Hispanic Heritage Month: Food Businesses to Celebrate at the Farmers Market
September 16, 2021
In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month (running September 15-October 15, commencing with a number of countries’ independence days), we’ve compiled a list of innovative food businesses owned by people of Latin American heritage that you can support at Foodwise’s farmers markets. Celebrate these entrepreneurs and the diversity of delicious foods that they contribute to our communities, from tamales to pan dulce, and obleas to empanadas.
A participant of La Cocina’s incubator program, chef Olivia Mecalco makes antojitos inspired by her grandmother’s cooking and her memories of Mexico City street food using fresh seasonal ingredients, including handcrafted tacos, burritos, quesadillas, sopes, pambazos, and huaraches, with both vegetarian and meat options.
Must-try at the market: The seasonal vegetarian quesadilla. In the summer months, this includes squash blossoms and sautéed onions, topped with a Mexican crema and a spicy, homemade salsa roja. All this goodness is stuffed into tortillas that Olivia makes from scratch!
Where to find them: Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Mission Community Market on Thursdays
Kimberly Gonzalez started her wood-fired pizza business with her uncle Carlos, and it continues to be a family affair as Kimberly runs the business with her mother, Rosa. Though pizza has Italian origins, Nahua Pizza also pays homage to Kimberly’s Mexican roots: the name is inspired by the “Nahuas,” which are the largest indigenous group in Mexico and the second largest in El Salvador.
Must-try at the market: Depending on the season, Nahua sources fresh ingredients such as basil, tomatoes, arugula, and kale directly from local farms. Try their classic meat or veggie combo pies, or fall favorite, prosciutto and pear.
Where to find them: Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Tuesdays and Thursdays
Recently featured in the San Francisco Chronicle’s list of Best Bakery’s in the Bay Area, Norte 54 offers modern Mexican baked goods focusing on traditional pan dulce (pastries), using seasonal produce and local organic ingredients. Born in Mexico, Raquel Goldman moved to Miami at the age of five, but Mexico remained a formative part of her childhood as she returned every summer to visit her grandmother. After working as a pastry chef at Nopa, she started Norte 54 in 2020 as a pastry box delivery program, while popping up at farmers markets with a her rotating menu of creative pan dulce.
Must-try at the market: Try Raquel’s seasonal conchas, novia, garibaldis, tres leches, and other treats using fruit from the farmers market. Don’t miss the chocolate-covered Poli Cake, named for berry farmer Poli at Yerena Farms!
Where to find them: Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Tuesdays, and Mission Community Market on Thursdays, or order online
Nilda Bottazzi, nicknamed “Nucha,” grew up making traditional Argentine empanadas, baked and stuffed with simple ingredients. She later taught her son, Ruben, how to make the family recipe. Nucha’s empanadas, mini-tarts, and quiches are made from scratch with dough using butter (no beef fat) and are stuffed with a variety of fillings.
Must-try at the market: The spicy beef empanadas, which are stuffed with organic ground beef, onions, red and green bell peppers, and chile peppers.
Where to find them: Mission Community Market on Thursdays or order online
Though Proyecto Diaz Coffee started roasting in 2014, the Diaz family’s history stretches back to the early 1900s, when Fernando Diaz’s great-grandfather began growing coffee in Oaxaca, Mexico. That legacy persists today: Fernando’s grandfather Juan continues to grow coffee on his farm, El Carmen; his father, Genaro, roasts the coffee; his wife, Hannah-Love, does production and design; and Fernando does outreach and coffee selection. The company source directly from small coffee farms, buying at above fair-trade prices.
Must-try at the market: The family’s signature bean is El Carmen, a single-origin light roast that offers notes of dried apricot, honeysuckle, and fig. A portion of the profit is reinvested back into the family farm in Mexico.
Where to find them: Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays or order online
Growing up in the Central Valley, Lenore Estrada and her friend Anna Derivi-Castellanos baked pies to give away to their friends. Years later, they started a pie-making business together with the goal of supporting local farms (Anna has since left the business). Three Babes’ pies are made by hand each day using the finest local, seasonal, and organic ingredients.
Must-try at the market: Look for rotating seasonal treats like Emerald Beaut Plum Raspberry Crumble.
Where to find them: Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Saturdays or order online
Latinx-Influenced Food Businesses
Owner Karen Taylor Waikiki started Primavera in 1991 after years of working as the chef at a Mexican restaurant in Sonoma. Maurilia Pineda is the kitchen manager, overseeing the team. All of Primavera’s products are made by hand in their commercial kitchen in Sonoma, and the recipes are developed with Primavera’s staff, all of whom are Latino immigrants hailing from different parts of Mexico. Corn masa (the main ingredient in tortillas and tamales) is made both fresh from dried corn and from pre-ground corn flour.
Must-try at the market: Primavera’s famous chilaquiles is a cult brunch favorite. Arrive early to avoid the lines.
Where to find them: Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Saturdays