Finding the best produce and European imports can be a challenge for any newly arrived to the Bay Area. It can take years to discover where to discover the "hidden gems"
From the very beginning it is was clear to us that fresh and local produce, as well as European imports, where not available in as many stores as we were used in Catalonia. It took us some time, actually some years, to figure out where to find quality produce, where to spot authentic calçots or Romano beans (called "mongeta verda o tendra" in Catalonia). Hopefully this quick guide will help you bring the best ingredients to your kitchen.
Share you recommendations in the comments section!
De Martini Orchard - 66 N San Antonio Rd, Los Altos
They have lots of local, ripe, juicy and fresh organic produce. They tell you where everything they have is from. Their different types of tomatoes are among their most celebrated goods, including their heirloom tomatoes or the tomatoes from a local grower in Los Altos Hills. They also carry Romano beans regularly. They also stock gourmet items as well, delicious cheeses, dried fruit, nuts, juices and some dessert items.
They have samples available for a great deal of their produce, and the staff is really nice. While DiMartinis carries many things, they do not carry absolutely everything, the store is not very large.
Dean's Produce - 44 E 4th Ave, San Mateo
Deans Produce has a gorgeous selection of fruits and veggies and they are always fresh and perfectly presented. They carry healthy food like local honey, imported teas, ground chia/flaxseed and almond butter. At Dean's one can find a large, and well priced, selection of European and Mediterranean goodies; including snacks, biscuits, cookies, crackers, Kinder eggs, fancy chocolates, different types of beans, preserved tuna in olive oil, hard-to-find condiments and much more!
They have Romano beans almost all year round, and usually it is really good.
Crystal Springs Produce - 770 Polhemus Rd, San Mateo
Boutique neighborhood store, family owned, with an incredible selection of fresh produce (including Romano beans), unique food and the most friendly staff.
Some if the items that you can not miss at Crystal: their fresh fruit, cheeses, olive oil (try Corto), nuts, eggs, specialty items from Europe (including Digestives cookies) and their wonderful bread selection.
Country Sun Natura Foods - 440 California Ave, Palo Alto
Organic produce, healthy food, supplements and rare and hard to find specialty items. All organic selection. Great place for bulk food options, including bulk body station to refill on lotions, shampoos, conditioners and oils. It's an unpretentious, genuine place.
Felipe's Market - 1101 W El Camino Real, Sunnyvale
It's incredible how such a small shop can stock! Felipe's is primarily known for their fresh produce. You will never be disappointed in the quality and variety of fruits and vegetables available. They also sell some unique candy, sweets and savory snacks spices, bread, local ice cream, global cheese, preserves, and sauces...and of course many more items from all over the world.
Oakmont Produce Market - 19944 Homestead Rd, Cupertino
Go to place for all vegetables and fruits. Everything is always fresh! We also like their deli selection, spices, nuts and the fresh ACME bread delivered every morning. Oh and the juicer! We can't tell how many times we would buy their freshly squeezed juice and share it with our friends. They also carry ice cream from the famous Marianne's in Santa Cruz.
Draeger's Market - 4 stores in the Bay Area; San Mateo (flagship store), Menlo Park, Blackhawk, and Los Altos
It's a gourmet food shop, card shop, book store, kitchen ware store and gift shop rolled into one. Even has a cooking school! We could spend hours in there awing and oohing. Draeger's is probably the gourmet destination in the Bay Area, where you will be able to find the largest range of gourmet foods, including the unique items that surely will "impress" the special someone; hello chocolate truffles!
We love their cheeses, foie grass, huge wine selection with imported bottles from Catalonia, and in general their international selection of foods, sweets and condiments. At Draeger's you will find everything you need to prepare a perfect Mediterranean rice or paella; from the "Bomba rice" to the saffron. The stores are always very clean and well lit, you will feel like visiting a museum for the senses!
Whole Foods Market - Dozens of supermarkets across the Bay Area
Great service and staff, convenient locations and with a large selection of healthy and organic foods, Whole Foods is probably one of the best places (together with Costco) where to buy high quality seafood and meats. They also carry and important selection of international foods, not as impressive as Draeger's, but still very remarkable; including "Bomba rice", "Tortas de Inés Rosales" or cheeses from Girona. You can sample almost anything you need, just ask the friendly staff.
Whole Foods household and cleaning products are in general very good eco-friendly and toxic-free options. You will not be disappointed.
