As I surveyed the selections at the Canvas Ranch stall at the Santa Rosa Original farmers market last Saturday, I had to suppress a dance of joy when I saw little sacks of farro, an ancient grain sometimes known in North America as emmer. The ranch’s last two crops have sold out before I could snag a bag, so I was thrilled to finally have the opportunity. Grown in the low hills of Two Rock Valley near Tomales, Canvas Ranch farro should be available through the winter. It sells for $10 a pound.
The ranch’s farm market stall is one of the most beautiful you’ll see. Everything is carefully arranged in pretty baskets and there’s a sense of choreography and care about it all.
Currently, there are plenty of summer crops, including delicious strawberries and forty varieties of velvety dry-farmed heirloom tomatoes, including the extraordinary Indigo Red. The farm is also producing four varieties of cucumbers–lemon, Japanese, pickling and slicing–and green beans, purple beans and yellow wax beans, along with red torpedo onions, “Candy” yellow onions, three types of kale, chard, summer squash, dill and basil. Of the ten types of lettuce currently being harvested, farmer Deborah Walton raves about the unique Red Iceberg, the Troutback and the Red Romaine.
Soon there will be new crops, including more greens and the first winter squashes.
Americauna blue-green eggs, $8 a dozen, sell out quickly; if you want some, get to the market before 10 a.m. or risk losing out. Soon there will be rye flour for bread, milled locally from estate rye. Golden flax sold out almost instantly.
Walton makes wonderful vegetable-based soaps, too; currently, you’ll find tomato; lemon cucumber; carrot and lettuce. There are jams, lavender hydrosols and the enormously popular vegetable seasoning, made with sesame and poppy seeds, onion, garlic, bell pepper, tomato flakes, coriander and dill, that Walton says is wonderful sprinkled on grilled and roasted vegetables.
Canvas Ranch also has a line of wool products, including pillows, mattress pads and comforters made with felted wool from their flock of Babydoll Southdown sheep. For years, the comforters have been available only in small perfect-for-a-crib size but now you can order whatever size you need.
Canvas Ranch attends two weekly farmers markets year round and has operated a popular CSA for many years. The current CSA season concludes in December. Deborah Walton oversees the farm but it it is her husband, well-known painter Tim Schaible, who is the face of the farm at markets.
Canvas Ranch, established in 2001 and is owned and operated by Deborah Walton and Tim Schaible , attends two markets each week, the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market on Saturday and the Marin County Farmers Market on Sunday. For more information, including about workshops, visit canvasranch.com. For more information about Schaible’s art, visit timschaible.com.