Santa Rosa has a new farmers market, bringing the total number of year-round and seasonal markets within the city to six. Two are held at the Veterans Building (on Wednesday and Saturday mornings), two take place in Oakmont, one downtown on Wednesday nights and, now, one at Coddingtown.
The newest market, which opened on Thursday, July 7, is a satellite of the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market. Located behind Coddingtown and in front of the offices of WIC (the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, administered by the county), this new market reaches out to a densely populated yet underserved area, where many residents are low-income.
There are myriad benefits to establishing a farmers market here. Families that qualify can sign up for WIC if they have not already done so and those that already participate receive coupons they can use at the market. The market accepts CalFresh, California’s food stamp program, and is currently offering $2 in Senior Bucks to anyone 60 or older, double what the market offers as an incentive on Wednesdays.
The market is small, just four vendors. Yet there are advantages to the stripped-down selections. There is actually a staggering amount of produce available from the four farmers and without other vendors offering everything from vinegar, olive oil, condiments and paella to enjoy on the spot to clothing, bat houses, tropical plants and chicken coops, the produce assumes center stage. Actually, it takes up the entire stage and this is a good thing for families who have had to drive a distance to find local seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Ortiz Farm, located at the corner of Bellevue Ave. and Stony Point Rd., attends the market and is currently offering several types of summer squash, beets, carrots, broccoli, green beans, onions, leeks, zucchini blossoms, red leaf lettuce, Romaine lettuce, cabbage, potatoes, cucumbers, two varieties of radish, green onions, garlic, turnips, a big variety of braising greens and beautiful flowers, including sunflowers and gladiolas. The farm’s tomatoes are also beginning to ripen. Ortiz Farm produce is reasonably priced, reliably high quality and diverse enough that you could eat for a week shopping only at this stall.
The Patch is equally diverse, with similar prices and excellent quality. Currently, the Sonoma farm has several varieties of beets, including the delicately flavored Chioggias, Blue Lake green beans, Romano beans, potatoes, zucchini, patty pan squash, yellow zucchini, onions, Nantes carrots and garlic. The first of their tomatoes should appear any
Farmer Eddie Chavez’s EGB Farms, located south of Manteca in Ripon, has ripe tree fruit, including apricots, red plums, nectarines, peaches, almonds and, a long time favorite of mine, green plums.
Finally, there’s the Schletewitz Farm of Sanger in Fresno County, with its great selection of stone fruit, including yellow Dolly plums, white nectarines, white peaches, yellow peaches, apricots, pluots and early beefsteak tomatoes.
Both EGB Farms and Schletewitz Farm offer tastes of what they sell, making it easy not just to assess quality but also to find the flavors you prefer.
This new farmers market takes place Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. until noon. Will it become an established year-round market? It’s way too soon to tell but all it needs to thrive is customers. If you live nearby, check it out. It’s a very easy place to shop. There are no crowds, there is free parking and there are eager vendors who will be very happy to see you.
The hard-working Paula Downing, manager of the Wednesday and Saturday Santa Rosa markets and of the Sunday farmers market in Sebastopol, has been instrumental in establishing our newest farmers market. She will not, however, serve as its long term manager. That position will be held by Nancy Sumida.