Stonestown farmers market brings fresh food to Lakeshore

Hang Cheng
A group of shoppers pick grape tomatoes at the Stonestown farmers market on Oct. 2. The Stonestown farmers market opens every Sunday in the Macy's back parking lot. Photo by Hang Cheng.

Sunday morning the Stonestown Galleria looks like it does most days. Cars make their way through the parking lot and teenagers saunter along with shopping bags as Muni trains rumble down 19th Avenue.

However, the scene is wildly different in the shopping center’s back parking lot. Around the corner and into the western parking lot behind Macy’s is a sea of white tents and food trucks.

Vendors and patrons gather there every Sunday morning from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for one of San Francisco’s lesser known farmers markets. Depending on the season there can be anywhere from 50 to 70 vendors, with more in spring and summer.

The market, which opened in June 2009, is one of the eight markets organized by the Agricultural Institute of Marin.

According to its mission statement, the organization seeks to educate the public about both the nutritional and economic benefits of eating and buying local.

Katy Chapman, who serves as manager for the market, said a large part of their strategy involves connecting consumers with farmers at the markets.

“When you are shopping at a farmers market, you are making a difference,” Chapman said.

According to Chapman, produce at supermarkets typically goes through a round of flash freezing and then cold storage for weeks before arriving on store shelves.