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Best Farmers' Market 

Grand Lake

For foodies who abhor the mob scene that has become the downtown Berkeley farmers' market (to say nothing of what takes place at the Bowl on the weekends), this Saturday morning market is a welcome relief. For one thing, at Grand Lake there are more farmers than merchants, and that means it's all about the fresh fennel, not chipped crystal necklaces (not that there's anything wrong with chipped crystal necklaces, but they can be tough on the teeth and gums). One East Bay chef, who prefers to remain anonymous so his well-known employer won't get his toque in a bunch, says this market has become the produce palace of choice for those in the know. "It's smaller, it's quicker, and it's not loaded up with a bunch of unnecessary stuff. If it's just food you want, it's the place to go," reports the mystery chef. Located across from the plush surroundings of Lake Merritt, the market is also, almost literally, a walk in the park.

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