On Sunday, the Sebastopol Farmers Market was smaller than usual, though it was hard to tell, given the market’s location shift. For the month of December, the market moves to the town plaza so holiday shoppers have access to parking. It will return to its usual spot on January 6.
Although the market opens at 10 a.m., the day begins much earlier for farmers and ranchers, who must harvest if they have not already done so, pack and drive, sometimes a fair distance, and then spend an hour or more setting up their booths. At the time many of the vendors needed to head to town, the storm was still having its way with us and thousands were without power. Before the rains stopped, calls to market manager Paula Downing began, vendors canceling for the day.
Black Sheep Farm in Potter Valley and New Family Farm in Sebastopol were flooded. Princess Aisha comes from Marin County and did not want to brave the freeway, nor did Terra Savia , which is located in Mendocino County.
Not Yer Mama’s Granola, seafood vendor Dave Legro, Full Circle Baking, Strong Arm Farm, Sonoma Exoticals , Santa Rosa Creek Farm, Owen Family Farm, Franco Dunn’s One World Sausages and Mateo’s Yucatan Tamales also canceled, as did several crafters.
Twin Hills Orchard had an event at their farm and Middleton Farm is taking a break for the month of December, as the move to the plaza is problematic for farmer Nancy Skall .
By mid-morning, as rains stopped, clouds parted and a pretty blue sky seemed like an early Christmas present, several who had canceled were groaning and kicking themselves. Those who braved the early morning rains were in great spirits.
Produce vendors included Orchard Farms; Earthworker Farm; First Light Farm; Schletewitz Family Farms and Armstrong Valley Farm, which still had eggs at 11:30 a.m. Between them, they offer everything you need to make bone-warming soups, vegetable stews and winter salads, including garlic, shallots, onions, leeks, Italian parsley, arugula, cabbage, Napa cabbage, celery, celery root, beets, carrots, fennel, several varieties of kale and chard, potatoes and winter squashes.
Hector Alvarez had his honey products, eggs and a huge array of fresh and dried chiles.
Pepper Road Poultry had chicken and Weirauch Farm offered their delicious cheeses, though they do not currently have their popular Tomme Fraiche , as they’ve recently lost their source of cow’s milk. Javier’s Goat Ranch had its full line of delicious cheeses, along with raw milk natilla , a caramel made with goats milk.
J & S Apple Juice had their apple juice, the best commercial apple juice I’ve ever tasted.
Heron Fox had both plant starts and almonds.
Rainbow’s End Farm attended, with a new supply of gorgeous dried persimmons. The Hummus Guy offered hummus and other condiments, flatbreads and chips. The Cosmic Cookie Jar had their popular gluten-free baked goods.
The storm seemed to make customers hungry. There was a constant line at Lata’s Indian Cuisine’s booth and Dominique’s Sweets did brisk business with Meyer Lemon tarts, macarons, galettes, pies and savory pasties, including mushroom, spinach and lamb.
A few crafts vendors offered ceramics, knit scarves and jewelry.
The Sebastopol Market takes rain or shine.
“We always show up,” Paula Downing says, “no matter how hard it is raining.” During her 18-year tenure as manager, the market has closed early just a handful of times and never earlier than 11:30 a.m. and then only in the most outrageous storm conditions.
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. For more information, visit sebastopolfarmersmarket.org.
The market is one of four markets county-wide that operate year round. The others are the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market; the Redwood Empire Farmers Market, also in Santa Rosa, and the Sonoma Valley Certified Farmers Market in Sonoma.