Behind The Scenes ~ Fall 2011

Hundreds of neighbors share food at New Taste Marketplace each month

This fall, we celebrated two wonderful anniversaries: the 11th year of The Food Pantry, and the first year of the New Taste Marketplace. The inspiration of local food activist Elianna Roffman, New Taste Marketplace is a monthly benefit that brings together dozens of the city’s most interesting chefs, bakers, and artisan food producers to support The Food Pantry and St. Gregory’s.  “I like to think of it as an overgrown bake sale,” says Elianna.

The market, like The Food Pantry, happens right in the middle of the church, amid the beautiful icons, where tables are spread with local delights. Volunteers from The Food Pantry, vendors, and visitors come from all over the city to hang out, talk, and savor all kinds of treats: bourbon-peach paletas, home-brewed ginger ale,  smoked brisket sandwiches, Argentine empanadas,  Bangkok green curry, Eritrean chicken stew, salted caramel truffles,  five-spice bacon, butter-crust pear pies,  strawberry mochi, lemon tarts,  pickled artichokes,  pumpkin-seed brittle, local preserves, jams, teas, coffees, and so much more.

“I love it that New Taste is held in the exact same space as The Food Pantry,” says Elianna, who includes local musicians in the market mix, and sets up picnic tables in warm weather where families can eat and mingle. “It adds to the sense of giving and community.” Michael Lee, a vendor whose “Spicy Dumplings” stall is a favorite with visitors, agrees.  “It’s such a perfect marriage of pantry work and the vibrant street food scene that’s exploding here in San Francisco,” he says.  “When I did my first New Taste Marketplace my burners kept short-circuiting and losing power. But even so, there was a certain kind of calmness that I only feel here. Once I walk through the main doors and into the rotunda and see the mural of dancing figures, I know I’ll be greeted by great volunteers from The Food Pantry who’ve been helping feed hungry people for years.”

We’re so grateful for the creativity and generosity of the vendors, and for Elianna’s vision that connects foodies with food pantries. Come and see for yourself: schedule and details at www.newtastemarketplace.org. New Taste Marketplace is food for the soul!

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