The Patch is back! And how perfect that the Sonoma farm’s reappearance coincided with the solstice and the first day of summer.
It’s a tad later than usual; we typically see The Patch in mid spring, with tiny Nantes carrots that have not yet filled out to reveal their characteristic curved tips. At the Sebastopol market on Sunday, it was easy to spot the variety from a distance.
“I’ve been harvesting zucchini for five or six weeks,” farmer Lazaro Calderon said on Sunday, “but I’ve been down two employees.” With Calderon’s market schedule, which includes three farmers markets each Saturday, sufficient staffing is essential.
Currently, the Patch has white onions, red onions, red torpedo onions, beautiful black figs, golden beets, red beets and gorgeous basil. He also has several varieties of summer squash, including pale green, dark green and yellow zucchini and globe zucchini, perfect for stuffing and for grilling whole. He also has those sweet Nantes carrots, as good an orange carrot as you’ll find anywhere.
Calderon’s tomato plants have begun producing, too, and by this weekend there will be enough for three markets, Sonoma Valley Farmers Market on Friday, Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market on Saturday and Sebastopol Farmers Market on Sunday.
Soon there will be cucumbers and green beans and, before long, colorful sweet peppers and hot chiles.
The Patch is located east of downtown Sonoma, in a little microclimate that is warmer than the surrounding area. Calderon also uses his hoop houses and cold frames to get a jump on the season. The farm, which is about 5 ½ acres, is one of the county’s premier producers, with a focus on both quality and quantity. Some farmers produce just enough for one or two markets a week but The Patch attends ten weekly markets. As more and more people rely on farmers markets for all or nearly all of their produce needs, farms like The Patch are increasingly important.
The Patch, founded in 1996 and operated by Lazaro Calderon and several members of his family, attends the Petaluma Farmers Market and the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market on both Wednesday and Saturday; the Napa Farmers Market on Tuesday and Saturday; the Sonoma Valley Farmers Markets on Tuesday and Friday and the Sebastopol Farmers Market and Kenwood Farmers Market on Sunday.