It’s full speed ahead at the Napa Farmers Market as we make our way into midsummer. Vendor stalls are overflowing with melons, corn, eggs and tomatoes. After moving and adjusting to our new location in south Napa, I think we are hitting our groove.
As a vendor, I found the move to our new home overwhelming. As hard as it was on our patrons, trust me, the move was much harder on us. Although we are no longer in the heart of downtown Napa, our new location has many advantages. There’s a ton of parking, plenty of space for new farmers and room for more specialty food and artisans, too. We are seeing more local shoppers than ever.
Napa Valley is home to a variety of talented craftspeople, from candle-makers and soap-makers to photographers, painters, jewelry artists and bakers. After you do your food and flower shopping, do you take the time to check out what the crafters have? At our market, the rules require that whatever we sell has to be made by us personally. You will get a unique item made with high-quality components. Most of us produce one-of-a-kind or limited-edition items. And all of us live and work locally.
I have had the privilege of being an artisan vendor at the farmers market since 2001. I started with a card table and an umbrella and have worked my way up to a canopy and three tables. In that time, my jewelry has evolved and changed. Sterling silver, pearls and gemstones are the tools of my trade now.
One thing hasn’t changed, though, and that is my customers. I have become friends with many wonderful men and women who depend on me for birthday, Christmas and teachers’ gifts. They do their fruit and vegetable shopping and maybe pick up some cookies from Annie the Baker. But after that, they hang out at my booth. Often I get to know their kids and grandkids. It almost feels like family, and in a way, it is.
All of us who are artisan vendors at the market can tell similar stories. It is an honor to be a part of such a talented group. We are an integral part of the Napa Farmers Market and hope you will take a minute to say hi and see what we have to offer.
On Tuesday, July 19, at the market: The Napa Farmers Market celebrates “Re-Think Your Drink” with local nonprofit organizations promoting healthy food and drink choices. Educational activities for kids start at 9 a.m. and include healthy food painting crafts (be sure to wear your painting clothes) and a special “Shop With the Chef Jr.” market tour lead by chef Elizabeth Skylar of Edible Education. The education schedule for this day is as follows:
9 to 10 a.m.: Kids’ painting crafts and many opportunities for youngsters to engage with participating nonprofit organizations
10 a.m.: Story Time
10:30 a.m.: Shop with the Chef Jr signups at the education booth
10:45 to 11:15 a.m.: Shop with the Chef Jr. market tour
11:15 a.m. Recap the tour and share your favorite tour tastes back at the education booth
Kids’ crafts continue until noon.
Next week at the market: On Tuesday, July 26, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., “Paint the Town Napa” comes to the Napa Farmers Market to lead our first art-education event for adults. Come paint a masterpiece for your home. Unleash the artist within and join in collaborating to re-create a vegetable-themed painting.
Drizzle this dressing on a salad of spinach, red onion, feta cheese and pecans. I get my strawberries at the Napa Farmers Market from Rodriguez Farms. This recipe is adapted from Cooking Light.
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
Combine all ingredients except the strawberries in a bowl and whisk well. Stir in the strawberries.