Farewell, Mariquita Farm

March 30, 2007

The Ferry Plaza Farmers Market is saying goodbye to a beloved core member. After 13 years of bringing brimming crates of fresh produce to the market, Mariquita Farm is moving on.

Andy Griffin and Julia Wiley deliberated for over a year about whether to stop selling at the market, but the farm has both a thriving community supported agriculture (CSA) program and restaurant sales business, and expanding those outlets will mean more income than continuing to attend the market.

Writes Andy in his goodbye:

Julia and I are proud of the contribution that our farm has made to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market over the years. We’ve been there since the beginning. We’re bowing out now, but my ego isn’t sore. I’m not quitting farming, I’m just changing how we do business. Our farm is stable and solvent. I’m sad, because over the years Julia and I have made many friends in San Francisco, and we won’t be able to see them every week any more. Saturday at the farmers market has been the high point of our social lives for years, and no matter whether Julia or I went to the market, the first question we’ve always asked each other when the truck got back to the ranch wasn’t, “How much money did you make?” but “Who did you see?”

Thinking back, it’s hard to fix on any moment that was the high point of the farmers market for me. I remember once I was able to display a harvest of strawberries, sweet peas, basil, lavender, mint, and thyme all at once, and the fragrance was almost overwhelming. Customers stopped in front of the stall like I’d clubbed them with a mallet. One woman, who worked as a Muni driver, said that my stall smelled so good it made her want to cry. That was a nice morning. You can read Andy’s entire piece here >

Mariquita Farm is known far and wide for its engaging educational efforts. Through stories, recipes and photos published on their website and in their electronic newsletter (now also a blog), Andy and Julia teach the public about sustainable agriculture and farm life. Andy also hosts a weekly radio show called “Life on the Farm.” We will continue to enjoy reading and hearing what Andy and Julia have to share, but it simply won’t be the same without being able to go to the farmers’ market and buy the very same garlic or Black Spanish radishes that were the subject of one of Andy’s interesting and insightful stories.

With their produce appearing on the menus of countless San Francisco restaurants and three CSA drop-off points in the city, Mariquita’s urban presence will still be strong. Andy and Julia also welcome visitors to their farm for U-picks, open houses, and other events.

Thank you, Mariquita Farm, for your many years of attendance, your commitment to education, and to Andy for serving on CUESA’s Board of Directors. We will sorely miss your good food, your presence at the market, and watching your children grow.

We wish you well!

You can keep in touch with what’s going on at Mariquita Farm by signing up for Ladybug Letter blog alerts. You might also see some of Andy’s writings right here in the CUESA newsletter.