San Francisco farmers’ markets by the numbers Price per pound for apples at the first farmers’ market on Aug. 12, 1943. Poundage of a pig, named Porky, auctioned off at the first anniversary of the San Francisco farmers’ market. farmers’ market sold Sales for the San Francisco farmers’ market in its first decade. Number of California cities with a farmers’ market on Aug. 12, 1943 (San Francisco). Estimated number of California cities with a farmers’ market by spring 1944. Number of counties that provided food for the San Francisco farmers’ market when city resident Paul Juery brought radishes and potatoes from his San Francisco garden in 1948. Date of the first children’s entertainment reported at the San Francisco farmers’ market. Estimated size of crowds at San Francisco farmers’ markets in summer 1968. Estimated crowd attending the Beatles’ final public concert show at Candlestick Park in 1966. Source: Chronicle archive
Posted: March 1, 2015, 8:01 am
Each week a different topic will be explored in the newspaper, on SFChronicle.com, in Peter Hartlaub’s the Big Event blog on SFGate.com, and on social media at #OurSF.
There were no artisanal cheeses or old guys playing “Brown Eyed Girl” on acoustic guitar at the first farmers’ market in San Francisco history.
The mostly forgotten history of the market is an early story of innovation and disruption, with some parallels to what is going on with the local taxicab industry in the 2010s.
Looking at dozens of 1943 Chronicle articles, there was no mention of organic anything during the institution’s volatile premiere year.
The first farmers’ market was an act of patriotic duty.
John Brucato had helped organize San Francisco’s Victory Garden project, which included a lush vegetable garden in front of City Hall.
The crop preservation demands of farmers couldn’t be met in the early 1940s, because so many cannery workers had gone to war.
Brucato had to combine a pair of loopholes, which allowed farmers to sell on an unused city lot, as long as they sold from the back of a farmer-owned truck.
The first farmers’ market sold just two items, pears and apples, from a Sonoma County crop that was about to be destroyed.
While the consumers (and The Chronicle) backed the market, City Hall changed its stance, persuaded by powerful grocery and wholesale produce interests.
Supervisors insisted the city take control of the market and tried to include antimarket representatives on the controlling board.
The decision was reversed by a ballot measure, where citizens supported the market by 145,000 votes to 25,000, despite outsize campaign spending by opposing forces.
Cities across the Bay Area started their own farmers’ markets, and officials from Los Angeles drove up to learn how to copy the success.
“S.F. Housewives Will Have a Field Day With Fruit Bargains for Canning,” read the first Chronicle farmers’ market headline.
In the 1970s, as young participants in the Summer of Love started raising their own families, a new generation discovered the potential health advantages of buying from the source.
Touted initially to provide food for poor Tenderloin residents, it became popular with upper-middle-class workers in nearby government buildings.
A great example was at the farmers’ market near the Ferry Building, started in 1993, which was initially advertised for its beautiful views as much as its product — an apology to residents in the form of organic honey and ripe nectarines to make up for the ugly double-decker Embarcadero Freeway, which had just been torn down.
The Ferry Plaza Farmers Market became a scene, as much as any trendy street fair or sporting event.
In 1958, Mayor Christopher, who had called for the grand jury probe against Brucato, proclaimed Aug. 9-16 as Farmers’ Market Week to celebrate the institution’s 15th birthday.
Chronicle records show that Mayors Christopher, Joseph Alioto, George Moscone and Dianne Feinstein all attended a farmers’ market celebration, hazed by Brucato with the ceremonial wreath of reeking garlic.
Posted: March 1, 2015, 8:01 am
The Chronicle covers San Francisco’s first farmers’ market
At the insistent pleas yesterday of Sebastopol Gravenstein apple growers, who said they had tons of apples already picked but no cannery market immediately available, they were given a welcome nod to come on, bring those apples down here.
John G. Brucato, chairman of the Victory Garden Advisory Council, who conceived the idea of establishing this outlet for farmers’ products that would otherwise rot on the ground because lack of manpower has curtailed cannery production, said several hundred lugs of choice Gravensteins would be available.
Buyers were warned to bring their own lugs or boxes or bushel baskets.
[...] if it continues a success, Brucato said, definite dates for markets two or three days a week will be set to run through the present harvesting emergency.
[...] hard hit have the growers been through shortage of help and lack of cannery market — Brucato said the canneries can’t take the fruit because of lack of space — that many pear men in Sonoma county dumped tons of choice fruit into the river.
Clearly indicating that San Francisco housewives want fruit at reasonable prices to can for winter — and thus save their blue ration points for foodstuffs — Brucato said, was the fact that last weekend they saved the entire pear crop by gobbling up 12,000 lugs.
Remember the free outdoor market opens at 8 this morning — at Market and Duboce.
Posted: March 1, 2015, 8:01 am
City crews are cleaning up Dolores Park once again this weekend, this time after a new group of vandals left dozens of broken bottles strewn in the children’s sandbox.
Less than two weeks after two teenagers broke into the fenced-off construction site on the park’s north side and caused $100,000 in damage, a late-night boozing session turned destructive at the children’s playground area on the south side of the park.