THE MARKET at Edgewood - West Bayshore Rd, Palo Alto
Family-owned and operated. They offer a wonderful selection, they have an AMAZING BAKERY (where you can get fantastic morning muffins and birthday cakes), a diverse and specialized meat section, a dedicated cheese specialist for all the cheese lovers out there, fresh sushi daily, an amazing array of meals and sides, like sautéed mushrooms, and an incredible deli.
The deli team is so wonderful at producing delicious sandwiches.
Mollie Stone’s - 9 locations in the Bay Area
Vegetarian/vegan headquarters of the Bay Area; great selection of vegan products, for many even better than Whole Foods. For example, sour cream, cream cheese, Miyoko's European style vegan butter, lunch meat, sweet and sour pork, orange chicken, mac'n'cheese, soyriso, and more.
Great selection of quality sandwiches, hot deli bar, salad bar, and prepared meals.
Piazza's Fine Foods - 2 locations, Palo Alto and San Mateo
There is great a vast selection of cheese, wines, produce, crackers,meats and poultry. Their fruits are fresh and bursting with flavor. The cheese are also different from each other. This deli and burrito bar is amazing.
Sprouts Farmers Market - Dozens of locations in the Bay Area, many on the East Bay
Organic fresh green veggies at reasonable price.
Andronico's Community Markets - 2 locations, San Francisco and Monterey
They have products ranging from the day-to-day to the more gourmet, including fresh fish, bakery, home made chocolates and ice-cream.
Farmers Market are a great place to spend a Saturday/Sunday morning or afternoon. There's live music and an amazing selection of farm fresh food. They are ideal for those with an adventurous spirit that are willing to discover new things and try new flavors. There are many farmers market around the Bay Area and they differ in size quite dramatically, some are tiny, like the one in Burlingame, and some are large as the ones in San Francisco, Mountain View or San Mateo, with plenty of vendors and options.
If you have just moved into the area from Europe, where there are markets twice a week, you will appreciate visiting the phenomenal Farmers Market we have in the Bay Area. This is just a shortlist of the ones that have captured our attention over the years.
Considered by many as the best Farmer Market in the state of California
Local shoppers, ferry commuters, savvy chefs, and tourists flock to the lively market that pops up outside the historic Ferry Building, along the Embarcadero.
Every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, market tents cast their shade across an extraordinary variety of fruits and vegetables as well as prepared foods—and there’s a Garden Market selling plants and flowers on Sundays too.
Allstar Organics, one of the many vendors that sells on the San Francisco Farmers Market on Sundays has calçots on some months of the winter and spring. Call them and make your order ahead of time to ensure your necessary supply for your next calçotada. And don't forget to invite us!
For a less urban setting, venture north across the Golden Gate Bridge to the Marin Farmers Market in San Rafael, where farmers, ranchers, cheese makers, bakers, beekeepers, and shellfish harvesters from Marin and Sonoma counties present their goods next to the Marin Civic Center building, a striking pink and blue building (it looks better than it sounds) designed by master architect Frank Lloyd Wright
Markets run Thursdays and Sundays year-round. On Thursdays, join the street-fair scene of Downtown San Rafael Farmers’ Market, Thursdays April through September, with live music and pop-up food booths.
Considered among the top 10 best Farmer Markets in California
This Sunday morning year-round affair, always jazzed up with live music and plenty of prepared foods for noshing, attracts some of the best growers and food producers presenting beautiful fruits, vegetables, flowers, and artisanal foods. There are fresh pies and loaves; Woodleaf Farm has peaches like you remember them; and Middleton Farm's strawberries are so sweet, you'll swear they were dipped first in jam.
This is the third largest Farmers Market in the state and voted top 5 in the US by American Farmland Trusts’ Favorite Farmers’ Market Contest.
Over 80 farmers
This is a California Certified farmers market. The word certified guarantees that all the fresh fruits, nuts, vegetables, eggs, honey, herbs and plants, cut flowers for sale here are grown and harvested in California. All of the farm-raised meat products and poultry for sale here are California-grown too. The word certified also means that the person who sells those fruits, nuts, vegetables, etc. is the farmer who produced them, their family or employee.
Festive, family-friendly, open-air marketplace where California farmers bring fresh, locally-grown produce and farm-processed foods.
Divers, affordable, and accessible. Home of certified organic farmers and food purveyors.