Update: The Occidental Bohemian Farmers Market opened last Friday night and continues through the last Friday of October. It was an enormously successful opening.
On Friday afternoon at 4 p.m., the Occidental Bohemian Farmers Market opens for its 2013 season, with many familiar vendors returning and a few new ones joining in at one of the prettiest markets in the county. Occidental is surrounded by towering redwoods, which filter light and provide shade, so welcome in summer’s heat. Coastal fog sometimes envelops the town in its cool embrace, allowing you to linger longer than you might at an inland market on a sweltering day.
Returning vendors include Singing Frogs Farm, Armstrong Valley Farm, New Family Farm, Bohemian Well Being Farm, Swallow Valley Farm, Star Mountain, Bohemian Collective, La Vida Buena, Vine Hill Farm, Green Valley CSA, Bloomfield Bees, Fifteen Gates and Twin Peaks. These vendors make up the core of the market, offering everything from little breakfast radishes, artichokes, tender lettuces and early basil to pastured eggs, strawberries and grass-fed meats. There are carrots, zucchini, salad mix, braising greens, beets, turnips, early stone fruit, fresh herbs, spinach, fava beans, sugar snap peas, cucumbers, broccoli, onions, garlic, gorgeous cut flowers and plant starts for your garden.
New this year is White Fox of Freestone, currently with organic blueberries.
Rainbow’s End Farm will likely be a vendor, too, though participation has not yet been confirmed. Rainbow’s End currently has excellent eggs and a gorgeous array of fresh berries, including some of the only currants around, along with their popular herb drinks and spreads.
Paul Thornton sells his delicious smoked salmon here and Raymond’s Bakery offers its extraordinary hearth breads and pastries. There’s olive oil from Capay Gold and cheese from Valley Ford Cheese Co. Cookie . . . Take a Bite has delicate little cookies, there are pies from Petaluma Pie Co. and sauces, dips and flatbread from The Hummus Guy. Cosmic Cookie Jar sells gluten-free baked goods.
Prepared foods to enjoy on the spot and take home are abundant and popular at this market. This year you’ll find Lata’s Indian Cuisine; Kashaya’s Wood-Fired Pizza; Mommy’s Yammy’s; Rocker Oysterfeller’s barbecue; Gerard’s Paella; the Conscious Cook and the Green Grocer, which specializes in foods prepared on the spot using ingredients from the market.
Nimble & Finn’s Ice Cream is joining in, too. As of press time, I did not know what the company would be bringing but at the Petaluma Farmers Market last weekend their ice cream flavors included roasted rhubarb and honey; rose petal and dark chocolate with Bing cherry. They also had strawberry and rose geranium sorbet.
This season, the market is launching a new program, “Plate Away.”
“Plates and to-go containers are the single greatest source of trash at the market,” manager Kim Dow explains. She hopes to reduce the amount significantly and you can help.
Customers are encouraged to bring their own washable plates and containers. Those who do will receive a raffle ticket for each purchase from a prepared food vendor. The weekly raffle will offer gift certificates from local businesses; Hand Goods, Rocker Oysterfellers, Guayaki Yerba Mate , Mombo’s Pizza and Osmosis Spa Sanctuary are among those businesses are offering prizes.
It is easy to do this. If you enjoy prepared foods at farmers markets, just keep a plate, silverware, cloth napkin and to-go containers in a cloth bag in your car, nestled in with your reusable shopping bags, so that you don’t have to think about it at the last minute.
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.