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It’s a party at the Rohnert Park farmers market

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011 | Posted by

By Michele Anna Jordan / Press Democrat

Like all evening markets, the Friday night Farmers Market in Rohnert Park is as much a party as a market. At 5 p.m. on a warm afternoon, it seems like the entire town is heading toward the fun. Parking, even this early, can be a challenge.

Rohnert Park Certified Farmers Market (PD FILE, 2010)

It opened June 3 for its second season on a rainy day. Early in the season, produce vendors are outnumbered by crafts and food vendors, though the space is so big that there is plenty of room.

Produce and craft vendors are in the library parking lot; musicians, community booths, service booths and food vendors are in the Civic Center plaza, which makes it easy to zip in and out.

A new farmer, Cindy Guy of Guy Family Farm, has delicate yellow carrots and orange carrots, European-style mesclun, Morello pie cherries and eggs. Her husband was bringing raspberries, but they arrived after I left the market. This is the Santa Rosa farm’s first year, and as the season unfolds the harvest will increase. In addition to participating in this market and the Petaluma markets on Wednesdays and Saturday, Guy Family Farm also offers a CSA. For more information, visit guyfamilyfarm.com.

The Patch, one of the county’s most diverse and productive small farms, has fresh garlic, green zucchini and yellow summer squash, carrots, beets, onions and more. This Sonoma Valley farm is often one of the first out of the gate with local tomatoes and peppers, so pay attention: It won’t be long before it’s time for the season’s first BLT.

Santa Rosa’s Ortiz Brothers, another prolific family farm, has a beautiful selection of radishes, cilantro, carrots, broccoli, white turnips, red beets and greens, along with mixed bouquets and long stems of golden gladioluses.

Valley End Farms of south Santa Rosa was showing examples of its CSA boxes. Senk Farms of Santa Rosa had a mix of lavender bouquets, plant starts — pumpkins, strawberries and herbs — and condiments, including hot pepper jellies, along with handmade soaps and other body products. Schletewitz Family Farms of Sanger in Fresno County has a big selection of early stone fruit, along with some of the season’s last citrus.

Tara Firm Farms, which produces grass-fed meats and produce in Petaluma, had a selection of cuts of beef (ground, ribeye, New York, skirt, arm, London broil) along with pork (sausage, picnic ham and spare ribs). It also offers a CSA subscription featuring both meat and produce. Stonybrooke Sustainables, a small family farm between Cotati and Sebastopol, offers pastured eggs, chicken, lamb, pork and milk, along with fruits and vegetables.

If you need to restock your pantry, there are plenty of options at this market, including olive oils from The Olive Press; jams from Just Like Grandma’s Specialty Foods; balsamic vinegar and blended olive oils from Nan’s Gourmet Foods; pasta from Homemaid Ravioli, and flatbreads, hummus and other dips from The Hummus Guy. Sweets and baked goods include cookies, lemon bars, fruit galettes and crostada from Sonoma’s Olive & Vine; cookies and biscotti from Mama Baretta, and brownies, cookies and ice cream from The Killer Baking Co. of Rohnert Park.

Crafts include whimsical woodwork, bags made of recycled materials, cute baby clothes, jewelry and miniature gardens.

If you want to enjoy both the market and the party, put a cooler or a thermal bag in your car, along with a bucket of water wide enough that it won’t tip over. Shop first, and then store your purchases, using the bucket for both bouquets and cut herbs. Put other foods in the cooler or thermal bag.

It’s also a good idea to have some sort of shield to cover flowers and herbs from the hot sun. After you’ve made sure everything will survive, head to the fete, where you’ll find nearly as many things to eat as you do at a county fair.

Options include Willie Bird barbecued turkey, Korean tacos and sliders, pasta from the Pasta King, Greek foods, churros, barbecued oysters, hot dogs, paella, Mexican food and more from Worth Our Weight, which has its booth here. You can even enjoy a glass of wine, a beer or a margarita as you listen to the music.

Because of its open air, parking-lot location, this market can be quite hot. Dress accordingly, wear sunscreen and bring a sun hat or parasol.

The Rohnert Park Certified Farmers Market, managed by Laure Tatman, takes place at the intersection of Rohnert Park Expressway and State Farm Drive. It continues through September.

Michele Anna Jordan hosts “Mouthful” each Sunday at 7 p.m. on KRCB 90.9 & 91.1 FM. E-mail Jordan at michele@micheleannajordan.com. You’ll find her blog, “Eat This Now,” at pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com.

  • Alice

    It would be nice to know what day of the week it’s on.

  • nancy

    first sentence says its “Friday night market”

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Nick Walden is our Rohnert Park + Cotati correspondent.
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