On August 5th from 5:30-8pm, the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA) will be hosting ‘Getaway in a Glass: Summer Cocktails of the Farmers Market.’ This evening cocktail event will include three full-sized drinks featuring Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum, Herradura Silver Tequila, and Ketel One Vodka, as well as unlimited sample-size drinks, and hors d’oeuvres served by local restaurants. Guests can walk around the beautiful Grand Hall of the Ferry Building sampling these delicious treats, while listening to an international soundtrack and voting on their favorite drinks for the chance to win prizes.
CUESA is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1994 to teach the urban community about sustainable agriculture, and to demonstrate the connection between urban consumers and local farmers. Their ultimate goal is to see, ‘a healthy world nourished by environmentally sound, humane, economically viable, and socially just food systems.’ CUESA makes its food philosophy a reality of the San Francisco community through the diverse, high-quality Ferry Plaza Farmers Market that it has been running since 1999. Every Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday, CUESA’s certified farmers market takes place in the Ferry Plaza at the base of Market Street on the Embarcadero, rain or shine!
In keeping with CUESA’s mission, the ingredients of the cocktails served at this event come from the farmers market, creating a direct connection between the farm and the glass. In fact, this ‘farm to glass’ concept is one of the major themes of the event that is made possible through CUESA’s partnership with the United States Bartenders Guild, or USBG. Ever since 2008, CUESA has worked with the USBG Northern California chapter to organize these seasonal cocktail nights and introduce Bay Area bartenders to the bounty of the farmers market. Through this collaboration, new, inspiring drinks are created with fruits and vegetables that are in season. Some delicious summer fruits to be used in cocktails include an array of stone fruits (peaches, plums, pluots, nectarines,) as well as heirloom tomatoes, berries, figs, and more savory ingredients like peppers, cucumbers, and fresh herbs like basil and parsley.
This event serves as a great educational opportunity that showcases the amazing flavors of the farmers market. CUESA communications manager, Brie Mazurek, says that this evening cocktail event is, “a fun happy hour party infused with the CUESA mission, where our community can mix and mingle while enjoying creative drinks and bites made with local produce.” The audience has been increasing over the years; this cocktail event used to take place outside of the Ferry Building, but it is now located in the Grand Hall, which fits more people. Cocktail night goers include many Ferry Plaza Farmers Market regulars, but there are often many new people in attendance. This more formal, evening setting helps CUESA connect with people in a new and very successful way, as the previous event sold out at 450 guests.
At Getaway in a Glass, the USBG will be responsible for bringing in bartenders, and spirits donated by companies they work with like Herradura Silver, Ketel One, Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum as well as multiple tasters from No. 209 Gin, Angels Envy Whiskey, Hine Cognac: H by Hine (VSOP), Zaya Rum and many more. CUESA invites local restaurants to serve hors d’oeuvres at the event. At the walk-around tasting, guests are given unlimited sample-size drinks and tickets to try one of each bite. Restaurants Honor Kitchen, Lolinda and Tony’s Pizza Napoletana will be in attendance, and a complete list of bartenders, chefs, restaurants and spirits can be found here.
Besides the amazing food and drink that will be served at ‘Getaway in a Glass,’ guests will also be able to enjoy the beautiful architecture that is the Grand Hall of San Francisco’s Ferry Building. Built in 1898, this historic building has been a major transportation hub for more than a century and home to CUESA since the landmark was renovated in 2003. But the sprawling outdoor plaza that hosts the farmers market was not always the food mecca it is today.
Up until 1989, there was a freeway in front of the Ferry Building, which created a much more industrial vibe, until it was destroyed in the Loma Prieta earthquake. Once the space was cleared out and remodeled, CUESA was able to make a home for itself in this historic and scenic area of San Francisco; ‘Following the earthquake, it has been activated into a more public space,’ says Mazurek. Besides hosting the farmers market, the Ferry Building is home to a number of shops and restaurants, many of which shop at the renowned farmers market.
For those who will be unable to attend the early-August cocktail event, check out ‘Sunday Supper’ on October 18th. This annual dinner is CUESA’s largest fundraiser, and an extremely elaborate event. Over 30 San Francisco chefs will prepare a meal, which will also take place in the Ferry Building’s elegant Grand Hall. In the mean time, CUESA plans to continue running a world-class farmers market and educate the community about how to build a more sustainable and socially just food system.
By Alexandra Brown
Alexandra Brown is currently attending NYU double majoring in Journalism and Art History. She is a Bay Area native, former competitive swimmer and lifelong vegetarian who enjoys traveling, cooking, snorkeling and hiking.