SF Underground Market

Our Vendors #3 - and more info on the market

We are making headway on getting the market back open. Working with the gears of the legal apparatus to find a solution. Lawyers talking to lawyers writing letters to talk again. Fun stuff.  Some good will come of it though, and ideally  the market will be open in the next couple months. Until then, check out the vendor stories below, and this great series that Jonathan Kauffman is doing on what it takes to go legit as a food maker. It's a 5 piece story, starts here, but don't click away before reading one of our vendor stories below: Jaynelle St. Jean - PieTisserie

My name is Jaynelle St. Jean, and I am the owner of PieTisserie, a pie shop in downtown Oakland. As a proprietor who launched her business at Forage SF's Underground Market, I wholeheartedly support the continuation and expansion of the market.

In February of 2010, I attended one of the first Underground Markets, held in the Mission District. I was inspired by the wonderful foods and creative artisans, as well as the excitement of customers. A couple of weeks later, I gave away slices of homemade pie to neighbors through the window of my mother's house. People began to call me the Pie Lady, and I considered continuing to give away pie in this manner throughout the city. However, reflecting upon the vendors who sold their wares at the Underground Market, I was encouraged to give selling pie as a business a shot.

In fewer than 18 months, I have gone from making pie in my kitchen for a small network of people, to making and selling pie everyday at a retail location in Oakland, as well as to prestigious corporate clients. PieTisserie has 27 five-star yelp reviews. When I launched PieTisserie I was unemployed. Now, I am supporting myself by doing something I love, and I employ others.

Not only was the market inspirational to me, it helped me not to be overwhelmed by the hurdles to starting a food business. It also allowed me to test my concept with consumers and my commitment to bringing a product to market and growing a business.

The Underground Market spurs enterprise in tough economic times. It also engages people in the sourcing and production of their food, and is one of the most effective community-building events I have participated in in years. It would be a mistake to shut down the market or to change it so substantively as to make it just another farmers market.