From Michele Anna Jordan
“Isn’t it a beautiful day!” vendors, pleasantly surprised by the pretty blue sky after a week of glorious but daunting rain, exclaimed at the Santa Rosa farmers market on Saturday. Dominique’s Sweets celebrated the holiday with green macarons and Karl Seppi of Costeaux Bakery waddled through the market in a whimsical green hat, doing his best imitation of a leprechaun.
A few vendors were missing, some because storms left their fields too wet to harvest and others who slip in a vacation now, before spring kicks into high gear.
Fairly new is Marin Roots Farm of southwest Petaluma, with spinach, green and red dandelion greens, heirloom chicory, chickweed, miners lettuce, kale mix, chard, cilantro, spearmint, edible blossoms and amazing ancho cress, full of spice and fire. Across from Marin Roots is Singing Frog Farms, attending every other week with creamy butter lettuce, gorgeous scallions and chives, winter greens, golden and red beets, baby fennel, frisee, leafy lettuces, chicory and more.
Tierra Vegetables, attending until the Healdsburg market opens in May, has cabbage, butternut squash, salad mix, leeks and chard, along with jams, hot sauces, dried and ground chiles, including delicious chipotle powder, and heirloom beans, perfect for soups and stews. Ortiz Farms has winter greens, broccoli, beets, leeks, lettuces, cabbages, turnips, radishes, cilantro and parsley, along with seasonal wreaths and gorgeous bouquets with pussy willows and silvery young eucalyptus.
Orchard Farm’s harvest is one of the most diverse, with leeks, cilantro, fennel, several types of broccoli, chard, cabbage, fennel, Napa cabbage, burdock, rutabaga, turnips, beets, kohlrabi, green onions, scarlet cauliflower, carrots, radishes, parsnips, kales and chards, bok choy, tatsoi , spring onions, celery and more. Hector Alvarez, in addition to award-winning honey, has both cut and whole spaghetti squash, dried chiles, garlic and gorgeous spring onions perfect for roasting.
First Light Farm has radishes, sunflower and pea shoots, several varieties of potatoes, chard and collards. Nancy Skall’s always gorgeous display includes leeks, stinging nettles, sprouting broccoli, delicate green garlic, tiny, medium and large beets, fennel, parsley and beautiful camellias and flowering quince. Bernier Farms has delicious carrots, radishes, beets, green garlic, winter greens, broccoli, red cabbage, salad mix, arugula and, for early birds, asparagus, the first of the market. Armstrong Valley Farm has plenty of eggs, along with potatoes, kale, chard, lettuce, cabbage, carrots and a selection of local citrus.
Three other vendors have citrus, too, including DeSantis Farm, which still has delicious Sarawak grapefruit. Min-Hee Hill Gardens popular winter produce was nearly sold out by 11:30 a.m. A vendor from Central California attends with strawberries and avocados.
Pepper Ranch Poultry of Petaluma has heritage chickens, John Ford Ranch has grass-fed and corn-fed beef and Williams Ranches has some of the finest lamb anywhere. Franco and Dennis Dunn have a great selection of sausages, including pepperoni. Santa Rosa Seafood’s booth is a bit smaller than it usually is on Saturday, perhaps because of the rain. There are two mushroom vendors and four cheese vendors, one of which also has butter, another with delicious yogurt and another, Two Rock Valley Goat Cheese, with a new cow’s milk brie. Cook’s Spices has a new blend for homemade chai, Not Yer Momma’s Granola is as popular as ever and if you need a chocolate fix, you won’t do better than Gandolf’s tiny bonbons.
The Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market, founded in 1978 and first known as the Sonoma County Farmers Market, takes place on Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to noon and on Saturday from 8:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. in the east parking lot of the Veterans Building at the corner of Maple and Brookwood Avenues.