With more than 300 participating chefs representing 175+ businesses, CUESA’s Market to Chef Program reaches deep into the culinary community. The program supports chefs through exclusive access to priority parking and equipment at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, a monthly email specific to industry needs, educational opportunities, and invitations to CUESA’s cooking demos and fundraisers that increase chefs’ public visibility.
Started in 2004, CUESA’s Market to Chef Program has been critical to the vitality of the 100+ small farms and food craft businesses that sell at CUESA’s farmers markets. When cold-weather days deter home cooks from shopping, chefs reliably arrive to purchase produce in high-volume for their establishments. Some farmers report that upwards of 50% of their sales comes from chefs during certain times of the years.
Chefs also function as ambassadors of farmers to the general public, listing farm names on menus or popularizing an heirloom ingredient in their dishes. “In terms of marketing, restaurants are make-it-or-break-it” for specialty produce items, according farmer Joe Schirmer of Dirty Girl Produce, whose dry-farmed tomatoes have gained broader popularity after appearing on restaurant menus. “Chefs are the trendsetters.” Learn more about why chefs matter to farmers.
Participants in CUESA’s Market to Chef program cover a wide range of cuisines, dining styles, and business formats, including Michelin star restaurants like Coi, Saison, and State Bird Provisions; corporate chefs from Twitter, Google, and LinkedIn; and catering companies like Paula LeDuc Fine Catering, Taste Catering, and Savory Pear Catering. Local food crafters and bartenders participate as well. See a full list.
Are You a Chef? Shop with Us!
Shop for the most impeccable locally grown produce three times a week at CUESA’s Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. We’re at the San Francisco Ferry Building on Tuesdays (10 am-2 pm), Thursdays (10 am-2 pm), and Saturdays (8 am-2 pm), rain or shine. Catch up with fellow chefs, connect with farmers, and bring the best that California has to offer to your restaurant menu. CUESA offers special benefits for chefs who shop regularly at the farmers market:
- Exclusive access to priority parking and shopping carts at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market
- A monthly email specific to industry needs
- Invitations to CUESA cooking demonstrations and events
- Recognition on the CUESA website and our printed Dining Guide
Contact CUESA’s Co-Director of Market Operations Lulu Meyer at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
5 Reasons Chefs Support Farmers Markets
- Delicious dishes start with the best ingredients. The average distance a farmer travels to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market is 110 miles, which means the fruits and vegetables you buy at the farmers market are the freshest available. No long-distance shipping, no weeks in storage. This food is as real as it gets.
- Find endless inspiration and unparalleled variety for your menu. You’ll find an amazing array of produce at the farmers market: red carrots, purple cauliflower, stinging nettles, purslane, and much more. We have 50+ varieties of tomatoes alone.
- Chefs are vital to keeping small family farms viable. Some of our farmers report that upwards of 50% of their sales come from chefs during certain times of the year.
- Protect the environment through your purchasing. Food at the farmers market is transported shorter distances and is generally grown using methods that minimize the impact on the earth.
- Connect with your community. The Ferry Plaza Farmers Market is the town square, where chefs, farmers, food makers, and food lovers come together to talk produce and grow a healthy food system together. Join us!
CUESA’s Market to Chef Program is sponsored by OpenTable.
CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to cultivating a sustainable food system through the operation of farmers markets and educational programs. Learn More »