Here we are, approaching the high harvest season, when instead of waiting longingly for the next fruit or vegetable to ripen, we’re struggling to keep up with all the green beans, basil, tomatoes and zucchini. It is a delicious time of year and if you do not shop at local farmers markets now is an easy time to develop the habit.
With nearly all seasonal markets now open–a mid-summer Thursday evening market in Sebastopol is still a possibility–Sonoma County has almost thirty market days each week. Six markets operate year round, providing eight market days a week; the rest are seasonal.
There are plans for two additional markets in Santa Rosa, one that has already opened but as yet has no produce vendors and another that expects to open in September.
The Roseland Lions’ Farmers Market, managed by Pat Sterck, takes place at 565 Sebastopol Rd., Santa Rosa, on property now owned by the city. According to Sterck, the weekend fete, which takes place on both Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., is more of a street fair, with produce vendors to come some time soon. Many are awaiting their county permits, Sterck said.
Sonoma Mountain Marketplace has announced an official opening date of September 6 for their indoor-outdoor farmers market and street fair. Currently, the market is scheduled to operate from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday year round. The market will be a mix of commercial products–everything from car audio systems, sunglasses and neon signs–and produce and other products from local farmers, who will be grouped together in a certified farmers market area. It is located at 1400 Valley House Dr., Rohnert Park, off Petaluma Hill Rd. For more information, visit sonomamountainswap.com.
News of these two new markets, along with an increasing number of local seasonal markets, brings us to an inevitable question: Have farmers markets reached critical mass? The topic comes up frequently at farmers markets, with both vendors and customers weighing in. Vendors worry that so many markets are diluting sales and others say that smaller neighborhood markets attract customers who would not otherwise shop at farmers markets.
It is important to note that some markets are very small, with just four or five vendors, and others are as much or more street parties, with more people attending for the entertainment than the opportunity to shop. But in the end, a market is what the customer makes of it. If you want to shop at a market that has a lot of live entertainment, it is best to shop early and either head home or stash your purchases in your car, preferably inside a cooler. Market managers strugle to juggle entertainment, craft vendors, prepared-food vendors and produce vendors to keep their markets financially viable through the seasons, no matter what nature brings us.
If you are interested in how farmers markets operate, you can find the by-laws of many of our certified markets here.
Here is an up-to-date list of our local farmers markets; the Roseland and Sonoma Mountain markets are not included as they are not yet operational.
2014 Sonoma County Farmers Markets
Year Round Farmers Markets
The Oakmont Certified Farmers Market, founded in the mid 1990s by Hilda Swartz, takes place on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon at 6585 Oakmont Dr. in east Santa Rosa.
The Petaluma Eastside Farmers Market, founded in 2012 and managed by Kelly Smith, takes place on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Lucchesi Park Community Center, 320 N. McDowell Ave.
The Santa Rosa Community Farmers Market, founded in 2013, is managed by Kelly Smith and James Fenston. It takes place on Wednesday from 9 a.m. to noon and on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the east parking lot of the Veterans Building, 1351 Maple Ave., Santa Rosa.
The Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market, founded in 1978 and managed by Jaime Smedes, takes place from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays and from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays year round in the west side parking lot of the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts, 50 Mark West Spring Rd.
The Sebastopol Certified Farmers Market, founded in 1994 and currently managed by Paula Downing, takes place in the town plaza at McKinley and Petaluma Avenues, on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
The Sonoma Valley Farmers Market, founded in 1985 and managed by Hilda Swartz, takes place on Friday mornings from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the parking lot of Depot Park on First St. West, just north of the Sonoma town plaza.
Seasonal Farmers Markets
Bodega Bay Farmers Market, founded in 2011 and managed Diana Bundy, takes place on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the end of May to the end of October. It is located at 2255 Highway One in Bodega Bay.
