There’s a wreath on the door of the Green String Farm Store, located at the corner of Adobe Rd. and Frates Rd. in Petaluma, made of beautiful feathers, some of which I recognize as coming from Barred Cochin hens. All the feathers in the wreath are from the happy chickens who live here. In a far corner, there’s a record player and a growing collection of vintage vinyl, much of it dropped off by customers who no longer want the albums. There’s always a record spinning, often playing a well-loved song you’ve completely forgotten. It is one of the many pleasures of shopping here.
In mid-December, two interns are painting an adorable little house, a two-story structure that looks like an enormous doll house, big enough for kids but small enough that teenagers and adults are excluded. Beyond it are two spacious bathrooms in a separate structure opposite a large chicken coop.
Most produce, except for potatoes, is arranged outside, where you’ll also find plants, plant starts, crushed rock and other gardening rocks. Bob Canard Jr., long time farmer and co-founder, with Fred Cline, of Green String Farm, is a passionate advocate of using rocks to nourish the land, including home gardens.
On a recent visit, bins and boxes were filled with not-yet-ripe Hachiya persimmons, apples, quince, pomegranates, broccoli, cauliflower, several types of kale and chard, lettuces, frisee, radicchio, mustard greens, cabbage, beets, potatoes, leeks, green onions, spring onions, storage onions, fennel and fresh and dried herbs. There are still several varieties of chiles, including padrons, jalapenos and Thai and a big selection of winter squashes, including Sugar Pie pumpkin, butternut, Hubbard and Trombonchino, a rare variety with a long, thin, curved neck.
Inside the store, you’ll find almonds, vinegar, olive oil, Vella butter, a few good cheeses, membrillo, a freezer full of excellent grass-fed beef and eggs, if they haven’t sold out. Eggs are gathered twice daily. You should take a minute to visit the chickens in their coop behind the store; the varieties, some of which look more like feather dusters than living beings, will make you smile with delight. Farmstead preserves line several shelves and they’ve recently added herbed sel gris–I love the one with savory–to the selections. There are Green String t-shirts and onesies and aprons made of recycled fabric.
Prices on everything here are surprisingly reasonable. Bulk olive oil, for example, is $1 an ounce and red wine vinegar, aged 20 years, is $6 for a 750ml bottle. The one thing that is expensive is plastic bags. If you must use theirs, they are 10 cents each. I think it is a brilliant move to encourage shoppers to remember to bring bags.
Green String Farm also runs a community compost program where you can add your kitchen scraps, wood ash and yard waste, such as lawns clippings and prunings less than one-half inch in diameter.
There are plenty of good alternatives for local farm foods when you can’t make it to one of Sonoma County’s three year-round farmers markets and Green String Farm is one of the best, especially if you live in Petaluma, Lakeville, Two Rock, Penngrove or Cotati. The store is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through the winter; once spring arrives, it will remain open until 6 p.m.