Intimations of spring punctuated Saturday’s farmers market in Santa Rosa: fresh fava leaves from Bernier Farms, strawberries and Haas avocados from the Central Coast, and an Italian variety of avocado, thin-skinned, deliciously buttery and reminiscent of Hawaiian avocados, though smaller, from DeSantis Farm. EarthWorker Farm offered sunflower spouts, First Light Farm sold out of pea shoots early in the day and eggs, scarce a couple of weeks ago, were more plentiful. With a soft blue sky overhead and fresh aromas wafting from every stall, it was impossible not to sense spring’s imminence.
Even so, winter produce remains at its peak.
Redwood Empire Farm quickly sold out of radishes, broccoli, fennel, rainbow chard, Red Russian kale, Lacinato kale and spring mix. By 11 a.m., all that remained was winter squash.
Two mushroom vendors offer white buttons, criminis and portobellos and maitake, white trumpet, enoki, turkey tail and oyster.
There’s a bounty of citrus, including Eureka and Meyer lemons, several varieties of oranges, grapefruit, sweet limes, Buddha Hands, Satsumas and sweet Page Mandarins. DeSantis Farms has pomegranates and quince, too.
There are walnuts, some shelled, from fall’s harvest.
Armstrong Valley Farm has Brussels sprouts, Napa cabbage, red cabbage, braising greens, kale, salad mix, kohlrabi, garlic, shallots, potatoes, eggs and citrus. Orchard Farms has Napa cabbage, Brussels sprouts, purple cauliflower, broccoli, Romanesco broccoli, sprouting broccoli, salsify, turnips, daikon, radishes, Delicata squash, leeks, lettuce mix and arugula.
Hector Alvarez seems to expand his offerings weekly. He has chiles dried on their stalks, onions, winter squashes, tomatillos, garlic, onions, potatoes, fresh and dried persimmons, eggs, honeys and fresh kiwi.
In addition to fava leaves, Bernier Farms has herbs, winter squash, wild arugula, cauliflower, Romanesco broccoli, parsnips, kale, shallots, raddichio, carrots, celery root, Brussels sprouts, fennel, cabbage, lettuces, puntarella and more.
Middleton Farm has Hachiya persimmons, Eureka lemons, oranges, shallots, apples, sunchokes, leeks, fennel, celery root, beets, pears, Italian parsley, sprouting broccoli and some of the year’s first nettles, along with delicious preserves.
Triple T Farm has fresh stinging nettles, too, and spinach, sorrel, arugula, cilantro, salad mix, watercress, herbs, braising mix, cabbage, broccoli, winter squash, dried chiles, delicious farm-made hot sauces, eggs and fresh chicken, sold whole and halved, along with a selection of parts.
By 11 a.m., all that remained of Min-Hee Hill Gardens’ produce was fresh red and green jalapenos and a few other chiles.
There is plenty of seafood at this market, with smoked salmon from Carson’s Catch and a big selection–including raw clams and oysters–from Santa Rosa Seafood.
Salmon Creek Ranch has duck–including highly coveted duck fat–and beef. Owen Family Farm, now attending on alternate Saturdays, has rabbit, lamb, veal, pork and beef. Williams Ranches has delicious lamb, Franco Dunn’s sausage selection includes Neapolitan and Sweet Italian, along with chicken liver pate, and Pepper Ranch Poultry has both whole heritage breed chickens and a selection of innards.
Four vendors offer cheeses, butter and yogurt, including pints of Bellwether Farms extraordinary sheep milk yogurt.
Costeaux Bakery has a great selection of sweet and savory breads, as does Full Circle Baking.
This market includes a huge selection of condiments, from local olive oil and vinegar to all manner of sauces, dips, salads dressings, jams and jellies and when it comes to foods to enjoy on the spot, temptations range from tiny macarons, hot tamales and grilled oysters to bahn mi, Mediterranean sandwiches, soups, tacos and more.
The Santa Rosa Saturday farmers market opens at 8:30 a.m. and concludes at 1 p.m. in the east parking lot of the Veteran’s Building, at the corner of Brookwood and Maple Avenues.