Tour op­er­a­tors tar­get a whole new mar­ket

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - The Global Gourmet Issue -

A TAST­ING tour of San Fran­cisco’s tri-weekly Ferry Plaza Farm­ers Mar­ket is one of the high­lights of Trafal­gar’s eight-day San Fran­cisco and Wine Coun­try De­lights itin­er­ary, and not only be­cause the provi­dores of­fer temp­ta­tions such as ‘‘tasty salted pig parts’’ in ‘‘por­ta­ble meat cones’’.

‘‘A visit to a farm­ers mar­ket is really about meet­ing the lo­cals,’’ says Trafal­gar man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Matthew Cameron-Smith. ‘‘It’s quite an im­mer­sive ex­pe­ri­ence — the smells, the tastes, the colours.

‘‘We use such mar­kets as an in­ter­ac­tive part of our itin­er­ar­ies. In Tuscany, for ex­am­ple, you visit a mar­ket with a chef, se­lect the pro­duce with them, then go to their restau­rant, where they cook the food.’’

Travel in­dus­try veteran David Gold­man, of Syd­ney­based Gold­man Travel, agrees that the at­mos­phere cre­ated by mar­kets makes them a tourism draw­card.

‘‘I don’t know any­one who does not en­joy a farm­ers mar­ket,’’ Gold­man says. ‘‘Many tour op­er­a­tors are putting them on their itin­er­ar­ies and some of them even in­cor­po­rate lunch and cook­ing schools.’’

The Noosa Farm­ers Mar­ket at­tracts thou­sands of vis­i­tors each week with its fresh, lo­cal pro­duce from op­er­a­tors such as Eu­mundi Straw­ber­ries, The Naked Car­rot and Noosa Lime Co, ac­cord­ing to Tourism Noosa’s Su­san Ewing­ton. ‘‘A lot of peo­ple come to Noosa [specif­i­cally for] the mar­ket,’’ adds Denise Platt, man­ager of Nau­tilus Noosa Re­sort. ‘‘It’s a great place to have a cof­fee, a sausage on a roll or buy beau­ti­ful tasty to­ma­toes or fresh pas­sion­fruit . . . peo­ple like to buy lo­cal.’’

On a much grander scale, the Ferry Plaza Farm­ers Mar­ket, with its 135 ven­dors, has contributed to San Fran­cisco’s resur­gence as one of Amer­ica’s food cap­i­tals.

‘‘Eigh­teen years ago, the cheese scene in Amer­ica was pa­thetic,’’ says Lisa Ro­govin, founder and chief ex­ec­u­tive of Ed­i­ble Ex­cur­sions, which con­ducts walking tours in the area. The Cow­girl Cream­ery is chang­ing that and a visit to its stall — with more than 200 cheeses — is a high­light. But Boccalone Salume­ria, with its ‘‘tasty salted pig parts’’, is by far the most un­usual of the stalls. (There is also a full-time store in­side the ad­ja­cent Ferry Build­ing.) This ‘‘ar­ti­sanal sa­lumi ven­ture’’ has more than 20 va­ri­eties of Ital­ian cured meats, or sa­lumi, made with sus­tain­ably raised, her­itage-breed pork from mostly lo­cal farms and the high­est-qual­ity salts and spices.

Cus­tomers can buy panini, sa­lumi sliced to or­der or sa­lumi plat­ters. And, of course, there are those por­ta­ble meat cones to en­joy while strolling through the mar­ket, which at­tracts up to 25,000 shop­pers each week.

Lisa Allen was a guest of Trafal­gar.

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