Summer is in full swing at the Sebastopol farmers market, which takes place on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., though both vendors and customers linger long past closing time.
There are several farmers with tomatoes, but only slicers, no cherry tomatoes. The Patch, Laguna Farms and The Peach Farm all had a variety or two, though local tomatoes are not yet in full swing. Next week, I tell myself every Sunday.
Three vendors have the popular Padron chiles, Triple T, Armstrong Valley Farm and Robin Burton. If you don’t love heat, be cautious with Triple T’s Padrons, which seem to have a greater percentage of fiery chiles. If you love a searing surprise, these are the ones for you. Armstrong Valley and the Peach Farm are offering the first sweet peppers of the season, Gypsy peppers, but there no poblanos yet. The Patch has the first of the year’s bell peppers.
Several vendors have zucchini and other summer squash and Smiling Sun Farms has beautiful Romansco
zucchini, which has a silken texture and does not fall apart when cooked. Smiling Sun, located south of town on Gravenstein Highway, also has favas from a spring planting, along with cucumbers, fennel, carrots, torpedo onions, scallions, leeks, kale, eggs, organic sachets, sunflowers and mixed flower bouquets.
It’s a good time for cucumbers; there are several varieties, including big Armenian cucumbers from Hector Alvarez, beautiful lemon cucumbers from Armstrong Valley Farm and good pickling cucumbers from The Peach Farm. The Patch has excellent salad cucumbers.
The supply of sturdy greens–chard, kales, collards–remains strong and there are plenty of golden and red beets, turnips, carrots and all manner of onions, from scallions, small reds and torpedos to large yellow and red onions. It’s a great time of year to make cole slaw, with red and green cabbage, huge kohlrabi, red radishes, daikon radishes and onions all readily available. Fresh herbs are abundant, too, with plenty of basil for fresh pesto.
Triple T Farms has cilantro, watercress, chives, thyme, oregano, sage, parsley, several varieties of basil and lots of arugula.
Rainbow’s End Farm has a wonderful selection of plums, including Santa Rosa, Shiro, Plumcot and Umi plums, as well as blackberries, apples, flowers, eggs, lavender, no-added-sugar fruit spreads and herb spreads.
Nancy Skall has her always delicious harvest, which includes, in part, strawberries, pears, peaches, shallots, thin stalks of rhubarb, basil, tiny zucchini with blossoms attached, garlic, torpedo onions, and several varieties of green beans, though the Spanish Musica, my favorite, are not yet ready.
Earthworkers Farm currently has strawberries, sunflower sprouts, spicy salad mix, Armenian cucumbers, collards and little packages of pretty orange calendula and blue borage,
perfect for adding to salads and using as an edible garnish. New Family Farm, which uses a team of horses to plow their fields, has lettuces and other salad greens and beautiful kales. First Light Farms also has a great selection of sturdy greens, along with pretty red leaf lettuces, sprouts and onions. New Carpati Farm currently has shiitake mushrooms and oyster mushrooms.
Orchard Farm has a remarkably diverse harvest, with everything from butter lettuce and Little Gem Romaine lettuce to watermelon and daikon radish, bok choy, broccoli, broccoli rabe, green onions, cauliflower, Napa cabbage, golden and red beets, salad mix, zucchini, carrots, cucumbers, parsley, chard, kales, zucchini, several varieties of green beans and delicious strawberries.
Brock Fulmer’s Black Sheep Farm, located in Potter Valley, currently has several cuts of beef and pork, though no bacon yet. This bacon gets my vote for the very best of local bacons and I’m hoping there will be some in time for BLT season.
Several vendors, including The Peach Farm and Twin Peaks, have stone fruit, Terra Savia has a delicious array of olive oils, olives and estate wines and Mariapple Farm has organic apple juice. Bloomfield Bees and Hector Alvarez both have local honey and the Cosmic Cookie Jar has gluten-free sweets.
Weirauch Farms, which now attends weekly, has an extraordinarily delicious selection of cow’s milk cheeses, available for both tasting and purchase, along with their luxurious sheep milk soap. It will be a while before they introduce their sheep milk cheeses, as they are currently in the midst of building the dairy. Javier Salmon is a weekly regular at the market, too, with his beautifully crafted goat cheeses and his dangerously addictive dulce de leche.
Fisherman Dave Legros has been out on his boat a lot these days, while his daughter presides over the stall, which was doing brisk business on Sunday, next to Taylor Maid Farm’s booth, where you’ll find a great selection of organic coffees and teas.
Prepared foods to enjoy on the spot are in good supply in Sebastopol, with delicious Indian cuisine from Lata, pizza from Rosso and delicious options from Mateo Granados, including his famous Yucatan tamales, huevos rancheros, tacos de chorizo, quesadillas and, my favorite, cheviche tostadas, along with an always-yummy agua fresca. Mateo had good news, too, assuring me that his farmers market booths will continue after his Healdsburg restaurant opens in a few weeks.
Juicyness offers freshly made juices in three sizes, including a very refreshing cucumber-lemon juice, carrot juice, strawberry lemon juice, apple juice and red watermelon juice that tastes just as it should, like watermelon.
Part of the charm of the Sebastopol farmers market are the only-in-west-county moments, of which there were many this last Sunday. On one side of the market, Owen Family Farm was doing brisk business selling grass-fed goat, along with beef, pastured veal, milk-fed lamb and both goat and sheep skins, while on the opposite of the market, Goat Rescue of Sonoma County, with its sign proclaiming “Where goats are pets NOT Dinner,” introduced 13-day-old Lady Gaga, full-grown Britney Spears and a number of other celebrity-named goats to curious shoppers as a nearby woman waved her
golden Icarus wings in time to psychedelic guitar.
Goat Rescue has been present weekly throughout much of the summer and on Sunday the Wellness Fair, an annual event at this market, offered more than the usual number of healing booths. You could get an allergy test, a muscle-response hormone test, an alchemical healing, have your eyes read, get a spinal assessment, talk with a feng shui consultant, have a personal art consultation to discover who you really are, get a flower essence reading and a mini chi nei tsang treatment, treat yourself to all manner of massage, join Food Addicts and Sugar Recovery and try out those Icarus wings.
Manager Paula Downing does a near miraculous job of creating balance and maintaining harmony among such a disparate group of both vendors and shoppers.
Next Sunday, the Sebastopol farmers market celebrates the Gravenstein apple, the first of three such celebrations at local farmers markets this month. There will be a range of activities, including an apple pie contest. If you think you have a winner, just show up with your pie before 11 a.m. The winner will receive a specially crafted crown, along with market bucks and other prizes. There will be an apple press and a free tasting of just-pressed juice, activities for kids and more, including an opportunity to buy apple pie from Dominique Cortara.
The Sebastopol farmers market is located in the town plaza at the corner of Petaluma and McKinley Avenues, across from Box Office Video and Whole Foods.