While living in Windsor, California many years ago, the community started a weekly Farmers Market. Sunday mornings, rain or shine, my friend and I would meet on the Windsor Town Green. There were maybe around 4 or 5 growers selling their produce. The selection was limited, but we got something from each stand, as we were excited to finally get a market in town and wanted to do our part in helping it grow and succeed.
My family and I moved away a few years later, but every summer when I visit this area, I stroll through the Windsor market, and enjoy seeing how this once tiny, not well visited event has grown. I didn’t count the number of vendors, but there are a lot of them now! I still recognize some of the original sellers, like the “Cinnamon Roll Ladies”.
Before we had this weekly market, I would drive down Highway 101 into Santa Rosa and shop at one of the farmers markets there. My boys always came along. They loved chatting with the vendors, and often were allowed to “help” sell produce at some of the stands, while I went around and shopped. Before leaving, we always stopped by the Cinnamon Roll stand, which to this day is run by Nicky and her mom. I would buy one cinnamon roll or a muffin and ask the ladies to please cut it in half. My boys would watch them like hawks, making sure that both halves were equal.
Fast forward 15 years later, I walked up to the stand and the ladies took one look at me and asked “Are you the boys’ mother?” I am amazed they recognized me, especially without those boys! And just to make sure they still taste as good as back then, I bought a cinnamon roll. I was not disappointed !!
Summer was in full swing, and all the stands were overflowing with locally grown, freshly harvested fruits, vegetables, flowers and eggs. I spotted someone selling interesting furniture made entirely from wine barrels, including a bar table with wine corks under its glass top. I noticed beautiful ceramic dishes (I bought a heart shaped brown and blue bowl) finished with non-toxic glaze, giant decorative planters built from concrete and the napkin lady was there, where I procured a new supply of gorgeous clothes napkins (chicken pattern and one set with herbs and flowers). Her napkins are homemade, and come out of the dryer looking ironed. My kind of napkin!
The only thing that was missing was having my own kitchen nearby. The aromas of freshly baked bread, coffee drinks, sandwiches and kettle corn wafted through the air. Chatting with some of the growers was interesting, in that I like to hear how these amazing people do this. It’s hard work to just grow a few things, but planting an acre organically and dealing with the water shortage is incredible. As the growers were getting their displays ready, they made it look so easy. And beautiful.
In addition to getting such great produce, I also like supporting these hard-working individuals directly. Without a middle-man! So if you haven’t visited your local farmers market lately, grab a shopping bag go. You won’t be sorry! Most of the markets also offer tables and chairs, freshly prepared and ready-to-eat food, and most have local musical entertainment as well. Some even offer cooking demonstrations.