Plenty of fresh produce available

Food lovers across Sonoma County united at the Santa Rosa Farmers Market on Wednesday morning to gather fresh and local produce.  

The Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market was established in 1967 as one of the first in California to become a certified market.  The market prides itself on providing a showcase of the diversity of agriculture in Sonoma County. 

Pegi Ball, the manager of the Santa Rosa Farmers Market, told the STAR, “The SROC Farmers Market offered a great opportunity for students and folks of all ages to really see and taste the difference of fresh picked vegetables and fruit, and feel the passion our farmers put into producing their products.”

The market is California Certified, meaning all of the fresh herbs, plants, cut flowers, fruits, nuts vegetables, honey and eggs are all harvested in Sonoma County. The same goes for the meat sold at the market. This means the person who sells those fresh products is the farmer who produced them, their family or an employee. 

“I really like knowing all the food is locally grown,” said senior Amanda Arcila. “I feel like everything here is healthy, which is great because it can be hard to eat healthy in college.”

The market encourages shoppers to come and meet the farmers and ranchers who raise and grow the food they are eating.  The best way to know about the food is to ask the people who grow it.  The farmers market is open Wednesdays and Saturdays, rain or shine with different vendors each time.

On the Santa Rosa Farmers Market’s website, they post which vendors will attend each day they are open.  On Wednesday some of the vendors included Hectors Honey, Sebastopol Berry, Pure Puer Tea, Wine Country Chocolates and various others.  Vendors provide information about how they harvest their food. Farmers are not required to sell all organic products, but customers may ask them about their personal farming practices.  The market requires all farmers to conspicuously label produce that is grown from genetically modified seeds.

There are also vendors who sell products like bread and already prepared foods.  Again, they are not required to list their ingredients, but customers can always ask. 

“The Santa Rosa market is just a nice way to start out any Saturday, we are lucky to go to school in an area that has so much naturally grown produce,” said senior Christina Thomas.

The Wednesday market is a convenient time to shop.  There is free parking, shopping and a chance to talk to vendors.  

Shoppers can go to look, shop or for a morning and get a snack or meal.  The Wednesday and Saturday market usually have music as well, to contribute to the easy day of shopping, eating and looking around. 

“I love going to the Santa Rosa Market, there is so many different things to look at,” said junior Taylor Baloy. “Plus I love going around to all the different vendors and trying all of the different foods.”

A few vendors accept credit and debit cards, but cash is preferred for the market.  The Sonoma County Department of Health prohibits smoking and only service dogs are allowed to be on the market grounds.  

The market occasionally has special events that are usually annual. They frequently have shop and donate deals for local schools or charities.  Those interested can look at their website calendar to learn about events and when they are, or check out their Facebook page. To experience it go to the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts any Wednesday or Saturday morning starting at 8:30 a.m.