Until this year, the opening of the Sebastopol Farmers Market on the first Sunday in April heralded the start of the season. Now that the market operates year round, spring comes more quietly to west county. On April 1, the Sebastopol market quietly expanded into the town plaza, as vendors who took a winter break returned. The change was subtle, as most customers went about their shopping just as they had all year.
The expansion has grown more visible and the market more festive each week, as early spring plantings are harvested and warmer temperatures encourage lingering.
Laguna Farms tables overflow with gorgeous produce beautifully arranged in baskets. Spring onions, asparagus, radishes, leeks and golden beets nestle amidst all manner of braising greens, salad greens and what must be the earliest basil–huge leaves of it–in the county.
Tierra Vegetables has cardoons, rhubarb, asparagus, chard and garlic, along with heirloom beans, dried chiles and spicy jams.
First Light Farm has a huge mound of French breakfast radishes, along with sunflower sprouts, potatoes and a selection of late winter and early spring greens. Earthworker Farms has added delicious arugula to its selections.
Middleton Farm finally has plenty of its extraordinary asparagus, along with eggs, award-winning jams and conserves, fennel, beets, sprouting broccoli, French sorrel, Italian parsley, green garlic, shallots, beautiful irises, fragrant lilacs, oranges, celery root, sunchokes, baby artichokes, leeks and the first fresh favas I’ve seen this year.
Orchard Farms has fennel, cauliflower, broccoli, burdock root, radishes, lettuces, celery, celery root, leeks, carrots, bok choy, chard and more.
Armstrong Valley Farm has huge heads of crisp, delicious lettuces, so pretty they’d make a great table centerpiece, along with eggs, shallots, citrus, chard, kale, potatoes and spring onions.
C & M Farm, which alternates weekly with Santa Rosa Creek Farm, has gorgeous cardoons, along with mint, watercress and more. Triple T has added plant starts to its selection of fresh herbs, spinach, wild arugula, spring mix, leeks, celery and winter greens.
Rainbow’s End Farm’s eggs look better than ever and the bouquets, full of bright blue borage, are gorgeous. Their agua fresca is one of the best spring tonics around.
Schetewitz Famly Farm has plenty of citrus and nice sweet potatoes.
There’s wild salmon, flounder, scallops, Dungeness crab, baby shrimp and more from Dave Legro , grass-fed beef, pork, chicken and eggs from Freestone Ranch, excellent olive oil from Terra Savia, delicious cheeses from Weirauch Creamery and Yerba Santa Goat Dairy and rabbit, lamb, veal, pork and beef from Owen Family Farm, which also had some pet treats, sausage, jerky and salami.
Freestone Ranch brought a couple of hens, in honor of Earth Day, and Hector Alvarez brought several chicks, which worked as magnetics on little girls, who gathered around the cage hoping to pet the baby chickens.
There’s plenty for gardeners at this market, including master gardeners who can help solve problems and several vendors with plant starts. Cliff Silva , who will be at the market on Sunday with his legendary tomato starts, was selling seeds, along with Robin Burton of Santa Rosa Creek Farm, and taking orders for tomato plants. Orchids from Chris Baker’s Exoticals were so beautiful they looked as if each flower had been individually polished.
There’s hearth breads from Full Circle Baking and gluten-free treats from The Cosmic Cookie Jar. Dominique’s Sweets has seasonal galettes, along with macarons, pies and other delicate, delicious treats.
Rosso Pizzeria has returned for the season with their made-to-oder pizzas and house-made cheeses. Patisserie Angelica is back, too, with their delicate teas and delicious baked goods. Mateo’s Yucatan Tamales attends year round, as does Lata’s Indian Cuisine, except for a brief winter break. The Hummus Guy, Not Yer Momma’s Granola, Sonoma Chocolatier and half a dozen craft vendors round out the market.
The Sebastopol Certified Farmers Market, founded in 1994 and currently managed by Paula Downing, takes place in the town plaza at McKinley and Petaluma Avenues, on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. This Sunday, the market teams up with the Wellness Fair, which takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and features information booths, consultants and more.