When You Give To CUESA, Who Benefits? Family Farmers
We are sometimes asked by our supporters where their funds go and who benefits when they donate to CUESA. In this season of giving, we’ve decided to answer this important question by profiling four recipients of your donations and CUESA’s work. In the first installment of this four-part series, we share the story of a family that has been able to grow their farm, thanks to the generosity of supporters like you.
For 20 years, the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market has helped sustain the livelihoods of more than 100 farmers, food artisans, and restaurateurs. About 25% of our farmers rely on our markets for more than half of their farm revenue. In addition to providing opportunities in a world-class farmers market, CUESA also supports local farms and food businesses by amplifying their story through the CUESA e-letter and by offering scholarships that help them gain new skills and make their businesses more environmentally and economically sustainable.
Greg Massa and Raquel Krach of Massa Organics are one of the more recent success stories at the market. Greg, a fourth-generation farmer, and Raquel have constantly pushed the envelope to make their farm more sustainable, introducing almond orchards, pigs, and ducks to create a more diverse and robust farm ecosystem, while providing healthy food to our community.
When you give to CUESA, you are supporting dedicated farmers like Greg and Raquel and you are helping create a food system that benefits family farmers, our community, and the earth. Greg writes:
Seven years ago, we embarked upon a mission to transform our family’s conventional commodity rice farm into something entirely new—a diversified, organic farm that markets grains directly to the consumer. This was no easy task, with many hurdles to overcome. Looking back, it’s easy to see how critical CUESA and the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market have been to our success.
The Ferry Plaza Farmers Market was our third market, after Chico and Davis. From the beginning, it was obvious that this market was different. The staff realized that a farmer selling rice direct to the consumer was a new and innovative approach, and they went out of their way to promote us. In our first few weeks, we were featured in their e-letter, appeared on local television and National Public Radio, and were written about in Bay Area newspapers. A year or so later, a CUESA board member and market regular, Peggy Knickerbocker, wrote a 13-page feature article about us in Saveur magazine. The Ferry Plaza Farmers Market also gave us unprecedented exposure to chefs, leading to relationships with many Bay Area restaurants that now purchase significant quantities of rice from us.
We’ve also benefitted from CUESA’s farmer scholarships. CUESA sponsored us when we went to Slow Food International’s Terra Madre conference in Turin, Italy, and gave us funds to send our market manager to the EcoFarm Conference last year. Both of these conferences were invaluable experiences that have led to positive changes at our farm. Most recently, CUESA endorsed our loan application with Kiva Zip, a nonprofit that allows entrepreneurs like us to access interest-free loans through crowd-funding. With CUESA’s help, our $4,700 loan was funded in just five days. This loan will help us purchase a biodiesel processor that will enable us to convert our crops into fuel for our tractors, helping to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.
We are very appreciative of CUESA’s help over the years. It is clear to us that the progress we have made on our farm would have come much more slowly, or not at all, without CUESA’s help. The difference between CUESA and other organizations that run farmers markets is very distinct. Whereas other market associations simply host markets, the CUESA staff does their very best to ensure that our farm, and others like us, become more successful and sustainable. CUESA is an excellent organization that is most worthy of your support.
Special Events and Announcements
Winter Holiday Schedule and Guide
Support our farmers, artisans, and restaurants throughout the winter holiday season! Our market will be open on Christmas Eve (Tuesday, December 24); however, we will be closed on Thursday, December 26, to allow our farmers and vendors time to enjoy the holiday with their families. We will be open for the rest of year, including New Year's Eve (Tuesday, December 31). See our Holiday Guide for shopping tips and recipe and menu and gift ideas. Stop by the CUESA Info Booth to pick up a printed Holiday Gift Guide brochure.
Help Flatland Flower Farm Grow
CUESA is proud to be an official endorser of Flatland Flower Farm on Kiva Zip, a nonprofit that supports socially impactful small businesses with interest-free, crowd-funded loans. Dan Lehrer and Joanne Krueger hope to borrow $5,000 to purchase a dehydrator, which will allow them to turn surplus apples growing on their property into value-added products like granola. Their project is already more than 60% funded! Please consider loaning Dan and Joanne $25 (or whatever amount you are able) so that they can grow their business, become more economically viable, and make the most of their harvest. Learn more.
Schoolyard to Market: John O'Connell High School ~ Tomorrow
Local high school students are bringing their school garden produce and plant starts to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market as part of Schoolyard to Market, a youth development, entrepreneurship, and gardening program run by CUESA and Urban Sprouts. Pick up vegetables and herbs from John O'Connell High School students at their tent in the south driveway tomorrow. All proceeds will be reinvested in the school garden program. Learn more.
The Dirt on Soil Discovery Station ~ Tomorrow
Earthworms, fungi, and bacteria, oh my! When you buy a head of lettuce, you may not think about the soil it grew in, but soil health is an ever-present concern for farmers. Stop by the CUESA Classroom tomorrow from 9 am to 1 pm to dig deeper into the rich underground world of soil. Our Discovery Station is fun for all ages, with a game to test your soil knowledge, a worm compost bin and kids' activity, and soil samples from Ferry Plaza farms.
La Cocina Vendor Spotlight: Clairesquares ~ December
La Cocina, a nonprofit food business incubator for low-income culinary entrepreneurs, is showcasing Clairesquares at their Ferry Plaza Farmers Market booth every Saturday in December. Clairesquares handcrafts unique caramel- and chocolate-based products. Claire Keane has been making her delectable treats since she was a child growing up in County Cork, Ireland. Try Clairesquares tomorrow at the La Cocina booth in the south driveway.
