Summer is here, and in Sonoma County, that means swimming-worthy temperatures and savoring longer days, hiking at spots like Armstrong Woods, enjoying a glass of Rose on a winery terrace, and picking up some goodies at one of our many farmers markets! Where else can you get a double-decker Heirloom tomato BLT on freshly baked bread, then walk a few steps and buy homemade vegan crackers to go with some honey that was just harvested yesterday? In our neck of the woods, there are farmers markets nearly each day of the week! Here’s a rundown of where they are, which are our favorites, where and when you can expect to see them, and what stands out to us (pun intended):
Healdsburg Farmers Market, 4pm-7pm, North & Vine Streets. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and claim your spot early! Dane loves this one best because of the live jazz every week and the excellent people-watching, along with the opportunity to sample small bites from favorites like Preston of Dry Creek‘s bread and olive oil and pastries and coffee from Jimtown Store. As Dane says, “it’s a great testament to that common denominator… the ancient tradition of coming together at the marketplace that continues to flourish out here in Sonoma County.” While you’re downtown, be sure to stop into everyone’s favorite local bookstore, Copperfield’s, to select your perfect summer read.Heirloom BLT from the Green Grocer, photo courtesy of Bite Club
Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market, 8:30am-noon, Wells Fargo Center for the Arts. This is a staff favorite at The Raford Inn, both for its proximity to us (an easy fifteen minutes down River Road) and for its reliable offerings of great vendors and products. This is where Melia goes to get that aforementioned double-decker BLT from The Green Grocer. Tawny loves the velvety Cherry Almond Goat milk and honey lotion from Hilltop Honey. Also, there’s a new vendor for vegan crackers- we recommend the banana cashew with honey from Hector’s Honey: YUM!
Santa Rosa Downtown Market, 5pm-8:30pm, 4th Street from Mendocino to E. If you’re looking for a way to start your night out on the town right, this is the place to be! Grab some fresh oysters, get a henna tattoo, hear live music, and watch the kids play in the jump house as you dance. This particular encompasses most of downtown and is like one giant block party. Afterwards (assuming you’ve found a coveted parking spot- be sure to get there early) you can easily grab a bite at one of the many great restaurants on 4th street or at nearby Railroad Square. Some of our favorites include Flavor Bistro and La Vera Pizza on 4th, and Jackson’s Bar & Oven or Lococo’s Cucina Rustica in Railroad Square.
Russian River Farmers Market, 6pm-8pm, The Guerneville Plaza.
Windsor Farmers Market, 5pm-8pm, Windsor Town Green. Windsor’s market is likely the most kid-friendly, with games and plenty of face painting. It’s also the best place to catch the most diverse music offerings and festivals in one place. We’re looking forward to the old-fashioned Quilt and Flower Show on July 7th, and the Zucchini Festival and Art Show on August 11th. Like many of the others, this is a great activity that segues easily into a meal nearby. We recommend Patterson’s Pub for beer and casual eats, or Kin for their mix of fresh and classy comfort-food options and fabulous seasonal takes on bruschetta.
FridaysFriday Night Live from Sue Bonzell’s Event Blog
Cloverdale Farmers Market and Friday Night Live!, 5:30pm-10pm, Cloverdale Boulevard. A bit of a trekfrom The Raford Inn, this is the perfect choice if you happen to be tasting in the Dry Creek Region late in the day. Before nightfall, there is always a nice display of locally made crafts as well as lots of fresh fruit being sold. Grab a beer or glass of wine, have an organic lamb kofta wrap from Mammy’s Yammys, and be sure to get an ice cream from the man to the right of the cotton candy vendor. Melia’s favorite is Rose Petal, but you can also try Merlot Chocolate Chip, Tequila, and other unique options.
Occidental Bohemian Farmers Market, 4pm-dusk, Downtown Occidental. A true bohemian farmers market, you’ll enjoy the laid-back vibe of the music and small town, along with the high quality vegetables from Tierra Farms. Don’t forget to try their popcorn!
Healdsburg Farmers Market, 9am-noon, one block west of the Plaza on Foss Creek. This one’s where the locals go for fresh fruit and veggies they don’t already have growing in their backyards
Santa Rosa’s Original Certified Farmers Market, 8:30am-1pm, Wells Fargo Center for the Arts. See notes above.
Sebastopol Farmers Market, 10am-1:30pm, Downtown Plaza. Take a nice, leisurely drive along Highway 116 to another favorite. Locals comment that this town is “where the hippies settled down and opened yoga studios.” You can expect the best in eclectic people-watching, oftentimes fresh fish just in from the nearby Sonoma Coast, Hector’s Honey, local hummus, and even fresh duck eggs! After you’re done shopping and browsing, stop at Screamin’ Mimi for some famous Mimi’s Mud, or head over to Hopmonk Tavern for some relaxing in the beer garden.
Windsor Farmers Market, 10am-1pm, Windsor Town Green.