Seasonal farmers markets are beginning to conclude their 2011 seasons, with Windsor’s Thursday evening and Petaluma’s Wednesday evening markets already closed until spring.  Santa Rosa’s Wednesday Night Market wraps up the season this week, on September 14, two weeks later than originally planned to make up for two cancellations in June because of rain. This is a good thing, as shoppers who rely on this market have extra time to take advantage of summer’s harvest, which is more abundant than spring’s.
The Wednesday night farmers market, which is located on E Street between Third and Fifth Streets, is a mix of local and out-of-the-area vendors.
Hector Alvarez of Hector’s Honey of Santa Rosa has garlic, peppers, nopales, Armenian cucumbers and more, along with his always excellent honey and beeswax products.
There’s a second honey vendor here, too, Bear Foot Honey, also of Santa Rosa. They offer raw honeys, creamed honeys, honeys flavored with spices, beauty products, beeswax candles and more.
Bohemian Well-Being Farm of Occidental offers its selection of familiar and unusual mushrooms at this market and you’ll find beautiful dahlias from Aztec Dahlias of Santa Rosa.
When it comes to diversity, two farmers provide it. The Patch, located in Sonoma, has some of the year’s finest tomatoes, thanks to the valley’s warm climate. They also have excellent green beans, plenty of chiles, onions, garlic, cucumbers, zucchini and, if you arrive in time, very good basil.
French Garden Farm’s harvest is excellent right now, too. Their rainbow carrots–white, yellow, orange and red, are both delicious and beautiful, and the squat plump Paris Market carrots are almost too adorable for words. You’ll also find several varieties of lettuce and other greens, gorgeous herbs, Chioggia beets, potatoes, peppers, zucchini, onions, leeks and more, all displayed beautifully by Lilia Viramontes, who attends several farmers markets each week and sets up a garden market in the parking lot of the French Garden Restaurant and Bistro on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This farm also has tomatoes; the little Sungolds are delicious but the larger tomatoes have suffered the same fate as most west county tomatoes this year. The weather has not been warm enough to allow their full flavors to blossom. They’re good but not extraordinary, as tomatoes from warmer inland valleys are.
Home Maid Ravioli Co. has fresh pastas and a selection of sauces.
When it comes to out of the area vendors, you’ll find Thao’s Farm with a unique harvest that includes many hard-to-find Asian greens; Rhodes Farm of Visalia with tomatoes; Rodriguez Farm of Watsonville with strawberries and four vendors with stone fruit, EGB Farms of Riponi, the Fruit Factory of Sanger, Neufeld Farm of Kingsburg and Hamlow Ranch of Stanislaus.
This final market of the year is a great time to stock up on fruit for jams, jellies, chutneys and butters, for tomatoes to freeze whole or as sauce and peppers to sear and freeze.
The closure of this market does not, of course, mean you have to rely on supermarkets, but for many it will require a schedule adjustment and possibly a bit more driving.
The market opens at 5:30 and closes at 8 p.m.