If you live downtown or within easy walking or biking distance of downtown, the Wednesday Night Market includes a farmers market that is good for mid-week restocking or general produce shopping if you can’t attend any of the city’s morning markets. There are about sixteen vendors, located along E St. between Rosie the Trolley at Third St. and Kid’s Corner at Fifth St. Farmers and other growers share the space with about half a dozen food vendors offerings things to enjoy on the spot.
The big news this week is that, amazingly, Country Rhodes Farm–formerly Rhodes Family Farm–of Kingston has field-grown ripe tomatoes already. Their selection includes several varieties of cherry tomatoes, early slicing tomatoes and early heirloom tomatoes, along with summer squashes and some of the year’s first cucumbers.
There are several large produce vendors. Ortiz Farms of Santa Rosa currently has a great selection of braising greens, red radishes, lettuces and salad mix, beets, cilantro, onions, cabbage, broccoli, potatoes, gorgeous bouquets and, each week, new things that have just come into season. They also have pretty wreaths. The Patch of Sonoma sells here and currently has delicious young Nantes carrots, golden beets, sweet red onion, red beets, early zucchini and cucumbers, basil and fresh garlic. They should have green beans any minute now.
Lilia Veramontes of French Garden Farm attends so many farmers markets (and managers her farm stand at the French Garden Restaurant two days a week) that you might be tempted to think there are two of her. But she’s not a twin; just a hard worker. The farm’s current harvest includes Red Salad Bowl lettuce, Buttercrunch lettuce, Red Flame lettuce, Lollo Rossa lettuce, Speckled Trout lettuce, salad mix, frisee, arugula, sorrel and several other varieties of salad greens, along with fresh oregano, chives, Chioggia beets, Rainbow carrots, Nantes carrots, Paris Market carrots, artichokes, spring onions, purple scallions, slender leeks, Meyer lemons, fresh favas, kales, chards, cherries, flowers and a bit of Delicata squash from last fall’s crop.
This is the only Sonoma County farmers market that Thao’s Farms of Sacramento attends, with their unique collection of unfamiliar Asian greens, along with cucumbers, basil, cilantro, peas and beans. Bohemian Well Being Farm sells its mushrooms here and Hector Alvarez has his award-winning honeys, fresh garlic, potatoes, favas and dried chiles; he’s also the market’s only egg vendor.
Bare Foot Honey of east Santa Rosa has a large selection of honey and honey products, too.
Neufeld Farm currently has apricots, and nectarines in addition to dried fruits. Rodrigues Farm of Watsonville has strawberries. Schletewitz Family Farm, also known as The Fruit Factory, has apricots, white peaches, yellow peaches, naval oranges, clementines and raisins. Hamlow Ranch of Stanislaus has stone fruit.
Busalacchi Farms has succulent cherries and creamy avocados.
Jigar Wines of Dry Creek Valley also attends this market.
If your main purpose in attending this market is to shop for produce, the earlier the better is a good rule. The Wednesday Night Market is a street fair and as the sun sinks down towards the horizon, it becomes quite a party. With the main stage at the intersection of E and Fourth Streets, it can be difficult to chat with vendors when musicians are playing. If you come for both the market and the party, shop early, stash your fruits and vegetables in your car or at home if you live nearby.
The Wednesday Night Market was founded in 1990 and is currently managed by Andrew Morrow. It takes place on Wednesday evenings from 5 to 8:30 p.m. from May 9 through August 29 on E St. between Third and Fifth Streets.