If rain keeps you away from your local farmers market, you’re missing out, and not just on the freshest produce around. The smiles and gratitude from the vendors are more than reward enough for bundling up and heading out when a warm fire tempts you to stay home. The way I look at it, if the farmers are willing to deal with the rain and cold, the least I can do is show up and support them.
At the Sebastopol farmers market on Sunday, shoppers did not seem deterred by the rain, or so it seemed as I circle the block three times in search of a parking place. Although there were not as many vendors at Sunday’s market as there usually are, it seemed that it was primarily craft vendors had opted out, especially those who sell items made of fabric, which is easily damaged by the rain.
Triple T Farms has plenty of both sweet and mild chiles, including Padrons. The Patch has what is likely their last tomatoes, the stragglers that lack the sweet voluptuous of even a couple of weeks ago but are still good for a final batch of homemade salsa. Hector Alvarez has a lot of great chiles, including beautiful poblanos, perfect for Pozole Verde and Chile Verde.
Robin Burton has beautiful apples and a diverse selection of both hot and sweet chiles. Last Sunday, she also had paper whites–i.e., narcissus–that were already sprouting, making them ideal for pretty tabletop
Armstrong Valley Farm has a great selection of greens, potatoes, beets and more. The Lacinato kale is some of the freshest I’ve seen anywhere; I snagged two bunches, along with potatoes for soup that I made that evening. Orchard Farm has Little Gem and other lettuces, burdock root, broccolini, turnips, beets, celery, fat leeks, thin green onions and more. A rectangular basket overflowed with little arugula, which had been missing from our markets for a week or two, thanks to heavy rains at exactly the wrong time.
Several other vendors had arugula, too.
Among First Light Farm’s fall harvest are lettuces, braising greens, fennel, whimsically-shaped fingerling potatoes that resemble space aliens and both large and small cabbages. The little cabbages are delicious cut into very thin strips and used raw as a bed for grilled meats drizzled with a delicate lemon vinaigrette.
Twin Peaks Orchards has a beautiful selection of persimmons, along with Satsuma mandarins, beautiful pomegranates and a selection of condiments. Rainbow’s End Farm has a big selection of apples, along with farm-made condiments.
Stone Horse Produce has large and small winter squash, fresh gourds and dried gourds. Strong Arm Farm has chiles, herbs and more, including seaweed.
Sonoma Coast Organic Produce attended the market for the last time this year, with chanterelles, chestnuts and quince. (They will be at the Santa Rosa farmers market this morning and then we won’t see them again until next fall.)
Owen Family Farm has rabbit, veal, lamb and beef, along with acorn-fed pork, including pork cheeks, which I snagged to make Pozole Verde using Hector’s poblanos and Robin’s jalapenos and serranos.
Fisherman Dave Legro, whose last week is this coming Sunday, had Coho salmon, local halibut and delicious homemade chowders, along with flounder and Oregon baby shrimp, both of which sold out early.
There is good sausage from Franco Dunn and excellent bread from Full Circle Baking Co. Weirauch Farm & Creamery has a beautiful selection of cheeses, any of which is perfect on your holiday table, as are the delicious selections of Bodega Goat Cheese from Yerba Santa Goat Dairy.
Terra Savia had their olive oil at the farmer, but left early; The Hummus Guy was on hand, too, but with a smaller-than-usual display.
Dominique Cortara of Dominique’s Sweets, now a weekly vendor, has delicate macarons, lusty pumpkin pies–by the slice or by the pie–and other sweet pastries.
Nancy Skall of Middleton Gardens took the day off.
Rosso’s Pizzeria, Mateo’s Yucatan Tamales, and Lata’s Indian Cuisine provided foods to enjoy and to take home. Princess Aisha had her extraordinary hand-made soaps and shea butter, both of which make excellent gifts, along with jewelry, drums and more.
And everyone, whether or not I’ve managed to fit them into this column, had a big smile, as warm as the sun, which broke through the clouds briefly as I headed towards the car, happy that I had made it to the market and happy, too, to be heading home to a warm fire and an afternoon of cooking.
The Sebastopol Farmers Market takes place on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the parking lot of the town plaza, across from Whole Foods on McKinley Ave. at Petaluma Ave. It is now a year-round market, without its traditional December through March break. Paula Downing is the market’s manager.