I’m getting to this column a bit late. Our Saturday market opened the beginning of the month, and no matter how prepared I think I am it seems there are never enough hours in the day.
Opening day of the market was joyful. The aisles were filled with happy vendors and customers. We have some great new vendors joining us this year, plus our core group of amazing farmers, food producers and craftspeople. Everything ran as it should, so a sigh of relief was justified at the end. This past Saturday was a bit quieter, likely due to the Ironman event which blocked off many roads around us. It still was a lovely market: warm and sunny and full of folks shopping, eating and schmoozing.
My big, scary excitement is our NEW market! Many of you likely already know that we closed our Wednesday market last year, and will be opening a brand new Farmers’ Market on the Healdsburg Plaza on Tuesdays, 9am – 1pm, beginning May 29 and ending on August 28.
Beginning a new market presents challenges. The layout was a conundrum. There were a number of different options floated and the one that stuck was wrapping the booths around the edge of the Plaza on Plaza and Center streets, facing into it. This will make for a nice flow: allowing customers to purchase goods and then wander into the Plaza.
This market is smaller than Saturdays, so I’m making sure there’s a balance of goods: lots of fresh produce, of course, but also seafood (yes, Anna’s will be there!), meat, cheeses, baked goods, a few booths of lovely craft, and delicious prepared foods. As I write this the new market is almost full, hopefully with a mix which will bring people back week after week to find those special things which you can only find at the market.
Some of you reading this are loyal Saturday shoppers, and I can’t tell you how grateful we all are for your support. Our market is 40 years old this year and we couldn’t be here without you. We’re hoping that many of you will come to both markets, if the day and hours work for you.
Why come to both? My experience, as someone who shopped two markets a week when we had both last year, was that I didn’t need to buy all my produce and perishables in one day. I loved that I could buy some, and then a few days later get more. This market will also have some wonderful prepared foods, so will be a great place to come have lunch. There will be many of the same vendors as Saturday, but we have some new folks as well. We’ll have live music on the Gazebo Stage, so folks can stroll into the Plaza, sit, listen to music, eat, visit with neighbors and friends, and revel in the beauty that is Healdsburg.
I want to say a huge THANK YOU to the City Council, the Planning Department, Mark and Dave from the City, and all who helped make this happen. It’s been more than eight years since the market was on the Plaza, and as the center of town it seems so right that we’re finally back in the heart of Healdsburg, since agriculture is what built this city. Let’s hope this is the answer to creating a successful mid-week market.
MARKER REPORT NOVEMBER 1017
Last month I wrote my column a week before our beautiful county went up in flames. I went on about fall and pumpkins, excited about the festival, craft market, and the upcoming remainder of the season. Little could any of us have known what Mother Nature had in store for us. I know many suffered losses, great and small, and my heart goes out to all who were impacted. This was a tragedy like no other in our history, and will affect us for a long time to come.
I’m deeply grateful Healdsburg was spared, though it certainly came close. On behalf of myself, the market board and our vendors, I wish to offer a huge thank you to the first responders who kept this town safe as well as so many others.
As Thanksgiving draws near, and the end of our market season approaches, I would like to use this space as a place to offer thanks for so many things.
Firstly, I am thankful to Healdsburg for welcoming me into the community, and being so supportive of your farmers’ market! It’s a pleasure to run a market so filled with enthusiastic shoppers and friends.
I’m thankful for my great vendors. People come up to me and say I’m doing a good job because I have “so and so” as a vendor. I’m not the vendor! I just went to their booth at another market, or emailed them, and asked them to try our market. The rest is up to them. You shopping at that vendor’s booth keeps them coming. I’m just the middleman.
I‘ll always be grateful for having the skills to do this kind of work: to bring growers, food producers and artisans together and create an environment for direct sales. You’re buying from the person who makes the goods. No radio advertising, internet pop-up ads, or TVs blaring. So simple: as old as time itself.
Of course my gratefulness extends to my husband, family, the amazing world I was born into, and the incredible life I’ve been fortunate to live. If one has awareness of so many people struggling all over the planet it puts in stark contrast how beautiful and wonderful not only our surroundings are, but the people we have around us as well.
I’ve long believed the more we are able to find gratefulness in our hearts, despite adversity, the less breakable we are. A brilliant quote by Albert Einstein seems fitting here. “There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” I’ll go with the latter.
The market is filled right now with gorgeous treats for your holiday celebrations, so come spend these last few Saturdays with us, before we close for the season at the end of November. Let’s revel in fall together, and find the gratefulness in our hearts for the bounty and talent of this area.
MARKET REPORT April 2017
Hello Healdsburg! I’m the new manager of the Healdsburg Certified Farmers’ Markets! Some of you may know me as the producer of the Bodega Seafood, Art & Wine Festival: an event I created 23 years ago. I have also worked on the Santa Rosa Wednesday Night Market, the Petaluma 4th of July and recently produced the Wine Country Winter Festival.
It’s exciting to be a part of such a venerable and respected market. I had no idea when I applied for the position the market is 38 years old, one of a handful of markets which began back then. I’m proud to be a part of this heritage.
I was also surprised to learn the farmers own the market. It’s a non-profit, owned and run by the growers. Most of the farmers grow their produce within 15 miles of town, what a farmers’ market is meant to be.
Farmers’ markets go back thousands of years, and are likely the first organized commerce. Consider our agrarian ancestors and the need to sell their produce. Markets were the place where villagers shopped, bartered and socialized.
Not only is this an ancient custom, outdoor farmers’ markets exist worldwide. I’ve been to beautiful markets in such diverse places as Thailand, Jamaica, Germany, Amsterdam and Costa Rica. There is likely a market in almost every village, town or city, no matter where you go.
When you buy directly from the farmer you get the freshest food. You’re supporting a tradition and keeping small businesses alive. You know who grew your food and where it was grown, rather than buying produce grown in other parts of the world, sold in generic supermarkets.
If you’ve followed the history of the Healdsburg markets you know they’re so cherished an entire building is being built for their home. The Cerri Building project’s focus is to create a permanent location. As someone who is learning about this I am pleased the markets mean so much to Healdsburg.
I’ve learned the Wednesday evening market has not done well in the past few years. It surprises me that Saturday thrives and yet Wednesday struggles. As a person with a background in building events, it’s my goal to make both equally popular.
Our markets will be filled with wonderful local produce, packaged food products, prepared foods and a smattering of lovely craft. Hours are changing slightly to accommodate folks who want to come eat a meal in the evening, or sneak in before the crowds in the morning. Both markets will have music and special events. The classic Zucchini Races and Pumpkin Carving competitions will be better than ever, plus look for other fun activities.
The Saturday Market begins May 6th and runs through November. 8:30am-noon. The Wednesday evening market begins June 7th and runs through October, 4-7pm. As the new manager I welcome input on what you’d like to see happen at the markets. My email is manager@healdsburgfarmersmarket,org, so drop me a note.
Come spend some time at the markets and get to know our growers, food vendors and craftspeople. Keep the tradition of the market alive and thriving.