The  market manager picks for Saturday March 24
Asparagus and spring green onions are really exciting…Two of my personal favorite foods…
Quiche with asparagus and green onions made with farm market eggs and cheese is a beautiful spring meal.  Chickens are getting geared up with the coming of spring so we have PLENTY OF EGGS.

Thinking about keeping your own chickens, come and see Mack for a well made and beautiful coop.  A family of 4 only needs 6 chickens to have enough eggs to eat every day…And NOW is the time to buy baby chicks.  Then you will have eggs of your own in August or so.




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.


Have you been thinking about tomatoes and wondering when the “Tomato Lady” comes back to market – this Saturday March 24 Parsons Homegrown returns.

Parsons Homegrown  has only have one thing -the best out of season tomato ever, grown right here in Sonoma County.  You can eat locally and have a great tasting tomato in March.






The pies the limit

The hottest food trend for 2012 is the mini-pie.   On the cutting edge for the last twenty years is  Nicky’s Flour Creations.  Nicky and her mom have been making little pies for a long, long time.  They have sweet , savory and a variety of styles and sizes.

There are the miniature versions of the classic pies, the tiny tart and  galettes.  On the savory side the very popular vegetable hand-pie has recently been joined by the chicken pot pie.   Small but big on taste!  But come early – these popular pies sell out early.



Dear Supervisor Carrillo,


I am writing to you out of concern for what is happening to the Santa Rosa Farmers Market. I live in your district, District 5, and have done so for 28 years, and in Sonoma County since 1966. When you were running for election to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors you came to my door and told me you wanted to represent the under served individuals and small businesses in District 5, among other things. That is why I voted for you. That is why I am asking for your help.


I own a small business with no employees. My studio is in my home, and I sell by mail order, online orders, wholesale, 4 yarn, wool and knitting shows a year, and at the Santa Rosa Farmers Market. I have been a vendor at the Santa Rosa Farmers Market for 21 years. At least one third of my business comes from the farm market. I usually work 10 hours a day with maybe 1 1/2 days off per week. I work very hard to promote my business which includes bringing customers into the farm market. Many of my customers have been referred to me at the farm market my contacts and other customers. I have a good reputation. The farm market is my retail outlet since I do not have a store.


The County of Sonoma has incorrectly given a contract for the farmers market located at the Santa Rosa Veteran’s Building to a newly formed group, Redwood Empire Farm Market. I say it was done incorrectly because the Regional Parks office skipped at least one step, stopped communicating with the Santa Rosa Farm Market with whom it was in contract talks, and awarded the contract to a man, Rob Cary, who had not legally established the Redwood Empire Farm Market nor was vetted in any manor.


The Regional Parks office says it stopped communicating due to a conversation between the Santa Rosa Farm Market manager and contact, Paula Downing, and Regional Parks office employee Sabrina Spear. Ms. Spear says she was verbally told the Santa Rosa Farm Market had found another location and was no longer interested in renting the space in question by Paula Downing. A statement Paula Downing says is un-true. In a conversation with Ms. Spear, on Monday, March 12, 2012 after I made two calls to her, she told me Paula Downing said to her on the phone that we had another location and were no longer interested in renting the parking lot at the Santa Rosa Veteran’s building. A statement Ms. Downing says in un-true. It is a she said – she said situation. I asked Ms. Spear what were the requirements a group needed to have and present to be eligible for this contract? There was no answer, just silence. I asked the same question again. Once again there was no response. Then I said “There are no requirements?” Dead silence.


I believe Paula Downing when she says she did not tell Ms. Spear we had another location and were no longer interested. I believe Ms. Downing because it isn’t plausible for a number of reasons.


First, we had no space.


Second, on February 11 and 18th our Board of Directors were polling the members as to their preferences regarding whether to move one or both markets or try to stay. The preference was overwhelmingly for the Saturday market to stay at the Veteran’s Building. The results were less clear regarding the Wednesday market. Plainly, it would have been silly for the Board of Directors or any of the market’s paid employees to spend any time taking such a poll if we had a new location.


Third, on February 13, 2012 market founder and treasurer Charles Stark left a voice message with the Regional Parks Department and with the Supervisors stating the market wanted to sign its contract for the 2012/2013 year and requested a meeting to secure this. On February 15, the market Board of Directors drafted a letter in response to the Regional Parks Department’s letter dated February 9. Our letter stated “at no time in the course of our discussions with you or anyone in your agency was an authorized representative of the Santa Rosa Farmer’s Market indicated that we were not interested in continuing our arrangement to sent the Veteran’s Building”. The letter also requested a meeting with the Regional Parks Department and Supervisor Zane to clear up any misunderstanding. On February 17, 2012 this letter was emailed to Caryl Hart’s office, we have proof of emailing, and hard copies were mailed to the Regional Parks Department and all Sonoma County Supervisors on February 18, 2012. Again it would be plain silly for anyone to go to this much effort if we planned on moving.


