The Oakmont Certified Farmers Market may be the most intimate of our year round farmers markets. Vendors, musicians and shoppers all seem to know each other and there’s a sweet sense of community that permeates the market, which takes place in the parking lot of the Wells Fargo Bank on Oakmont Ave. Yet it is not a clique; strangers feel welcome, too.
Jacqueline Aubin has plenty of pastured eggs. Unlike many egg vendors, she sorts her eggs by size and prices them accordingly, from $3.50 to $5 a dozen. Prices will increase sometime soon, though, as the cost of chicken feed rises continuously.
Several vendors are two places at once on Saturday mornings, attending both this and the Santa Rosa market. Among them are Spring Hill Cheese Company, whose selection of farmstead butters and cheeses are interspersed with photo cards by Hilda Swartz, the market’s founder and manager, of the Spring Hill Farm in Two Rock and its sweet-faced Jersey cows. Carson’s Catch is here and in Santa Rosa, too, currently with Alaskan wild salmon.
Ortiz Farms, also doing double duty, has a beautiful selection of cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, beets, turnips and radishes. Their greens–kales, collards and chards–are excellent, as are their lettuces and salad mix. The farm also has green onions, small red bunching onions, cilantro, parsley and gorgeous farm bouquets. This farm, along with the French Garden Farm, provides the majority of the produce here at this time of year. The French Garden Farm still has citrus and winter squash, along with root vegetables, winter greens, broccolis and cauliflowers, leeks, salad mix and lettuces.
JS Orchards of Sebastopol offers tastes– both hot and cold–of its extraordinary apple juice, perhaps the best I’ve tasted anywhere. If you want to try it, you’d better hurry, as they are nearly sold out and expect to be at the market for just another week or two.
J’amie Patisserie provides pastries, cookies and other sweet baked goods at this market, as well as in Santa Rosa. They are beautifully crafted, with a delicacy and precision that rewards anyone who pays attention. The hummingbird cookies are irresistible.
Farmers markets have become one of the best places to get knives sharpened. O’Malley’s Mobile Knife Sharpening of Santa Rosa provides the service here and sharpens not just knives but also scissors, garden tools and chipper blades. If cooking is not as pleasant as usual, the first thing to check is your knives. When they’re dull, cooking can become an unpleasant chore. For more information about this service, visit mobileknifesharpening.com.
If you want a nibble while you shop, the Lumpia King is on hand with a selection of yummy foods.
Because this market is fairly small in the winter, nonfood vendors are essential. Right now, you’ll find gorgeous daffodil bouquets, tiny succulent gardens in tea cups and handmade shopping bags and wine totes. Wanda Smith has a booth, too, where she offers both her beautiful book, “Horses of the Wine Country,” and her hand-knit scarves.
Homemade Jam provides wonderful music while you shop. How long has it been since you’ve seen someone playing the recorder or autoharp? This is part of the unique charm of the Oakmont market.
The Oakmont Certified Farmers Market takes place on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon at 6585 Oakmont Dr. in east Santa Rosa.