking a hike on the green hills of the Bay Area, just now blooming with wildflowers.


People have celebrated the Vernal Equinox for thousands of years. The Sphinx of Egypt gazes directly at the rising sun on this day. The Persian New Year, Nowruz, begins on this day. The first sign of the astrological zodiac, Aries, starts on March 21st—it’s the sign that contains all potential, like a seed about to sprout. Some British Isle pagans believe the earth quickens with certain energy during this time, which they called Eostre (long before Christians celebrated Easter). 

“The ancient trackways, the ridgeways, were said to be the backbone of the dragon,” writes British author Glennie Kindred; perhaps it is especially good now to walk the ridges of hills and mountains—Skyline Boulevard of San Mateo County, Mount Tamalpais of Marin, Twin Peaks of San Francisco.

Winter is over in the northern hemisphere. Plants are sprouting new leaves. Flowers bloom, eggs hatch, animal babies are born. The equal length of day and night recalls the Chinese yin and yang symbol of dualities: male and female, hot and cold, dark and light.

It’s a good time to start a garden, or just get out among the wildflowers.

Enjoy the season!