The Perfect Holiday Gift: Farmers Market Gift Coins
Delight your friends and family by letting them choose their own delicious gift with Farmers Market Gift Coins. Gift coins work like a gift certificate, have no expiration date, and can be redeemed at any Ferry Plaza Farmers Market stand. They are conveniently pre-packaged in $25 boxes and $10 bags, but they are available in any amount. Market coins also make great corporate gifts. Purchase them at the CUESA Info Booth, or order by emailing us or calling 415.291.3276 x103. Learn more.
Volunteer of the Month: Taryn Graham
A recent transplant from Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, Taryn Graham can often be found at the CUESA Info Booth on Tuesdays and Thursdays cheerfully answering questions for Ferry Plaza Farmers Market shoppers. "Taryn is a joy to work with at the Info Booth," says CUESA Info Booth Coordinator Melanie Bourgeois. "She's always in a great mood and ready to take any extra step needed to get things done. Even when it's freezing cold, she has a smile and a good word for everybody." Meet Taryn.
Back Plaza Info Kiosk Returns ~ Saturday, December 14
The Saturday Info Kiosk in the back plaza has been on hiatus but will be returning next Saturday. In the meantime, please visit our friendly staff and volunteers at the Info Booth in front of the Ferry Building for parking validation, market maps, and answers to all of your market questions.
All programs are free and take place in the CUESA Classroom, south of the clocktower, near the Veggie Valet.
Saturday, December 7
Saturday, December 14
11:00 am - Seasonal cooking demonstration
12:00 pm - Seasonal cooking demonstration
Food Policy Bites
Demand a Full and Fair Farm Bill
A joint committee with members from the House and Senate is tasked with crafting a compromise farm bill. A deal before the end of the year is looking less likely, and if the bill is allowed to expire, an old law will kick in that will cause milk prices to rise significantly.
We need a farm bill that reforms outdated farm subsidies, protects our natural resources, and invests in a healthier future for all of us. Businesses and organizations can sign on to this letter endorsed by CUESA and more than 400 other groups. Individuals can ask Congress to pass a Farm Bill that safeguards public health and the environment and that preserves federal nutrition assistance programs.
Tell Congress to Suspend Bee-Toxic Pesticides
The EU has just begun a two-year suspension on several bee-toxic pesticides, but U.S. agencies are still refusing to step up to the plate. Representatives John Conyers (D, MI) and Earl Blumenauer (D, OR) have introduced the Saving America's Pollinators Act (H.R. 2692), calling for the suspension of neonics (a class of pesticides thought to harm bees) until a full review of scientific evidence indicates they are safe and a field study demonstrates no harmful impacts to pollinators. Tell your Representative to protect pollinators.
Say No to Genetically Modified Apples
The biotech industry is hoping to introduce a new genetically modified food: an apple that is engineered not to brown when you slice it. If the USDA approves the product, it could soon turn up in school cafeterias, restaurants, and grocery stores. The U.S. Apple Association and other grower groups have opposed these apples, and, like with other GE products, no labeling would be required. Comments are due December 16. Tell USDA to reject this GE apple.
Mycological Society of San Francisco Fungus Fair ~ December 8 (SF)
Root-to-Stalk Cooking for the Holidays at 18 Reasons ~ December 10 (SF)
La Tamalada Tamale Making Class at La Cocina ~ December 11 (SF)
La Cocina's Holiday Alley ~ December 13 (SF)
Homemade Holiday Sweet Treats at 18 Reasons ~ December 18 (SF)
Alice Waters Book Signing at Book Passage ~ December 21 (SF)
Urban Permaculture Design Certification Course ~ Starts January 8 (SF)
Free Child Nutrition and Cooking Class ~ January 13 (online)
34th Annual EcoFarm Conference ~ January 22-24 (Pacific Grove)
This is the most up-to-date information about which sellers will be attending the market as of today. Please check in at the Info Booth for any last-minute changes and a current map of where your favorite farmers and vendors are located. If there are no changes to a seller's status, they will not be listed. You'll find a list of which farmers regularly attend each market here.
Saturday, December 7
Returning: Apple Farm, Bodega & Yerba Santa Goat Cheese, Critical Edge Knife Sharpening, Devoto Gardens, Everything Under the Sun, Far West Fungi, Fatted Calf, Happy Quail Farms, Hamada Farms, Hog Island Oyster Comapny, Saint Benoît Yogurt
Tuesday, December 10
Returning: G. L. Alfieri, Snyders Honey
Thursday, December 12
Returning and/or plentiful this month (weather willing):
Asian greens, baby lettuces, beets, braising greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cherimoya, chicories, dandelion greens, fennel, holiday wreaths, kiwi, Meyer lemons, mushrooms, persimmons, pomegranates, potatoes, rapini, root vegetables, Satsuma mandarins, sunchokes, walnuts, winter squash
Apples and pears (still available from cold storage throughout the winter), berries, grapes
Available in limited supply:
Farms and vendors returning this month:
Please note that Double K Christmas Tree Farm will not be in the market this year but will return in 2014.
Holiday gift ideas from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market:
Apple cider from Devoto Gardens, candied citrus peel from June Taylor Company, Napa cabbage kimchee from Namu, smoked fish gift boxes from Cap'n Mike's Holy Smoke. For more ideas, pick up our Holiday Gift Guide at the CUESA Info Booth.
Winter Salad Greens with Persimmon Vinaigrette and Mt Tam
from Sue Conley and Peggy Smith, Cowgirl Creamery Cooks
King Trumpet Mushroom and Shredded Root Vegetable Salad
from Eric Tucker, Millennium Restaurant
Roasted Broccoli with Meyer Lemon and Pistachio Salsa
from Robin Song, Hog & Rocks
Sweet Potato Stew with Greens
from Nalini Mehta, Route to India