“There were a lot of parents with kids who did not get to use the sandbox today,” said Recreation and Parks Director Phil Ginsburg.
In February, a pair of teenagers — one 17 and one 18 — broke into an area on the park’s north side where construction workers are close to completing a $20 million renovation that will include new tennis courts, bathrooms and playing fields.
The suspects, who were arrested, hot-wired a construction vehicle, did some doughnuts on the newly sodded turf and popped wheelies on some uncured pavement.
The vandals also tagged a new maintenance shed and then lit a fire to roast marshmallows and make s’mores they had brought with them.
“People in the community work so hard, and our staff works so hard, to make these parks as good and usable and beautiful as they can be, and you have these sociopaths who just come in and brutalize them,” said Wiener.
Posted: March 1, 2015, 4:10 am
A 25-year-old Oakland man was killed early Saturday at the MacArthur Maze when the car he was driving slammed into a truck parked in a lane that was closed for repairs, according to the California Highway Patrol.
At 2:46 a.m. Gregory Davis Jr. was driving east in a Volvo S80 on Interstate 80 at the maze when he veered into a lane closed to traffic and struck a truck shadowing a crew repairing the guardrail, said California Highway Patrol Officer Sean Wilkenfeld.
Before the crash, CHP units on the westbound side of the highway had observed Davis traveling at a speed of 100 miles per hour or more, according to Wilkenfeld, but the crash occurred before a CHP officer could stop him.
Posted: March 1, 2015, 12:45 am
History, which keeps repeating itself, is at it again at the Old Mint in San Francisco, which is about as historical a building as buildings get.
Year after year goes by, same as it does in history books, and the long-promised museum does not get built.
[...] that isn’t stopping the history buffs from having a great time this weekend at the expo.
“Step right up,” said an actor dressed in a three-piece suit and a top hat and carrying a pocket watch.
He was one of dozens of actors in 19th century garb, each one with a pocket watch on a chain.
[...] each of the pocket watches worked, because these people play their history straight.
Inside the old building at Fifth and Mission streets, dozens of local historical societies had set up dozens of tables, hawking history as if it were munchies at the food court.
The Art Deco society was handing out Art Deco postcards, the Rosie the Riveter Trust was selling $14 Rosie the Riveter lunch boxes, and the Market Street Railway was showing off its collection of 200 old bus tokens.
In the 1930s, the U.S. Mint shut down its coin-making operation in favor of its new building on Hermann Street, turning the old building into a museum.
[...] the U.S. Mint pulled out of the building in 1995, and since then the only regular tenants seem to be a hardy army of rats.
The latest group that has failed to turn the building into a museum is the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society.
The society, Remski said, has spent millions over the past decade removing 11 tons of asbestos and other toxic waste and drawing up plans for the museum.
Alison Sunahara of the National Japanese American Historical Society was passing out copies of the posters that went up all over San Francisco in 1942, ordering Japanese-Americans to surrender themselves and get sent off to internment camps.
People were smiling at the actors in the costumes, and at the Art Deco pictures and at the lunch boxes.
Posted: February 28, 2015, 11:38 pm
A storm system forecast to bring light rain to the Bay Area on Saturday dumped much-desired snow in the Sierra.
Elsewhere, Kingvale received 9.5 inches, Donner Peak recorded 13 inches, and Northstar resort had up to 9 inches of fresh snowfall, said Courtney Obergfell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento.
The storm system was expected to bring scattered showers to the Bay Area throughout Saturday, said Diana Henderson of the National Weather Service in Monterey.
Bay Area rainfall totals are expected to be light, with less than a half inch of rain predicted.
After a slight chance of scattered showers Monday and Tuesday, the forecast calls for dry weather throughout the week.
Hamed Aleaziz is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer.
Posted: February 28, 2015, 10:37 pm
Firefighters contained a three-alarm fire at a one-story commercial warehouse in Oakland early Saturday morning, officials said.
The department received a call of a fire at a building on East 12th Street at 6:49 a.m., said Battalion Chief Lisa Baker of the Oakland Fire Department.
Firefighters arrived to find flames and heavy smoke showing from the warehouse, which is located on the corner of East 12th and High streets, she said.
Posted: February 28, 2015, 9:52 pm
Bus drivers who herd employees to and from the offices of Apple, Yahoo, eBay, Zynga and Genentech voted to join the powerful Teamsters union Friday.
Shuttle drivers employed by Compass Transportation voted 104-38 in favor of representation, with 16 not casting ballots.
According to the city of San Francisco, tech companies have obtained 500 permits for buses participating in a pilot program allowing shuttles to use Muni bus stops.
In December 2012, shuttle drivers issued the first formal complaints of what they characterized as a grueling job, filing a class-action lawsuit that alleged one of Google’s shuttle management contractors, WeDriveU, failed to pay drivers for time between split shifts, provide legally required rest breaks and compensate them for time spent performing required inspections on vehicles before and after shifts.
A proposed settlement awarded 89 drivers a combined total of $125,000, amounting to $730 per driver after attorneys’ fees and other expenses.
