I HAVE BEEN WAITING (ALMOST PATIENTLY) FOR ALL OUR FARMER'S MARKETS TO REALLY GET GOING TO TELL YOU ABOUT THEM AND HOW MUCH I LOVE SUMMER IN SONOMA. IT SEEMS LIKE EVERYTHING IS COMING IN ALL AT ONCE- STILL SOME CHERRIES AROUND AND I SAW APRICOTS YESTERDAY THAT I THOUGHT WOULD BE GONE BY NOW. SUMMER SQUASH IS EVERYWHERE AND THE EARLY TOMATOES AND ALL THE STONE FRUITS AND... THAT'S THE SUMMER SEASON IN CALIFORNIA AND PARTICULARLY IN SONOMA COUNTY.
All summer long we can subsist on Farmer's markets , the produce stands, and OF COURSE, our neighbors. All the fixin's for a fresh salad, freshly baked bread, something for dessert- don't forget the wine and some fresh flowers- I am seeing sunflowers everywhere (including over my neighbor's fence). Throw in a few food trucks and that is all you need to get through the summer. This county is so diverse and focused on what we can grow ourselves you can find some real treasures direct from the people who grew it.
Locavores unite - And no grocery stores!
I tend to buy too much anyway and then I have some friends here at Farmhouse Inn who off their excess on me. I just heard from Jenn that she planted excess Patty Pan squash this year (Yes!) and my neighbor is growing the Romanesco
zucchini that Michele was raving about in her Seasonal Pantry column. And I happened by my brother's house the other night - he has the most amazing fig tree!
You know the Santa Rosa Press Democrat writers have done it to me again. Michele Anna Jordan's column this week was about the Farmer's Markets and of course, being a professional she has done a far better job than I ever could (but I think she stole my bit about "every day except Monday" - I had it first).
Here's a few excerpts from her column this week:
"The season of abundance, which arcs over summer and fall, is in full swing, with all 16 of our farmers markets open, offering 23 market opportunities each week. Markets take place every day but Monday and on certain days — Wednesdays, for example — you have a choice of three or four.
If you've been wanting to shift your shopping habits from supermarket-based to farmers-market-based, now is the best time.
With nearly everything we need to stock our pantries, larders and refrigerators available, it is easy to do almost all food shopping outside, under a beautiful blue sky in what have become our community commons.
Farmers markets are, of course, the best source for the freshest fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers. Yet as markets have matured, they also have become excellent destinations for everything from eggs, yogurt, cheese, fish, shellfish, poultry and meat to olive oil, vinegar, condiments and spices.
You can speak directly with the vendors, those who care for animals, who fish, who pickle and who pick and process the olives for that luscious oil."
"If something is at the market, it is in season. You can't find a closer connection to the ebb and flow of the seasons, to the land itself and its bounty, unless you start farming yourself.
Newcomers to farmers markets should keep a few things in mind. First, for the best selection, arrive early. Try to bring small bills so that farmers don't run out of change early in the day. Bring your own bags and, if you want to linger over breakfast or lunch, bring a cooler and, if you plan to buy bouquets, a bucket of water."
I think that about says it all- don't you? Here's a list of the local markets. I have my favorites - I am sure you have yours.
Guerneville Farmer's Market
Thursday through September: 3-7pm,Downtown Guerneville
Healdsburg Farmers Market
Saturday (May-November): 9 a.m.-noon, one block west of the Plaza on Foss Creek.Wednesday (June-October): 4-7 p.m., at North and Vine Streets, two blocks northwest of the Plaza in the Purity/Cerri parking lot.
Occidental Farmers Market
Friday (June-October): 4 p.m.-dusk, downtown Occidental.
Petaluma Farmers Market
Saturday (May-November): 2-5:30 p.m., in Walnut Park.
Wednesday (June-August): 4:30-8 p.m., on 2nd Street between B and D Streets.
Rohnert Park Farmers Market
Friday (June-September): 5-8 p.m., at City Center Plaza (next to the library), 600 City Center Drive.
Santa Rosa Farmers Market
Wednesday: 8:30 a.m.-noon, in the south parking lot of the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts (off Highway 101 in north Santa Rosa).
Saturday: 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m., in the same location as the Wednesday market.
Sebastopol Farm Market
Sunday (Year-Round): 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m., in Sebastopol Plaza on Weeks Way in downtown Sebastopol.
Tuesday (May-October): Valley of the Moon Certified Farmers Market, 5:30 p.m.-dusk, behind City Hall on Sonoma’s Plaza.
Friday (Year-Round): Sonoma Valley Certified Farmer’s Market, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., in the Arnold Field parking lot at 241 West First Street, Sonoma.
Windsor Certified Farmer’s Market
Sunday (April-December): 10 a.m.-1 p.m., on Market Street in Old Downtown.
Thursday (June-August): 5-8 p.m., same location as Sunday.
My favorites are spread all over the county- some based on the vendors, some have music or some sort of entertainment, some have the food trucks, and some are just on the way to something else I have to do.
So many reasons to love Sonoma county in the summertime!