The Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market has always taken on both Wednesdays and Saturday yet et even after several decades at the same location, the east parking lot of the Veterans Building at the corner of Maple and Brookwood Avenues, the Wednesday market is nowhere near as well attended as the Saturday market.
But this market is an excellent mid-week resource, offering both opportunities unavailable on Saturday. Parking is easy, as is getting into and out of the market, both of which can be difficult on Saturdays, especially when there are other events in the area. The market’s leisurely pace makes chatting with farmers and ranchers, one of the ways to truly understand what you buy, easy.
Dream Catcher Ranch attends only on Wednesdays. Last week, the Santa Rosa ranch had several types of meat, including pork bellies and jowls, for sale and also was soliciting members for its CSA program, which offers Berkshire pork at just $5 a pound and bison, available only to CSA members, for $9.50 a pound. If you’re interested in the CSA but can’t attend on Wednesday, visit thedreamcatcherranch.com.
Neufeld Farms has dried pears, apricots, pluots, white nectarines, yellow nectarines, Bing cherries and incredibly delicious Royal Anne cherries that include, the vendor warned me, pips, underscoring a new trend, the surprise of seeds.
Tom Noble of Armstrong Valley Farm also cautioned me that his clementines have seeds; his brother suggested posting a warning sign. I blame this on the popularity of seedless watermelon, which is grown not for taste but for seedlessness. <<ital>>But people, fruit has seeds! <<ital>>As heirloom varieties become increasingly common, expect to encounter more seeds and pips. It is simply how nature works.
Armstrong Valley Farm also has beets, lemons, limes, grapefruit, huge delicious carrots, potatoes, cabbage, kohlrabit, shallots, cauliflower, winter greens and eggs, which are, overall, in limited supply in the winter.
Mei-Hee Hill Gardens of Sebastopol still has fresh jalapenos, along with dried chiles, kale lettuces, chard and wonderful labeled plant stakes for your spring garden. Hector Alvarez also has fresh and dried chiles, along with onions, fresh tomatillos, persimmons, winter squash and, of course, honey.
Triple T has braising greens, lettuce mix, herbs, broccoli, spinach, hot sauces, chicken and duck eggs and, sometimes, fresh chicken, which you need to request, as it is not displayed.
When it comes to prepared foods, there’s plenty, including roasted almonds from Redel’s Roasted Almond; jams from Just Like Grandma’s; a selection of oils from The Olive Press; breads and pastries from Full Circle; dips and sauces from The Hummus Guy; tamales, enchiladas and salsas from Mi Fiesta and lobster cioppino and smoked trout from Santa Rosa Seafood, which also has fresh fish, clams, mussels, octopus and salt cod.
Bohemian Well-Being Farm attends this market with shiitakes, oyster mushrooms and other fungi, including maitake mushrooms, which you should ask for if you don’t see.
DeSantis Farms has an extraordinary selection of familiar and exotic citrus, including Cara Cara oranges, and Schletewitz has good sweet potatoes, naval oranges and other citrus and some late-harvested crimson grapes.
It is important to keep in mind that all our year round farmers markets, including this one, take place rain-and we may get more–or shine. Santa Rosa’s Wednesday market opens at 8:30 a.m. and wraps up at noon.