On Tuesday March 13, 2012 I attended the Board of Supervisors meeting and was in the group in the hall discussing the problem and asking questions of Caryl Hart, after Supervisor Zane told us we could talk to her in the hall. I asked what requirements Mr. Cary or anyone had to meet to be awarded this or another contract with Sonoma County? Caryl Hart said Mr. Cary didn’t need to provide anything to the county since she knew him How can I get to know Caryl Hart? No vetting was done, no proof of legal entity provided nor the ability to run a farm market. In the same hallway meeting, Lesley Brabyn, who is the secretary for our Board of Directors, was trying to ask questions of Caryl Hart and Ms. Hart continually interrupted Lesley despite Lesley continually asking her to stop interrupting and let Lesley finish her statement. Ms. Hart continually demonstrated poor professional skills; in fact I have never seen less.


February 23, 2012 the farm market was informed that the contract for the Veteran’s Building’s parking lot had been awarded to another party.


The County of Sonoma was in contract discussions with the Santa Rosa Farm Market up to February 10, 2012 when the county stopped communicating with the market. No deadline dates were ever provided. Meetings and communications that should have taken place were just dropped by the County of Sonoma. Yet, communications continued with Rob Cary who is a person know to Caryl Hart well enough to waive requirements. On the day of signing Mr. Cary had not set up his non-profit corporation, gotten a DBA, written bylaws, elected a Board of Directors, applied for permits and certificates required to run a farm market. The Regional Parks Department made a special set of rules and regulations for Mr. Cary.


I am asking for justice. I do not now what has to be done to break Mr. Cary’s contract. I do know there are 150 families depending on this farm market. I do know how hard we have worked to build up good will in the community, how hard we have worked to bring people into the market, how we have instituted a process enabling individual members to accept vouchers from Cal Fresh (formerly known as food stamps), hosts periodic “Food as Medicine” booths where local family physicians answer questions from the public, is collaborating with the Vista Family Health Center of Santa Rosa to teach how to prepare healthy meals for pregnant women at risk for gestational diabetes, and much more. I know that allowing another entity to run a farm market at this location is ROBBING me and the rest of the market of all our hard work. It’s not fair. It’s wrong.


This problem is giving Sonoma County a black eye. It is negative publicity. It is in the best interest of the county to admit its fault. A farm market is there for the community. All my customers, the community, have said they will not patronize a different farm market at this location. At this time 78 out of 85 vendors at last Saturday’s market say they will not join a new market. With a no vendors customers will not come which results in there not being much revenue to pay the rent. That does not make sense.


Please help me. Thank you for your time.




Karen Emrey

719 Agnew Pl

Santa Rosa, CA 95401



Karen Emrey

Royale Hare


exquisite hand dyed yarn and fiber








GUEST OPINION: Hasty change puts SR Farmers Market at risk

Published: Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 4:51 p.m.


Farmers markets occupy islands of good sense and amiability amid the questionable sanity and back-stabbing of big money.

In the good old days, nobody paid a great deal of attention to those scruffy farmers in their jeans and dusty shoes arriving in equally dusty trucks.

Cars and customers gave nary a glance at the small “settlement” of Saturday morning vegetable farmers setting up tables in parking lots. Santa Rosa, Healdsburg, Sonoma, Petaluma, Sebastopol, in the 1980s and early 90s, provided farmers markets painstakingly grown by the very farmers who watched 95 percent of consumers bring their grocery lists and money to supermarkets.

Then it caught on. A few loyal customers brought a few more friends with them. The cooks in the family discovered there was a difference between produce picked within hours and transported a few miles and produce loaded and unloaded from distribution centers all over the country. Restaurants began to feature locally grown food, and Alice Waters took upon herself the mission of teaching urban school children how to grow food and why it mattered.

News within the last decade of the presence of E. coli and salmonella in some pre-packaged lettuce and spinach was a wake-up call for consumers. Standard summer delights such as cantaloupe and watermelon posed potential risks, resulting in customers paying better attention to how and where their food had been grown.

It took more than 30 years for the Santa Rosa Farmers Market to become the most lucrative market in Sonoma County. A great many farmers worked to make that market grow, giving their time as volunteer board members, hiring managers, writing bylaws, obeying agriculture rules from state and county.

