The Windsor Certified Farmers opens for its 11th season at 10 a.m. Sunday on Market St., on the east side of the Town Green in downtown Windsor.
The inaugural market will offer a mix of spring produce, seedlings for your garden, foods to enjoy on the spot and take home, activities for kids of all ages and information on health, wellness and the environment. There will even be free valet parking for bicycles and cyclists will be thanked for their efforts with market bucks.
Produce highlights include lettuces and seedlings from Min-Hee Farms of Sebastopol; Meyer lemons from Blasi Ranch; spring onions, spring garlic, chard and greens from Reyes Ranch and greens, chards and seedlings from Green Valley CSA Farm.
Singing Frog Farm is harvesting beautiful chives, scallions, frisee, baby broccoli and all manner of late winter and early spring greens, along with beets, fennel and lusciously tender lettuces. They’ll also have seedlings on Sunday. Ortiz Farms’ harvest is always abundant and diverse, with lettuces, cabbages, beets, carrots, braising greens, potatoes, onions and, often, the only radishes and only cilantro at the market. They usually have Italian parsley, too.
Kelley Parsons attends this market with her hydroponic cherry and beefsteak tomatoes grown in nearby Fulton. Hector Alvarez, best known from his outstanding honeys, has an ever-expanding harvest, including yummy spring onions.
Soda Rock Farm, located in Alexander Valley, which has amazing tomatoes peppers later in the year, is currently selling heirloom tomato seedings. LaVida Buena Farm of Sebastopol has seedlings for spring, summer and fall crops. If you love basil, you’ll want to check out Min-Hee Farms seedlings; they’ll have a table full of four varieties, Italian, Napoletano , Rosie and Thai, in both six-packs and 4-inch pots.
When you buy a dozen “cackleberries,” better known as eggs, from Grandma’s Pumpkin Patch, you’ll be treated to a dance by an animated chicken and if there are kids around at the time, expect some to join in.
Santa Rosa Seafood has a booth here and there are two cheese producers, Valley Ford Cheese Company and Shamrock Ranch Goat Cheese, located in Willits. The Hummus Guy has its array of hummus, other sauces, flatbreads and chips.
Two bakeries, Panorama, with rustic hearth breads, and Flour Creations, with breakfast pastries and whole wheat loaves, attend this market; Bella-Kay Cafe has coffee and hot chocolate and if you’d like a cookie alongside, Cookie Take A Bite is nearby with delicate handmade cookies. If your garden tools or kitchen knives need sharpening, you can drop them off at O’Malley’s Sharpening Service’s booth while you shop and you can refill your spice pantry at Cooks Spices, which is offering some delicious new blends.
Mai Ibach , who sells her Malaysian sauces, soups and sandwiches here, will offer some special activities for kids, who can also decorate a market tote bag or birdhouse and plant pumpkin seeds. Culinary students from Windsor High School will offer special spring treats and Sonoma County Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer your questions.
There will, of course, be live music and plenty of good things to eat on the spot. A market’s opening day is always a celebration and this one, occurring on Earth Day, will be an exuberant one.
Our other seasonal markets will soon follow Windsor. The Healdsburg Farmers Market opens for its 2012 season on Saturday, May 5, and the Petaluma Farmers Market follows on Saturday, May 19. The Occidental Farmers Market kicks off on Friday, June 1. Stay tuned for news of evening market openings in Healdsburg, Windsor, Santa Rosa, Petaluma and Sonoma as dates approach.
The Windsor Farmers Market, founded in 2001 and managed by Glenda Castelli, takes place on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.