The Facebook drivers’ new contract includes an increase in the average pay for workers at Loop Transportation, from $18 an hour to $24.50 an hour, and addresses split shifts, specifically offering wage increases for employees who work them.
Posted: February 28, 2015, 3:08 am
The host committee putting on next year’s Super Bowl events in the Bay Area announced $2.5 million in donations Friday to five local nonprofit groups — the start of what it hopes will be a record run of charity tied to the football bash.
The 50 Fund, the committee’s charity arm, said it will donate one-fourth of the money raised from corporate sponsors and private individuals in the lead-up to Super Bowl 50, which is set for Feb. 7, 2016, at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.
“I’ve said that this 50 Fund is the leading edge of the promise that we made to the Bay Area to make Super Bowl 50 more than a game but something that leaves a legacy of community impact,” said Jason Trimiew, vice president of community relations for the committee.
The grants mean an opportunity to expand services for nonprofits like Summer Search, a national organization headquartered in San Francisco that mentors more than 1,400 high school and college students in the Bay Area and provides financial aid and counseling.
Fresh Lifelines for Youth, a Milpitas group that works with teens in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties who are either at risk of entering the criminal justice system or are in the system already.
First Place for Youth, which is in Oakland and provides housing and support for Bay Area foster children.
The group envisions two more rounds of Game Changer grants before the football game, and also plans to hand out four rounds of funding through the Playmaker program — grants of $10,000 to 50 community organizations that help young people in the Bay Area.
Posted: February 28, 2015, 2:07 am
A small storm was moving into the Bay Area on Friday evening, but forecasters say the on-and-off rain expected over the next few days will hardly warrant an umbrella.
Parts of Northern California and Monterey Bay were seeing rain Friday afternoon, sometimes heavy, according to the weather service.
[...] the brunt of the system wasn’t slated to arrive until Saturday and remain intermittent, sharing time with patches of clear sky and sun.
San Francisco and Oakland are expected to see the variable weather continue through Sunday, forecaster say, along with increasingly cool temperatures.
The weather system this weekend, coming in from the Gulf of Alaska, is anticipated to be a bit stronger in the Sierra, dropping snow as low as 4,000 feet.
Posted: February 28, 2015, 1:14 am
San Francisco tech company Zendesk teamed up with the nonprofit Bay Area Video Coalition to start a job training program.
The program is a series of two-day, hands-on courses designed to teach job seekers how to use Zendesk’s cloud customer support software as well as learn customer service best practices and connect to job opportunities.
Posted: February 28, 2015, 12:30 am
Contra Costa County prosecutors charged a man with special-circumstances murder, burglary and attempted rape Friday in connection with a home-invasion robbery that left a Hercules man dead and his girlfriend — who was found with her face covered in plastic — critically injured.
Mark Carr, 27, of San Pablo could face the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted in Wednesday’s attack on Buttercup Court.
Prosecutors allege three special circumstances — that the murder of Leroy Sandoval, 58, was committed in the course of a kidnapping, in the course of an attempted rape and in the course of a residential burglary.
Carr rode up to the home on a bicycle and armed with a BB gun, said Detective Connie Van Putten, a Hercules police spokeswoman.
Near the open front door, police found Arnone unconscious, her face covered in clear plastic, the apparent victim of asphyxiation, police said.
Posted: February 28, 2015, 12:23 am
A man who died from gunshot wounds after being brought to a Fairfield hospital by acquaintances was identified Friday as 19-year-old Aaron Malave.
Police also confirmed that Malave had been shot on the 1000 block of Wood Hollow Circle at 11 p.m. Wednesday, about 10 minutes before a teenage girl and a man brought him to NorthBay Medical Center in Fairfield.
Police served a search warrant at a home on Wood Hollow Circle and detained two men who have had previous contacts with law enforcement, said Fairfield police Lt. Stephen Crane.
Posted: February 27, 2015, 11:02 pm
Blogger hands out $165,000 to Mission fire victims
The blogger who was driven to action after watching onlookers film a Mission District fire on their cell phones while weeping residents fled the engulfed building finally got to help those weeping victims Thursday night.
Others exclaimed, “Wow!” Tears rolled down several faces.
“I could really only think of one thing as I watched your building burn: that inside each apartment families were raised, meals were shared, memories were made,” Crockett told the crowd.
Crockett makes a living blogging for Priceonomics, a data company, so he knows his way around the Web.
Middle schoolers held bake sales to donate, churches passed the hat, and Google — reviled by some for being a gentrifying force in the Mission — kicked in $16,000.
After GoFundMe and a processing company took their cuts, Crockett had a total of $165,606.
Families, elderly people and single moms got bigger checks than young folks living by themselves.
Under state and federal tax laws concerning charity for losses such as those in the Mission fire, the victims won’t have to pay taxes on the donations.
“They say it takes a village, but sometimes it takes one person to be the catalyst,” said Gabriel Medina, policy manager of the Mission development agency.
Kevin Fagan is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer.
Posted: February 27, 2015, 10:18 pm