The SF Underground Market has turned 3 (in months, not years). It began with me and 7 other vendors selling wild mushrooms, jams, pies and corned beef sandwiches in a mission neighborhood home. The first market had about 200 people attending. By the third, amazingly, it has grown into a warehouse sized behemoth of 47 vendors selling everything from salami to ginger beer to pickled grapes to wild boar, with over 1,200 people lining up outside to get in.
At this market I made salt and sugar cured pork belly buns. People really seemed to like them, which was nice to see, although I need to figure out how to make them faster (some people waited for 20 minutes for a bun). That’s what’s cool about the market; there is this great public that shows up willing to wait a bit longer for something. Almost all the vendors at this market sold out of what they brought; the hot vendors seemed to be the most popular.
The SF Underground Market is a pretty straightforward idea. It was created as venue for all those of us who make stuff. Maybe its jam, maybe its pulled pork sandwiches, maybe its. It’s a space for those of us without the resources to jump through the increasing maze of regulatory hoops that have been imposed on food producers in this great city. I've given a lot on thought to why so many people come to these markets. Not that I'm complaining, any organizer loves to see people lining up for their event, but people throw food events all the time without this kind of draw.
I think people love the idea of coming out to support people like them. People who love to make food, have been making it for years, but have never, for whatever reason, been able to make that leap to selling it. The vendors at my market don't have business licenses or commercial kitchens. Many of them are 9-5'ers who have had an interest in starting a small business for years, but need a jumpstart to get it going. Anyone can be a vendor at the SF Underground Market, all you need is a skill and focus.
If you want to be a vendor at the next market, go to http://foragesf.com/market/vendors/faq/