Satsuma mandarins at Monterey Market. View a photo essay here, and click on individual photos to enlarge them.
While there is a plentitude of produce markets in the Bay Area, and quite a few very good ones, there are only a few great ones. And the Monterey Market in Berkeley is one of those. The Monterey Market scores high in all the essential qualities I look for in a produce market: quality, variety, value and an attention to organics. To visit the Monterey Market is to be inspired to cook, and as far as I’m concerned, worth a considerable journey. That it is low on upscale amenities only adds to it’s charm. Naturally, a store as legendary as this has a huge, devoted following, so parking can be tight and the store tricky to navigate, but the checkout lines move fast and most shoppers are friendly and cheerful. Operated by the Fujimoto family since 1961, it is a wonderful amenity in North Berkeley. I deeply wish there were a Monterey Market in my neighborhood.
Details: Located at 1550 Hopkins St., Berkeley 94707. 510 526-6042. Open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed on Sundays. An adjoining block of Hopkins St. is chock full of food stores: a bakery, pizzeria, fish market, liquor store, etc. for one-stop shopping.