Petaluma farmers market in full summer swing

Before market-goers can even see it, Petaluma’s Wednesday night Farmers Market’s sounds of music, laughter and the head-turning smell of freshly cooked barbeque reel in Sonoma County residents and visitors alike. Located at 320 N. McDowell Blvd, the weekly Farmers Market in Petaluma is located right next to the city’s Petaluma Square. 

As residents and visitors flock to the market, they are immediately greeted with multiple booths selling heaps of fresh produce. Among some of the most notable booths are those with season ripe tomatoes and strawberries that cover the tables in their entirety. But it does not stop there, the market also hosts a large variety of products and other produce to stock any kitchen. 

While one booth showcases piles of different types of day-fresh bread, market-goers also find that two other booths have different types of dried and cooked meats. The Market boasts plenty of sweet temptations, from various sweet treats alike, a nearby candy shop and assorted flavors of kettle corn from Lucky Pop kettle corn, too.

Market Organizer Kelly Smith shares that the strawberry farmer alone spent the entire day prior picking everything and driving from Watsonville, then starting off his ensuing Wednesday morning at the Farmers Market in Santa Rosa; ultimately finishing his day at the Petaluma Farmers Market thereafter. While in a perpetual state of “go go go”, still, on approach, he is smiling from cheek to cheek and extremely friendly to everyone around his booth.

“The connection to your food source is just too cool, and that is what we are all about,” says Smith.

Compared to many of the local grocery stores, the prices the market offers for fruits and vegetables are extremely similar, but the food is recognizably far fresher. Markets like these are also well suited to give farmers a chance to be social and share the fruits of their labor, providing our local farmers with a rare chance to interact with the people actually eating their food and sharing their stories. The community warmth it provides lingers welcomingly through the atmosphere of the entire market.

Although smaller than the other two Petaluma markets, McDowell’s market still has many of the same popular booths. For those looking to utilize the fresh goods from the market, but are unable to make it to the morning market on Tuesdays, it is definitely worthy of consideration. 

For those looking for a good meal, the scenic, bustling market still has it covered, of course. From traditional concession foods like corn dogs and hot dogs, to giant plates of traditional Mexican barbecue in form of Petaluma’s own “What a Chicken” pollo asado, the meal food is as diverse and plentiful as the fruits and produce alike. For those in search of less meat, worry not, the market has that covered too. 

“Reggae Rasta” has plenty of delicious vegetarian options to try, with homemade veggie patties, plantains, Jamaican style beans, rice and more. It also withholds plenty of options for the carnivores out there, highlighted by their Jamaican Jerk chicken, home style chicken and curry chicken. “Reggae Rasta” was even recently recognized in the Press Democrat; when describing their jerk chicken, Sonoma County’s largest media company says, “marinated in flavorful spices, this dish will make you think you have escaped temporarily to the Western Caribean.”

Upon being asked about the types of people that she sees down at the market, Kelly Smith says, “this is like a date night area, we see people coming from the nearby theater and restaurants, couples coming from work, and parents bring their kids.” The market is simply a constant bustle of people talking, laughing, and enjoying time with each other. 

Tarian, the owner of “Reggae Rasta,” for example, runs her truck with her family and sees help from both her mother and her kids. In response to the question of how she feels about the market, Tarian says, “I find the farmers market to be for family, I bring my son here every week. It is like a family event.” 

Although it is just a few blocks away from where the other Petaluma markets are normally held, the McDowell Blvd Wednesday night Farmers market is thoroughly worth the visit. As new sitting furniture is added to the square, it provides customers with more places to sit down, listen to live music, and actually enjoy some of the foods found at the market to an even easier degree. Plenty of unique and aesthetically pleasing booths for browsing and shopping, groceries for home and entertainment for the whole family also highlight the Wednesday night market.