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04.23.08

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Phaedra

To Market, to Market

Our user-friendly roundup of North Bay farm markets

By Gretchen Giles


"Shop like a chef!" coos a recent glossy ad in a national magazine, luring visitors to San Francisco's Ferry Building. We needn't don whites and toques and go to S.F. in search of the freshest food. After all, many of the Ferry Building's purveyors originate in the North Bay. And as spring lazes forward, local farm markets get into gear.

The grandmamma of them all in terms of sheer scope is the twice-weekly fest at the Marin Civic Center. On Thursday, April 24, and Sunday, April 27, that market tries a new challenge as it exhorts customers to forgo plastic bags—entirely. No bagging lettuce, no bagging oranges, no bagging strawberries.

"At our Sunday market alone, we use a million bags a year," estimates market manager Amelia Spilger. "We figured it at 15,000 bags a day—and that's just in five hours—multiplied by 52 weeks." That's about a million bags, indeed. "We're looking at any single-use bag as a band-aid," Spilger continues. "We need to change our consumer habits."

To make it fun, Spilger plans to give away some 500 reusable cloth bags in which strawberries can dandle. "It may not be the most convenient thing," she says cheerfully, "but it's going to feel good."

For details on the Civic Center markets and all other North Bay farm markets, one need merely read on. It's gonna feel good.


Sonoma County

Cotati Opens May 29 and runs Thursdays through Sept. 11 from 4:30pm to 7:30pm. La Plaza Park, downtown Cotati. 707.795.5508.

Healdsburg The Saturday-morning market opens unofficially on April 26 in celebration of Arbor Day for those farmers with "early" produce. The regular Saturday-morning market goes into full swing on May 3 from 9am to noon, and runs through Nov. 29. The market turns 30 on July 19 (but doesn't look a day over 29). North and Vine streets. The Tuesday-evening market begins June 3 from 4pm to 6:30pm and runs through Oct. 28. Matheson Street on the Plaza. 707.431.1956.

Oakmont This is a year-round market, every Saturday from 9am to noon in the Wells Fargo Bank parking lot, corner of Oakmont Drive and White Oak. 707.538.7023.

Occidental Opens June 6 and runs Fridays from 4pm to dusk through the season in front of Howard Station Cafe, 3611 Bohemian Hwy. 707.793.2159.

Petaluma The Saturday market opens May 24 and runs 2pm to 5pm through Oct. 25 at Walnut Park, Petaluma Boulevard at D Street. Wednesday-night market begins June 11 and runs from 4:30pm to 8pm through Aug. 27 at the intersection of Second Street and B and D streets. 707.762.0344.

Santa Rosa Year-round markets, Wednesday and Saturday, at the Veterans Memorial Building, east parking lot, 1351 Maple Ave. 707.522.8629. The downtown Wednesday Night Market, replete with live music and other treats, opens May 21 and runs from 5pm to 8:30pm through Aug. 27; R&B masters Pride & Joy kick off the season. Of special note, the market turns 20 on July 9 (but doesn't look a day over 19). Downtown Santa Rosa, Fourth Street from B to D streets. 707.524.2123.

Sebastopol Already under way, this market runs Sundays from 10am to 1:30pm through Nov.  30. Downtown Plaza at McKinley Street. 707.522.9305.

Sonoma The Friday market is a year-round event every week from 9am to 12:30pm at the Depot Park at First Street West. The Tuesday-evening market began at the start of April and goes through Oct. 28 from 5:30pm to dusk at the Sonoma Plaza on the Square. 707.538.7023.

Windsor The Sunday-morning market begins in earnest on May 11 and runs from 10am to 1pm through Nov. 23. Beginning June 5, Thursday-evening markets with special events run from 5pm to 8pm through the summer. Town Green in Old Downtown Windsor. 707.838.7285.


Marin County

Corte Madera This year-round market is held every Wednesday from noon to 5pm in the Town Center, Tamalpais and Highway 101, center courtyard. 415.382.7846.

Fairfax With its fierce devotion to sustainability, this market opens on May 7 and runs Wednesdays from 4pm to 8pm through Sept. 24 at Bolinas Park, 124 Bolinas Road. 415.472.6100.

Larkspur Running Saturdays, this market opens on May 17 and runs 10am to 2pm through October. Larkspur Landing Circle, Larkspur Landing. 415.382.7846.

Mill Valley This is a new market that appears every Tuesday, beginning June 3, running from 4pm to 8pm through Oct. 28. Peace Lutheran Church, Tennessee Valley Road and Shoreline Highway. 415.382.7846.

Novato Starts Tuesdays beginning May 6, running 4pm to 8pm through Sept. 30. Grant Avenue, old downtown. 415.472.6100.

Pt. Reyes Station This is a Saturday affair, beginning June 22 and running from 9am to 1pm through Nov. 1. Toby's Feed Barn,  15479 State Route 1, Pt. Reyes. 415.663.9667.

Ross Valley Another new market, this is slated for Thursdays from 4pm to 8pm, June to October. Opening day is not yet confirmed. Ross Commons at the Post Office. 415.382.7846.

San Rafael Year-round markets at the Marin County Civic Center are on Thursdays and Sundays from 8am to 1pm in the Marin County Civic Center parking lot. 415.456.3276. Also, the family affair that is the Thursday Night Market has already commenced and runs from 5pm to 8pm though Sept. 25. Fourth Street, between B Street and Cijos. 415.457.2266.

Sausalito This market opens May 9 and runs every Friday from 4pm to 8pm through Oct. 31 at the Sausalito Ferry Landing, Bridgeway and Tracy. 415.382.7846.


Napa County

Calistoga Begins on Saturday, May 3, with a market that runs Saturdays from 8:30am to noon through Oct. 25. Now located in the Calistoga Police Dept. parking lot, 1235 Washington St. 707.942.8892.

Napa Saturday-morning market in Napa begins on May 3 from 7:30am to noon and runs through Oct. 25. Tuesday-morning market begins on May 6 from 8:30am to noon and runs through Oct. 28. Both markets are now in the north parking lot, closest to Oxbow. COPIA, 500 First St. 707.252.7142. The Chef's Market now runs on Thursdays instead of Fridays,  May 22 through July 31 from 4pm to 8pm. Also new this year is a larger footprint for Chef's Market, as it extends over the bridge to the COPIA/Oxbow area. Downtown Napa, between First and the Oxbow Public Market. 707.252.7142.

Oxbow Public Market Part of the original vision for Oxbow was that it would essentially be a seven-day-a-week farmers market. Then reality hit. How can farmers spend all week at the farm stand and still, um, farm? The answer looks to be a compilation of produce picked up from farmers and aggregated at Oxbow with some stands open for visiting purveyors. 610 First St., Napa. 10am to 7pm. 707.226.6529.

St. Helena Look for this market every Friday, May 2 to Oct. 31, from 7:30am to noon. Crane Park, Crane Avenue at Grayson Avenue. 707.486.2662.

Yountville's market is suspended until 2010 due to construction. Unconfirmed farmers markets are in Monte Rio, Guerneville and Forestville. Send details on those markets to calendar@bohemian.com.


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