If you turn from Adobe Rd. into the long driveway that leads to Petaluma’s Green String Farm Store, you’ll notice several leafless trees with thin golden upright branches. Morning sun glances off them so beautifully that it is tempting to simply stop driving and drink in the sight. If you continue to the farm, as you should, you’ll find some of these branches–they are willows–bundled for sale. You can take some a bunch home to decorate your porch say, or dining room, or give them to your favorite basket weaver.
Green String Farm is one of the best destinations for local produce when Petaluma’s farmers market is not in season and you can’t make it to the Friday farmers market in Sonoma or the San Rafael farmers market on Thursdays and Sundays. Until recently, there were two good options but Petaluma Bounty’s farm stand is closed for a month or so because of personnel changes. Stay tuned for news of its opening.
Currently, Green farm has some of the most beautiful beets I’ve seen all year, long cylindrical golden beets with a silky texture and mild flavor. There are several other varieties of beets, too, all good and all sporting pert green tops, perfect for soups and for sauteeing.
There are thin leeks, trimmed of long roots and long greens and ideal for poaching, so the $2 a pound price is a great deal. Large citrus–oranges, lemons–are $2 a pound and tiny Mandarin oranges are $3 a pound. Winter squash is available in many sizes and a few of the larger squashes–blue hubbard, butternut, banana–are sold cut, as well.
Spigarella, the leaves of Italian broccoli, is $2 for a 3 1/2 ounce bag, fresh herbs are $1 a bunch and fennel–smallish bulbs with plenty of fronds–are $2 each. Chards, kales and mustard greens–leaves, not bunches–are $3 a pound, as is cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, sold on the stalk. Turnips are $2 a pound.
All this, along with plant starts, olives trees ($15 each) and soil supplements are available outside and on the patio.
Inside, there are more treasures, including delicious eggs ($6 a dozen) from hens who live on the farm, Vella butter and cheeses, olive oil and vinegar. There’s also an ever changing array of sauces, pickles and preserves, a selection that changes frequently, based on what is in the garden. On this visit, I came home with whole peeled Roma tomatoes and pickled cabbage, which has a mild, nutty flavor. There’s a freezer full of very good grass fed beef.
New at Green String Farm is fresh whole wheat, grown at Jacuzzi Family Winery in nearby Sonoma. Whole wheat flour is ($5 for 2 pounds, $3 for 1 pound) but if you’d prefer to mill your own, you can do so, on the spot, for $2 a pound. Whole wheat berries are kept in a big metal bin and there’s a small mill on a wine barrel next to the bin with the berries. It’s so sweetly home spun and real that I was tempted get down on my knees and kiss it.
The Green String Farm Store is just one aspect of this endeavor. It is, of course, a working farm and also an events venue, a philosophy and a learning center, the Green String Institute. For more information, visit greenstringinstitute.org and greenstringfarm.com.
The store is currently open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be extended hours come spring and daylight savings time.