Downtown Farmers Market

Posted on August 31, 2011 by  
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Each year, Carol & I look forward the time when the Downtown Farmers Market opens for business.  It traditionally runs from late spring to early fall.

Before the market goes begins it’s long winter nap, we thought that it would be great to highlight the market again.  With only 5 weeks remaining, we encourage you to swing by and enjoy the ambiance and good food.

Recently, the Voice wrote about what the downtown market had to offer.  Below, is an slightly edited version of their article.  Enjoy …

Nothing is more relaxing to me than heading out to the farmers’ market. It delights the senses with vibrant colors, a bounty of new and familiar temptations for the palate, music floating on the breeze, the air tinged with the sweet smell of peaches, the ripe scent of tomatoes, and sharper scent of fresh herbs and potted plants. It’s at the market that I experienced nectaplums, jujubes, French apricots, and squash blossoms, amongst other rare hybrids and seasonal treasures.

If you haven’t attended Los Altos’ Farmers Market, on Thursday evenings, you are missing out. It’s run by the California Farmers’ Market Association, and features a mix of fresh produce and food booths so you can enjoy dinner at the market, said Ryan Slover from the Market Association. You can find this wonderful community event between Second & Fourth Streets in Downtown Los Altos every Thursday until September 29th, from 4:00 to 8:00 pm.

“It’s a great opportunity to pick up some local produce mid-week, enjoy dinner, and stroll with the family.” Slover says.

Peter Dietzel, another Market Association official, adds that they plan to have several tastings throughout the summer. “Everyone who has gala apples, for example, will enter and we’ll have a panel and judge who has the best.”

If you aren’t an aficionado of farmers’ markets, you can’t get fresher produce than the Los Altos market unless you grow it yourself. Coming from just four miles away, Hidden Villa brings meat, eggs, and a variety of vegetables to the market. They are an educational farm that has day camps for kids, and all of their animals are humanely-raised and slaughtered.

Most of the farmers come a greater distance to be at the market. Geri Prevedelli-Lathrop and her stepson drive from Watsonville each week. Their family-owned Prevedelli Farms goes back four generations. “While most people think strawberries when they think Watsonville, we have 32 different types of apples alone, plus boysenberries, ollalieberries and pears,” she said.

It’s all not eggs and berries at the market. There are baked goods, bread vendors, falafel stands, chicken, baked potatoes, corn on the cob, shaved ice and Afghan boulani. Local restaurants with stands include the Oaxacan Kitchen and Spot: A Pizza Place.

I am particularly smitten with a booth: The g:m:me bakery. It stands for “granny to mom to me,” representing the handing down of traditional Irish recipes like soda bread and scones. It’s run by Matt and Yvonne Klinksick, who lived in Limerick, Ireland until three years ago. They make lovely (and highly addictive) scones. After sampling the chocolate chip scone (which Matt declared is a popular seller), I tasted the seasonal strawberry and the apricot (which Matt also declared a popular seller). “My wife is really the baking genius. I hand out the samples!” Matt joked. But I walked away with multiple scones, so Matt isn’t too shabby on the sales side, either.

There are also plants and flowers at the market. Will Wiersig of Wiersig Garden Plants, who has been at the market since 2005, started his Los Altos-based nursery with his brother, bringing tea roses, herbs, peppers, eggplants and advice to the public. “This is really my only opportunity to interact with the customers, and we keep seeing friends, and people we know, and we just got hooked in and we keep coming back. I also learned a lot about food here, talking to the other farmers,” he said. “It’s amazing how little I knew until I started coming to the market. My friends think everything at the supermarket is organic. They have no idea!”

I was raised going to farmers’ markets in my hometown of Chico, a farming community, so I know how willing the farmers are to share knowledge along with their samples. Farmers’ markets are treasures, an extension of the community. A mid-week market that allows you to unwind after work, restock the crisper and not have to get up early is truly a joy. The market is an easy way to eat locally grown food, and be informed about what you eat. Get to know the vendors, bring your own bags or basket, and bring enough cash, preferably in small bills.

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