Kingdom of Herbs

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Originally opened in 1898, the San Francisco Ferry Building has recently undergone some major changes and has once again become one of our city's much loved landmarks.

One of the most sublime changes was the opening of a permanent Farmer's Market, which draws huge crowds when it's open on weekends and Tuesdays.

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What you might not know, is that inside the Ferry Building there are a vast array of amazing shops specializing in what San Franciscans love best: food.

Besides the fish monger, meat markets, cheese artisans and specialty bakeries, there are also many wonderful and diverse restaurants.

But in addition to all that, there are some really unique shops that carry tons of great gear to cook with and to serve all the bountiful fresh foods you can buy here.

One of those places is the Kingdom of Herbs. They have a great selection of organic herbs and plants you can purchase to start your own little indoor herb garden. They also have a knowledgeable staff to help you select what will work best for your environment.

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Then there's the wide selection of potting tools and colorful pottery to plant them in. Doesn't it always feel really good to have bowls of beautiful fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as fresh flowers decorating your home?

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Kingdom of Herbs has the most beautiful and unique collection of vases, bowls and serving platters. There's gorgeous hand blown glass vases in amazing colors, and sleek modern wooden salad bowls and servers.

We saw lots of whimsical pottery full of polka-dots in bright colors, as well as subdued zen-looking pieces, perhaps for planting a good luck bamboo shoot. Something for every taste, no matter what type of garden you're planning, or table you're setting.

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Prices vary depending on the craftsmanship of the piece and there are some very expensive pieces. But there is definitely a variety of less expensive items as well; many that would make excellent holiday gifts. Like great serving pieces, local celebrity cookbooks, lovely wood cutting boards, and really fun farmer's market baskets; from rolling wicker hampers, to fun printed canvas bags. All so you can look like a regular shopper when you hit the Market each weekend.

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And the Market is a fun practice to get into. Located in the busy downtown area of the city, at the foot of Market Street, remember that parking can be difficult and weekends can be pretty crowded. You might consider public transportation, or park at The Embarcadero and walk across the street. And if you can get there early you'll beat the rush, get the best selection and enjoy an early morning at the market. A nice way to start the weekend.

- Victoria