Last Thursday, the final seasonal farmers market of 2013 opened; the season is now in full swing, with 27 market days each week.
The WIC Farmers Market takes place on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the parking lot of the WIC office at 1450 Guerneville Rd., at the corner of Range Ave., adjacent to Coddingtown.
The name refers to Woman, Infants and Children, a federal program developed to provide supplemental nutritional support to low-income mothers and their children up to age 5. All Sonoma County families in the WIC program who attend the market receive a $20 voucher for the purchase of fresh produce and honey. A WIC staff member has a booth at the market so distribution of the vouchers is nearly effortless.
There is a senior housing complex next to the market and last week Mary Miles of the Council on Aging distributed Senior Nutrition Program vouchers. (This week, she will offer senior vouches at the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market on Wednesday morning beginning at 8:30 a.m. and continuing until the vouchers are gone.)
Although outreach focuses on these two groups, this is a public farmers market and everyone is welcome to shop here.
This market is small, currently with just four vendors. Yet these farmers provide tremendous variety and abundance when it comes to fresh produce, more than some markets triple the size. You’ll also find local pastured eggs and pork.
The Patch of Sonoma has both Early Girl and heirloom tomatoes, green and yellow zucchini, other summer squashes, Walla Walla onions, red onions, Blue Lake green beans, Romano beans, white potatoes, red potatoes, Ivory peppers, Gypsy peppers, Bell peppers and fresh basil.
Hector Alvarez attends this market with Walla Walla onions, red torpedo onions, dried chiles perfect for mole, fresh jalapenos, lemon balm, bay leaves, Russet potatoes, German Butterball potatoes, Italian red garlic and blackberries, along with signature honeys, honey sticks and honeycomb. He is also the market’s egg vendor, with colorful eggs from happy pastured hens. Alvarez farms in west Santa Rosa.
EGB Farms of Ripon, a small farming town located near Highway 99 south of Manteca , currently has sugar plums, pluots, white nectarines, yellow freestone peaches and apricots.
Rounding out the market is Santa Rosa’s Dream Catcher Ranch, which currently has pork; they also produce other grass-fed meats and offer it when it is available.
This week, Gaga Cafe is expected to join the market with its delicious hot and iced coffee.
The WIC Farmers Market, founded in 2011 and currently managed by Jaime Smedes, manager of the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market, is located at 1450 Guerneville Rd. in Santa Rosa. It takes place on Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through September 26.