It’s impossible to miss the fingerprints of fall and nowhere are they more visible than at our farmers market, where their imprint is superimposed on summer’s fading impressions. It is a time of year that can make us wish we had an unlimited capacity for eating: So many tomatoes, so many peppers, so much melon, all soon to be gone, and all those delicious fall foods beckoning!
The Healdsburg farmers market on Saturday morning is an explosion of color, with every hue of yellow, orange, red and purple highlighted by an artist’s palette of green.
This Saturday, the first chestnuts will appear, from Sally Weed. She grows vegetables in Dry Creek Valley but her chestnuts come from the family farm in Colusa County. She sells them raw, of course, but sometimes also roasts them at the market.
Sharon Vyborny of Alexander Valley has table grapes and Asian pears. Ken Gradeck has Asian pears, pears and apples.
Renie and Joel Kiff of Ridgeview Farms have some of the year’s first quince, along with a great selection of apples, beautiful zinnias, pretty little radishes, sweet red watermelons, arugula, lettuce and more.
Several farmers are now selling pumpkins, winter squash and gourds, among them Early Bird’s Place and Foggy River Farm. The Cinderella pumpkinseems to have finally taken its well-deserved place at the center of the stage. If there’s ever been a more classically beautiful pumpkin, I’ve not seen it.
Family Gourmet Farms has crimini and portobello mushrooms grown in Petaluma and Sophie’s Five Acres has beautiful cut flowers.
Several farms still have an abundant harvest of summer crops. Middleton Gardens has its beautiful Moon & Stars melons, along with the best raspberries I’ve ever tasted, tomatoes, peppers, onions, the last of the season’s green beans and more. Ortiz Farm has plenty of braising greens, radishes, potatoes, poblanos, Anaheim peppers, hot peppers, tomatoes, flowers and excellent cilantro and parsley. (The farm is also growing Mexican marigolds, perfect for your Los Muertos altar; look for them later this month.)
Strong Arm Farms has honey, flowers, seaweed, greens and more, with apples and pears from the Harrisons, formerly of Sonoma Antique Apple Nursery. Soda Rock is still going strong with a huge array of colorful peppers and tomatoes, along with eggplant and lemon cucumbers.
Bernier Farms continues to offer its excellent array of peppers, garlic, strawberries, carrots, lemon cucumbers, tomatoes and salad greens, along with Crane melons. Geyserville Gardens has both watermelons and muskmelons, along with tomatoes and hot and mild peppers, including the popular Sahuara pepper, great for stuffing.
Several vendors, including John Kearns’s Healdsburg Farm Fresh Eggs, have eggs from pastured chickens but, still, there are not enough to keep up with demand.
There is plenty of grass-fed meat at the Healdsburg market, from Williams Ranches, which specializes in extraordinary lamb; John Ford Ranch, best known for its beef and Owen Family Farm, with goat, lamb, veal and a few secondary products like sausages and goat skins. Gleason Ranch attends this market, too, though they currently don’t have much chicken, for a time their signature product. Last Saturday, they had plenty of ham. Expect a new producer of chicken in November.
Dave Legro offers his excellent seafood here and Paul Thornton is on hand with his smoked salmon and dry wit. If you need a laugh–and even if you don’t–you can always count on Paul.
This market continues through November 26, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Healdsburg’s Tuesday afternoon market will operate through October 25.
“People forget about the market after Labor Day,” Mary Kelley, manager of the Healdsburg farmers markets says. Apparently, many shoppers get so busy with back-to-school duties and such that the market slips off their schedules. But the market is probably the best place to pick up things for school lunches so keep it on your schedule if you can.
The Saturday market takes place from 9 a.m. to noon in the parking lot at North and Vine Streets, one block west of the town plaza.