When the Occidental Bohemian Farmers market opens for its 2012 season on Friday afternoon at 4 p.m., it will be with several vendors that sell only at this market, along with a few farmers that sell county wide and a few that attend just one or two other markets.
Star Mountain, based on Coleman Valley Rd., launches the season with radishes, scallions, basil, arugula, dill, flowers and Meyer lemons. Hands Full Farm has eggs, flowers and two jams, strawberry and blackberry. Vine Hill Farm has cut flowers and bouquets, red and yellow onions, salad mix and dahlia plants.
Green Valley CSA, located on Green Valley Rd. in Sebastopol, is new to the market this year. The small farm also operates a CSA that serves about 40 families. On opening day, expect early season vegetables, like salad greens, beets, carrots, radishes, turnips and maybe some early basil and spring flowers.
Last year, the Bohemian Collective began the season with bok choy, broccoli, lettuce and bouquets of unfamiliar flowers and grasses, though you never know what delightful thing this whimsical group of young farmers will have next.
Fifteen Gates, which also sells at the Windsor Farmers Market, is starting its season with strawberries, kiwi and flowers.
Bloomfield Farms is one of the heavy produce hitters at this market, with a diverse harvest that includes, at a minimum, three varieties of kale, mache, Savoy spinach, Little Gem lettuces, full-size Romaine lettuce, radishes, carrots, curly-leaf parsley, Italian parsley and artichokes. This large (close to 50 acres) farm also takes orders from restaurant chefs that can be picked up at this and any of the other eight markets the farm attends; for information about this service, call 876-3261.
Armstrong Valley Farm is here, too, with eggs, a great selection of summer squash, fresh garlic, spring onions, braising greens, lemons and some of the most beautiful and delicious butter lettuce I’ve seen this year.
Green String Farm, which operates a large farm store in Petaluma, is using this market to teach interns how to operate a farmers market stall. This puts their diverse organic harvest in easy reach of West County residents. As of press time, I did not know exactly what they’d be bringing, though they currently have fresh herbs, chards, kales, lettuces, eggs, grass-fed beef, olive oil, vinegar, wheat and flour, and nuts.
Rainbow’s End has eggs, sweet and savory condiments, delicious agua fresca to enjoy on the spot, dried fruit, flowers and more.
Sam Kim of Bohemian Well Being Farm is familiar to most market-goers, as he attends markets throughout the county with his familiar and unfamiliar mushrooms.
Singing Frog Farms, also familiar, has a diverse spring harvest that includes broccoli, cucumbers, basil, kale, chard, Napa cabbage, favas, sugar snap peas, zucchini, lettuces, escarole and beets.
French Garden Farm is here, too, with both fruit–Meyer lemons, cherries and strawberries–and vegetables, including several varieties of carrots and beets, scallions, lettuces, fennel, braising greens and herbs.
Twin Peaks returns this year, with the last of the season’s citrus and early peaches and other stone fruit.
La Vida Buena Nursery has plant starts for your garden. Bloomfield Bees has honey and a variety of honey products.
Raymond’s Bakery of Cazadero and Casa La Belle Bakery of Monte Rio provide delicious hearth breads and other savory baked goods and if you want some cheese to go with that bread, you’ll find it at Valley Ford Cheese Company’s stall.
Cookie . . . take a bite is here with their pristine little cookies, Petaluma Pie Company, new this year, has both sweet and savory pies–little ones and big ones–and there’s 2011 olive oil from Capay Olive Oil.
Victorian Farmstead attends with their pastured eggs and chicken and grass-fed lamb, pork and beef. Paul Thornton sells his smoked California salmon here and Carson’s Catch, with smoked and fresh-frozen Alaskan salmon and fresh-frozen cod, is here, too.
There are several vendors who sell foods to enjoy on the spot, including Lata’s Indian Cuisine, Mommys Yammys and Gerard’s Paella.
Kashaya’s Wood-Fired Pizza sells her irresistible pizzas here, too.
This market is one of the prettiest markets I’ve seen anywhere, with redwood trees stretching skyward and provide shade and shelter from the wind. It is an excellent place to shop for all manner of local farm and ranch products but it is also a great place to linger as the sun sinks down behind the coastal mountains. If you arrive early and stay late, you might want to bring both a cooler for foods that need to stay chilled and a bucket of water to keep those beautiful flowers fresh.
The Occidental Bohemian Farmers Market, founded in 2002 and managed by Kim Dow, takes place on Fridays from 4 p.m. until dusk from the beginning of June until the end of October. It is located on Bohemian Highway between First and Third Streets in downtown Occidental.