The day starts at 4:30 a.m. That’s when Rebeka Northway rises well before the sun to hit the market where she pursues offerings from her favorite vendors, hoping to beat the rush and benefit from the best selection. As the summer begins to retreat into fall, there’s more inventory from nearby farms, so she makes her purchases taking into consideration what goes best with what, balancing color, freshness, and smell, among other factors. By mid-morning, she’s unloading her treasures at Zuni Cafe, the iconic wedge-shaped restaurant known for its roasted chicken and seasonal California cuisine.
But Northway doesn’t deal in edible wares like dry-farmed tomatoes and delicate little gem lettuces. Under her business name the Petaler, she’s become the go-to florist for many of San Francisco’s powerhouse dining destinations, including Zuni Cafe, State Bird Provisions, Octavia, and Nopa. On a recent Tuesday, her haul includes sprawling