Cloverdale Farmers Market, founded in 2008 and managed by Karen Tankersley, takes place on Fridays from 5:30 p.m. until dusk in downtown Cloverdale between First and and Second Streets from the end of May through the end of August.
Cloverdale Community Market and Exchange, founded in 2014 and managed by Mike Morisette and Marne Depere, takes place on Tuesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. at 225 North Cloverdale Blvd., next door to Plank Coffee. The market opened in April; a closing date is not yet scheduled.
Cotati Farmers Market, founded in 2001 and managed by Kelly Smith, takes place on Thursday afternoons from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. from June the beginning of June through the end of August at La Plaza Park at West Sierra Ave. and Old Redwood Highway in downtown Cotati.
Forestville Farmers Market, founded in 2013 and currently managed by Russian River Vineyards and Cork Restaurant, takes place on Tuesdays from 4 to 7 p.m. in the parking lot of Russian River Vineyards (5700 Gravenstein Highway North) from June 17 through October 28.
Kenwood Community Farmers Market, founded in 2014 and managed by Kelly Smith, takes place on Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. from June 1 through September 14 at Kenwood Plaza Park, 200 Warm Springs Rd., Kenwood.
Healdsburg Farmers Market, founded in 1978 and currently managed by Mary Kelley, takes place on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon one block west of the town plaza, at North and Vine Streets, from May the beginning of May through the end of November, and on Wednesday from 3:30 to 6 p.m. on North St. in the Purity-Cerri parking lot, from the beginning of June to the end of October.
Oakmont Certified Farmers Market, founded in the mid 1990s by Hilda Swartz, hosts a seasonal market on Tuesdays from 5 to 7:30 p.m. from May 16 to October 23 from 9 a.m. to noon at 6585 Oakmont Dr. in east Santa Rosa.
Occidental Bohemian Farmers Market, founded in 2002 and managed by Kim Dow, takes place on Fridays from 4 p.m. until dusk from June 1 through October 26. It is located on Bohemian Highway between First and Third Sts. in downtown Occidental.
Petaluma Farmers Market</b>, founded in 1987 and managed by Alyx Cucci, takes place on Saturday from 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in Walnut Park, at Petaluma Blvd. South and D St., from May 19 to November 17 and on Wednesdays from 4:30 to 8 p.m. on Second St. between B and D Sts. from June 6 to August 29.
Rohnert Park Farmers Market, founded in 2011 and managed by Laure Tatman, takes place from 5 to 8 p.m. June 15 to August 31 at 500 City Center Drive.
Russian River Farmers Market, founded in 2012 and managed by Connie Schlabach, takes place on Thursdays from 3 to 7 p.m. in the parking lot of Sonoma Nesting Company (16151 Main St., Guerneville) from the beginning of May through the end of September.
Southwest Santa Rosa Farmers Market, founded in 2014 and managed by the California Parenting Institute, takes place on Thursday from June 5 through September 25 from 4 to p.m. at 3650 Standish Ave., Santa Rosa.
Valley of the Moon Certified Farmers Market, founded in 2011 and managed by Christopher Welch, takes place from 5:30 p.m. to dusk from the beginning of May through the end of October in the Sonoma town plaza.
Wednesday Night Market was founded in 1990 and is currently managed by Andre Morrow. It takes place on Wednesday evenings from 5 to 8:30 p.m. from May 7 through August 20 on E St. between Third and Fifth Streets.
West End Farmers Market, founded in 2013 and managed by Allen Thomas, takes place located on Donahue St., adjacent to DeTurk Park and Round Barn, between West. 8th and Boyce Streets from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. from March 16 to December 14.
WIC Farmers Market, founded in 2011 and operated by The Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market, takes place from July 10 through September 11 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the parking lot of the WIC office at 1450 Guerneville Rd., Santa Rosa.
Windsor Farmers Market, founded in 2001 and managed by Tina Castelli, takes place on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. from April through December and on Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m. from June through August on Market St. in Old Downtown Windsor.