The first Sebastopol farmers market of the year opened under a huge bowl of clear blue sky with no promise of rain. The chilly morning warmed quickly; by 11 a.m., shoppers were loosening their scarves and shedding their coats.
The market has gone year-round for the first time and local folks still express surprise that it is up and running.
But it is thriving.
Paula Downing, manager, has reduced the number of vendors; all fit in the parking lot.
“I want to be sure each vendor makes money,” Downing explains, “and so I’m keeping it smaller until people get the habit.”
The number of vendors may be limited but there’s a remarkable abundance of local produce.
You’ll find all manner of winter greens–collards, kales, chards, mustard greens, spinach and arugula–and winter squashes. Several vendors have potatoes, Earthworker Farms has plenty of yacon and cabbages, both green and red, are big, beautiful and crisp. You’ll find garlic, shallots, green onions, yellow onions, kohlrabi, several types of broccoli, beets, burdock root, salsify, parsnips, several varieties of radishes, bok choy, tot soi, Italian parsley, Brussels sprouts, rutabaga and radicchio.
There’s a lot of fruit, including persimmons, pineapple guava, limes, Eureka lemons, Meyer lemons, clementines, oranges, grapefruit and kiwi. Some is from out of the area but there is also excellent local fruit, including citrus from Armstrong Valley Farm, which also has eggs.
Triple T Farm has both chicken and duck eggs but the chicken eggs sell out early in the day. Rainbow’s End Farm has eggs, too, along with herb spreads, dried fruit, carrots and more, including a fresh herb drink that seems to have magical powers over colds.
Weirauch Farm & Creamery has delicious cheeses, as does Bodega Goat Cheese. Owen Family Farm has dry-aged grass-fed beef, acorn-fed pork, pastured veal, lamb, rabbit, bacon and sausage.
Terra Savia attends with its outstanding olive oil and excellent wines, along with several other products.
Dave Legro, now at the market year-round, has Gulf shrimp and flounder, Oregon baby shrimp, wild King salmon from Alaska, ahi, scallops, which always sell out early, and more. He’s also introduced his hot clam chowder, $5 a cup. If you’d rather take it home, a large container is $10 and I can vouch that it is luscious and delicious.
The Comic Cookie Jar has a wide selection of gluten-free foods, along with hot apple cider and hot chocolate. Mateo’s Yucatan Tamales has it usual extensive menu, including Preston lamb hash, chilaquiles with Preston pork, huevos rancheros and more.
Mi Fiesta has its line of salsas, enchiladas and chips, along with hot tamales to enjoy on the spot for $2 each.
Not Yer Momma’s has its fantastic line of handmade granolas, Dominique’s Sweets has French macarons, little galettes and more, and several vendors have jams, jellies, conserves and hot sauces. There’s a new vendor with breakfast pastries, cookies and sweet breads.
Tierra Vegetables is now attending this market with organic shell beans, dried chiles, smoked onions and other farm products.
The market has a rotating selection of crafts and other products, including beautiful lapis lazuli jewelry, ceramics and organic kitchen, bedroom and bath linens.
The Sebastopol Farmers Market takes place in the parking lot of the town plaza at the corner of McKinley and Petaluma Avenues, across from Whole Foods Market, from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., rain–fingers crossed–or shine.