It is a year-round market upon which the biggest farms depend — those operations that grow winter produce as well as summer in an attempt to make a living from agriculture. The Saturday market, with its steady customer base and dependable management, is essential to them.

To put that market at risk is to risk the health of agriculture in Sonoma County, since the acres farmed with a variety of orchard trees, edible plant and cover crops provide necessary diversity to our near monoculture of grapes. It takes months of planning to raise farm crops from seed to display basket. For tree fruit, it takes years.

And yet the owners of the Veterans Building and its parking lot — the Sonoma County Parks Department — have ignored that risk and raised the rent to an over-the-top $50,000-plus annually — $50,000 for use of a parking lot, a bathroom and making coffee in the kitchen?

As the Santa Rosa market deliberated how to pay this, the Parks Department turned the lease over to a collection of vendors who have had historic issues with the Santa Rosa market management and are in formal litigation with them.

The group has a nice title but no history of ever running a market; it merely has ready cash.

The Parks Department issued the following statement on Feb. 28: “The county has leased (the parking lot) to (Redwood Empire Farmer’s Market) … confident that the community benefiting aspects of a farmers’ market will be maintained.”

I don’t think so. The majority of the vendors, and our farm is one of them, would refuse to be a part of this group suing and taking over our market. If we must move location and start a different Saturday market for Santa Rosa, this is highly preferable. The tragedy is that the county will have severed a democratically run market with a nearly 40-year history into two entities opposing each other. For what?


Renee Kiff was market manager for the Healdsburg Farmers Market from 1990 to 2004 and has been a long-time vendor at other markets including the Santa Rosa Wednesday market. She lives in Healdsburg.

Copyright © 2012 — All rights reserved. Restricted use only.





Ssambap – Lettuce wrap

Min Hee Hill Gardens of Sebastopol currently has five kinds of lettuce including Korean Red Curl  – a sturdy, large leafed lettuce – perfect for wrapping tasty little bundles.  Here is a traditional recipe for ssambap     And here is a Thai version of the lettuce wrap.   Or just let your imagination be your guide.

Korean Red Lettuce has been grown for over five hundred years and now has found a happy home in Sonoma County.  This variety produces green leaves with a  reddish margin.  It’s fast growing plant and can be harvested in 30 days . The leaves are delicious with excellent flavor, good raw or cooked . In Korea, a  large single leaf is often used in wrapping and eaten with the cooked or stir fried food.  An excellent lettuce for home garden and fresh market.

When you shop at the Santa Rosa Farmers Market you don’t just find lettuce you will find the perfect lettuce for your recipe.





I can see spring at the Santa Rosa Farmers Market.   Brighten up your menu and your house with fresh ingredients and flowers and plants from the Wednesday market.

Min Hee Hill has the first green garlic and baby beets.

Hector’ Honey has spring onions -Walla Wallas perfect for grilling.

Spring is lettuce season and beautiful heads and mixes are all around the market.

Ortiz Bros has baby turnips – a sure sign of spring

And flowers everywhere!  A number of farmers have bunches of daffodils and flowering branches

If you don’t feel like cooking – Mi Fiesta has enchiladas, tamales and a good assortment of salsas, sides, chips and tortillas.    Santa Rosa Seafood has a tasty menu of prepared foods.

If you only feel like cooking a little bit – Dreamcatcher Ranch as wonderful fresh picnic pork —  it cooks up like the Chateaubriand of pork just pop it in the oven with the sauce of your choice.

Other Wednesday market vendors:  Run-around-brew – coffee drinks and pastries,

Full Circle Bakery breads and pastries from a baker that makes his own flour from wheat grown for him.

The Hummus Guy  the old favorites and usually something new.  For people addicted to his harrissa it’s good to have a place to get a mid-week fix

Grandma’s Jam great old style jams and Pat recycles the jars.  Ask her about recipes that use the pepper jelly in dips and sauces.

The Garden Wild hand crafted soaps and cremes.  If you like to pamper yourself or a friend – this is the place to be.

The Olive Press.  A good place to stop and try something new.  A big selection of olive oils and flavored oils as well.

Triple T and Armstrong Valley Farm both have eggs and great selections of seasonal produce.  Armstrong Valley has wonderful potatoes of all kinds and currently has a special of a bag of German Butterball  creamers.

Bohemian Well Being Farm brings his array of foraged and locally cultivated mushrooms and a wealth of mushroom lore and uses.   Mr. Kim has wonderful fresh mushrooms but be sure and ask about the dried selection and some of medicinal suggestions.

