ForageSF's Underground Market has brought together hundreds of passionate players in the flavor game--the supportive community of creators, makers, eaters, and enjoyers sees 50 new vendor applications each month. Now, with more members than the health department can snap a latex glove at, officials are saying "cease and desist".
Access to the farmers market with a social, night-life twist was gained by a (free) membership, RSVP, and five dollar entrance fee. While the membership form makes it clear that SF Underground Market goodies aren't health-code certified, the venue is so popular that health officials are stepping in to review the business model.
"This was not an unexpected event" forageSF founder, Iso Rabins told his supporters in an email. "We’ve known that it was only a matter of time until someone became upset about the popularity of the event. Because we’ve been expecting it doesn’t mean that we accept it."
A trip to April's market could have included 23 Monkey Tree microbrew kombucha, SFQ's duck confit w/ BBQ sauce and Nanny's Mustard, a Loven Kitchen savory muffin, Marshmallow Mischief or Aarons almost better than sex cake; top that palette-pleasing tour off with a mug of Wrecking Ball coffee and you've just supported a dozen of your fellow foodie-friendly entrepreneurs (vendors set their prices).
Shutting down the popular monthly event means local kitchens will suffer and talented chefs who mix and pour the garden herb and oil-infused batters won't have a way to feed this alternative economy, but this alert should be taken as an opportunity to carve out a larger, legal space where indie endeavors can gain momentum.
Other forageSF programming includes Edible Food Walks and elaborate 8-course foraged feasts.
If you want to voice your support contact your local city supervisor or Mission District supervisor, David Campos at David.Campos@sfgov.org (415) 554-5144.
Image Credit: Andrea_Pokrzywinski