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A farmers' market breakfast: Laughing babies, hungry dogs, grass-fed popsicles and a BLT as big as the outdoors

Mike Sutter

The people who collect the trash at the farmers market downtown are what you might call particular. They've covered all the public litter bins with burlap coffee sacks, and the only option besides your pockets is the recycling separation station. "It puts the sticks in the basket or it gets the hose again," I imagine being told as I pull apart my popsicles for proper dispatch.

But the vendors who lay out their heirloom tomatoes, delicata squash, honey and fresh eggs along Indiana Jones-style corridors of market stalls aren't without a sense of humor about things. "Get your grass-fed popsicles here!" said Manuel Flores from his new Mom & Pops paleta cart.

The Saturday morning commotion in Republic Square Park included the flash and jingle of a children's parade and lots of laughing babies, cool dads and scrap-hunting dogs. The line for peaches stretched 15 people deep. And that's when I knew assembling a farmers' market breakfast was going to require battalion-style planning: Map out the booths, assess the lines and make sure the hot stuff stays hot and the cool stuff doesn't evaporate in the sun.

Peaches were a good place to start, and I bought a $5 basket of 10 or 11 of them in various sizes and shades of ripeness from Lightsey Farms in Mexia. They were like candy wrapped in velour.

A new kind of city permit is allowing more vendors here to cook and sell hot food. At Thai Fresh, the market-stall extension of Jam Sanitchat's restaurant at 909 W. Mary St., she was selling a bao bun with Berkshire pork, plus pad thai, chicken curry and more. A Thai omelet breakfast taco ($3.50) had just enough of a tilted-axis spice profile to evoke Asian taco trucks.

Next, I caught a lull in the traffic at Dai Due — the shrine to cured meat and epicuriousity from Jesse Griffiths — to order an $8 BLT. It was packed with four thick slices of bacon charred at the edges, plus Bibb lettuce and slices of tomato as big as my palm and thick as my thumb. Why the hand imagery? Because there was no way that team was staying put between two slices of bread, and I used my hands to eat it piece by piece, the better to appreciate how fine the separate elements were.

I missed only by fate's breath having that BLT scarfed by a heavy-breathing pug when I set it down to buy a cup of hot black Sidamo from Texas Coffee Traders ($2).

And finally, something cool from Fete Accompli: a cold glass of organic blueberry lemonade ($3). Blindfolded, I'd have never picked out blueberry, but it lent a fruit punch smoothness to its citrus glassmate. If I hadn't needed some color for a photo, I'd have poured an agua fresca with coconut milk, galia melon and lime.

My farmers' market breakfast ran $21.50, with enough to feed two and take home a few peaches in that plastic bag where I stashed my forks and empty cups. Please don't tell the recycling police.

Downtown farmers market

9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays at Republic Square Park, Fourth and Guadalupe streets. Free. More markets at www.sfcfarmersmarket.org .