One of our newer markets, the Redwood Empire Farmers Market in central Santa Rosa, features both long-time vendors familiar to us all and some new kids on the block, like Ludwig Farm, located on Ludwig Rd. in southeast Santa Rosa. Ludwig Farm’s specialties are inspired by southern crops; they currently have fresh black-eye peas, butter beans and collard greens, along with apples, beets and winter squash.
Ortiz Farms, also located in southwest Santa Rosa, is one of the best sources around for poblano chiles and they also have a bountiful year-round harvest, currently featuring Italian parsley, cilantro, lettuces, kales and chards, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, cabbages, beautiful flowers and wreaths, beets and more. If you need marigolds for your Dia des Los Muertos altar, ask if you don’t see any at this stall. They have a field full of them.
Soda Rock Farms of Healdsburg attends with their huge array of heirloom tomatoes and peppers, along with lemon cucumbers.
Roots of Creation Farm, located in south Sebastopol, has arugula, lettuces, chards, kales, beets, carrots, onions, peppers and tomatoes.
Triple T Farm, a long-time member of this market, has a huge array of chiles, including great poblanos and surprisingly mild but delicious serranos and jalapenos, along with many less familiar varieties. They also have some of the best arugula around, winter squashes, braising greens, beets, a few tomatoes, parsley, eggs and a selection of hot sauces.
Harvest Moon Ranch also attends this market.
J. and M. Ibarra Organic Farm, which is based in Fresno, has almonds, arugula, basil, beets, chiles, broccoli, carrots, eggplant, onions, potatoes and winter squashes. Toscano Family Farm, located in Lodi, also has a diverse harvest, with lots of heirloom tomatoes, sweet peppers, herbs and black-eye peas.
Green Star Farm, formerly Felton Acres, sells eggs, chicken, lamb and pork raised in southwest Sonoma County between Cotati and Sebastopol. Victorian Farmstead attends, too, with eggs, chicken, lamb, pork and beef, along with sausages and marinades.
Dacheva Son’s Cheese Company of Petaluma attends with a delicious array of rich, handmade cheeses.
Perhaps the biggest vendor here, especially on Saturdays, is Santa Rosa Seafood, which sets up a booth bigger than any local supermarket fish counter.
Schletewitz Family Farm has stone fruit, Neufeld Farms has fresh and dried fruit and Rojas Family Farm has stone fruit, grapes, pomegranates and, soon, persimmons.
The market’s bread vendor is Our Lady Grace. Flour Creations has breakfast burritos, cookies and other baked goods and there are jams and jellies from Just Like Grandma’s.
When it comes to foods to enjoy on the spot, you’ll find Nellie’s Oysters, Chai’s Gourmet which specializes in lighter fare, like spring rolls, and Red Rose Catering. There’s a hot dog vendor, a sushi burrito vendor and a taqueria. Bella Rosa offers a selection of organic coffees.
The market currently has about 45 vendors on Saturday and about 25 on Wednesday, somewhat smaller than when it first broke away from the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market in late spring, 2012. Management has changed several times since then. Today, the Redwood Empire Farmers Market is a for-profit sole proprietorship, owned by farmer Brad Thompson of Roots of Creation Farm. He feels the past troubles that both launched and plagued the new market are now in the past and he’s optimistic about the future of this centrally-located market. Paula Downing, former manager of the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market and current manager of the Sebastopol Certified Farmers Market recently invited Thompson to be a vendor in Sebastopol, a happy sign indeed.
The Redwood Empire Farmers Market, founded in 2012 and currently managed by Brad Thompson, takes place year round on Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and on Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the east parking lot of the Veterans Building at 1351 Maple Ave. For more information, visit redwoodempirefarmmarket.com.