Schletewitz Farms brings citrus and possibly the best sweet potato ever  The Diana,  Nuefeld also has fresh and dried fruit and usually cheese from Dacheva Son if they have the ricotta type cheese , try it out,it is wonderful.  Our third fabulous fruit vendor is DeSantis farm – certainly lives up to their name – Bella Fruita.

Our newest member of the Wednesday family is Redel’s Roasted Almonds…the perfect snack!

The Wedneday  – definitely worth breaking out the rain gear.

Santa Rosa’s Original Certified Farmers Market is a rain or shine market.

Wednesday morning  8:30 am to noon





We don’t like to admit our age but …

The History of the Santa Rosa Farmers Market

Saturday, at 3:19 by


This Sunday evening on my radio show, Mouthful, the Wine Country’s Most Delicious Hour, I’ll be exploring the history of the Santa Rosa Original Farmers Market. I tend to keep what I do on my two food-related radio shows separate from what I do in print but I’m posting about it here because I think it is an urgent topic. The show will include a recorded interview with one of the market’s original founders, a live discussion with the current market manager, two former market managers (one of Santa Rosa, one of Healdsburg) and a long-time vendor. If there is time, we’ll also take a few calls from listeners.

Unless you pay absolutely no attention to the news, you’re aware that there’s a pretty big market dust-up under way. The issues, as far I am aware of them, are complex. I have not spoken publicly about them and I’m not doing so in this post or on the radio show. The one thing I will say is that I am very concerned about Sonoma County’s signature market and hope, every day, that things are resolved so that all of our farmers, ranchers and other vendors thrive.

But humans being what we are–a diverse lot, with both intersecting and competing interests–conflicts arise from time to time. What I do to ease my own anxieties and the advice I give to those who ask me for it is to look at history, to understand there’s been trouble before and there will be again because it is simply the nature of life, of human endeavors. Things get messy, even when everyone tries to do their best.

This show will not address the current controversy and that applies to both on-air guests and callers. I’m leaving that for another time, when how the situation will be resolved becomes more clear; from my point of view, it is, at this point, too soon for that discussion. Think of this episode as a history lesson from those who have been there and let’s see what that history might be able to teach us about the future. I think it is at least worth a try.

The show will air on KRCB FM 90.9 & 91.1 fm on Sunday evening at 7 p.m. PDT. You can hear it via Comcast Cable 961 and stream it on line via and itunes. It will be available as a free podcast by Tuesday or Wednesday.

for more information






Santa Rosa Farm Market News – Urgent!

In late 2011, the Market was told its rent for the Veteran’s Hall was being increased by a 167%. In January, the new Board of Directors formed a Rent Committee to figure out what our members wanted to do and how to make that happen. In the meantime, the County Parks Director, Caryl Hart, awarded the rental contract to another group who wishes to start a new farmers market at the Veterans Hall. The County Parks Department did not give us written notice for signing a renewal, nor any deadline for responding. Had we known we had to provide an answer over four months in advance from the expiration date, we would certainly have done so.

As most of you know, after serving the community in this location for 40+ years, the market has lost its lease. This was a decision of Sonoma County Parks Director, Caryl Hart.

The Board of Supervisors has the authority to overturn this decision. We need your help to convince them to give our market back to us!

What you can do?

1)  Email and/or call the supervisor in your district and ask them to rescind this decision.  To find out who your Supervisor is, you can go to and look it up by ZIP code. Leave a message for each of them, if you like.

The phone number for all Supervisors: (707) 565-2241. You can leave voice mail. Just tell them you are a customer and like the Market the way it is and to please rescind the decision to terminate the lease of the Santa Rosa Farmer’s Market.   The Supervisors are:

Valerie Brown: (1st District)
David Rabbitt: (2nd District)
Shirlee Zane: (3rd District)
Mike McGuire: (4th District)
Efren Carrillo: (5th District)

2. Come to the Supervisor’s Meeting on Tuesday, March 13th at 2:00 p.m., and ask the supervisors to rescind this decision. The address is 575 Administration Drive, Santa Rosa, CA 95403. Show your support for the market and let them know that we like things the way they are. Let’s pack the place! This is our second attempt to talk to the Board of Supervisors. The last time the majority of our supporters were unable to speak.  This item needs to be put on the Board of Supervisors Agenda so that all of our market community has an opportunity to speak.

Email, Facebook, Tweet and/or call ALL of your friends who might help and ask them to do #1 or #2 above.

Thank you everyone for the outpouring of support.

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