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Ripe Now! Sweet Potatoes

'Tis the season to enjoy delicious meals surrounded by glowing lights and presents. And although this year we may not be able to get together with family and friends for the holidays, we can still enjoy the foods that feel like home. One vegetable in season right now that can bring that sense of comfort and goodness is the sweet and starchy sweet potato! The sweet potato, or also commonly known as yam, is actually not closely related to the common potato. It is a part of the morning glory family (think vine with white/purple flowers), and it is a tuberous root vegetable. This veggie is native to Central and South America and domesticated about 5,000 years ago. Although the leaves and shoots are edible, most people only eat the tuberous root which, depending on the variety, can range in color from orange to reddish-brown to even purple. Sweet potatoes are a food staple around the world, especially in Africa and Asia. They are a very versatile food that can be boiled, roasted, fried, and baked. Sun Hee from Solano Mushroom says she even enjoys eating them raw! Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of beta carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber. 

You can get sweet potatoes at all 3 of our farmers' markets now at Solano Mushroom and Happy Boy Farm

Easy Eating: Sweet potatoes will fill your holidays with antioxidants and good cheer. To start off your holiday morning, enjoy this nutritious and delicious sweet potato pancake recipe! Sweet potatoes make amazing side dishes to your holiday meal. For a desert-like side dish try out this sweet potato casserole recipe! For a truly warming dish, try this sweet potato bisque recipe

Storage Tips: Store in a dry, well-ventilated, cool space away from heat. Avoiding washing before storing to prevent moisture to cause rot. Avoid storing next to onions or they will ripen faster. 

*Take a deeper dive into the history of sweet potatoes from our partner, Seasonal Bay Area!
Can you give to support the day-to-day operations of the Berkeley Farmers' Markets? Since the start of the pandemic, we've continued to deliver essential services to our Bay Area community, each and every week. We have modified our market operations and increased our staff to ensure customers can shop as safely as possible. This includes facilitating social distancing, managing crowd levels, reducing surface contact by limiting customer handling of produce and changing to cashless transactions when possible, and more. WHY? Small farms are integral to our food system and health. Click the button below and type in "farmers' markets" in the notes to Donate to Keep the Berkeley Farmers' Markets Strong!

Recipe: Candied Yams
From Vegetable Kingdom: The Abundant World of Vegan Recipes by Bryant Terry 

2 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed 
2 ½ pound Garnet yams (sweet potatoes), peeled and cut into ½-inch-thick rounds
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons vegan butter
½ cup raw cane sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
¼ cup fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons *Cashew Cream
1 (2-inch) cinnamon stick
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a large pot over high heat, bring 3 quarts water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons of the salt. Gently slide in the yams, cover, remove from the heat, and set aside for 1 hour. Drain the yams in a colander and set aside for 30 minutes to dry.

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

In a large bowl, gently toss the yams with the olive oil. Spread them on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer and roast for 20 minutes, turning them over after 10 minutes for even cooking. Remove from the oven and lower the oven temperature to 350°F.

While the yams are roasting, combine the butter, sugar, molasses, maple syrup, orange juice, lemon juice, lemon zest, 2 tablespoons water, cashew cream, and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer, stirring often, until hot to the touch and the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Place the cinnamon stick at the bottom of a 2-quart baking dish and layer the roasted yams in it. Pour the molasses mixture over the yams. Bake, covered with aluminum foil, for 30 minutes total, thoroughly basting the sweet potatoes with the liquid in the baking dish every 10 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle with the ground cinnamon, and bake, uncovered, until the yams are tender and the sauce has reduced and thickened, about 20 minutes. 

*Cashew Cream

1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water overnight and drained well

Combine the cashews and ½ cup water in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Berkeley Farmers' Markets Holiday Schedule:

Tuesday, December 22, 2020 will be the last open Farmers' Market in 2020.

We will be closed for a winter break on the following dates:
Thursday, December 24th
Saturday, December 26th
Tuesday, December 29th
Thursday, December 31st

The first open Farmers' Market in 2021 will be
Saturday, January 2, 2021

We wish you a safe and happy winter season
and look forward to greeting you at the Berkeley Farmers' Markets in 2021.

Vote for us 2021 EAST BAY EXPRESS BEST OF THE EAST BAY! It takes a couple minutes and will make a big difference to us.

Here's how to do it:
1. Go to East Bay Express survey:
2. The Best Farmers' Market category is on the 3rd page of the survey
3. The survey closes on Dec 20th

Many thanks for your support!

Winter Changes at the Berkeley Farmers' Markets

As public health officials understand more about how the coronavirus is primarily transmitted (via person-to-person contact, rather than surfaces) the Berkeley Farmers' Market will be allowing some customer self-service at vendor booths at all three of our markets starting Tuesday, December 2, 2020. While some booths will continue the "vendor-service" model, the customer self-service booths will be well marked with prominent signage and monitored by both vendors and market managers. This change will allow customers to select their own products, similar to the experience of shopping at a grocery store. Loose items will be pre-bagged or utensils like tongs will be provided and regularly sanitized by the vendor. There will be a strict you-touch-you-buy policy. All other COVID-19 precautionary measures (including but not limited to: customer distancing in booths, regulating the number of customers in the market at one time, wearing masks, and regular surface sanitation) will be maintained and strictly enforced. We hope this change will expedite customer shopping at the market, reduce farmers and vendor staffing costs, and allow for a safer environment overall.

If you have any questions about these changes, please email us at
Saturday Market Consolidation

The Downtown Berkeley Farmers' Markets has consolidated the market back to Center Street (all vendors will be on Center Street). We will continue to maintain rigorous safety guidelines. We are grateful to the City of Berkeley for allowing us to temporarily expand our farmers' market footprint. Below is a map of where all of our vendors will be located. Vendors that have been relocated are highlighted in teal:

Staying Safe

Wearing a face mask and social distancing are required to shop at the Berkeley Farmers' Markets per City of Berkeley COVID-19 safety guidelines. We enforce a limit on the maximum amount of customers in market at one time in order to ensure space for social distancing. This means we may have a line to get into our market at the entrances. If you are feeling sick or may have been exposed to COVID-19, please stay home. 

Farmers' Market Hours & Locations
EBT and WIC Fruit & Vegetable checks gladly accepted and Market Match incentives distributed at all markets.
South Berkeley
Tuesdays, 2 - 6:30 pm
Adeline St. at 63rd St., 
North Berkeley
Thursdays, 3 - 7 pm 
Shattuck Ave. at Vine St., Berkeley
Downtown Berkeley
Saturdays, 10 am - 3 pm
Center St. at MLK Jr. Way, Berkeley
[Photo credit: Berkeley Farmers' Market Staff]