It’s hard for me to believe but we’re approaching the midway point in the Napa Farmers Market season already. Time flies when you’re having a good time.
Happy vendors and customers make a successful farmers’ market. Getting to this point can be challenging. You can’t just “build it and they will come.” Market organizers must be able to persuade vendors that there will be customers, and customers must be convinced that vendors will have what they want to purchase.
The Tuesday market continues to be a challenge as we are not attracting as many customers as we would like. As a result, we have fewer vendors. Saturday is just the opposite. Ever since the Saturday market opened this year, we have drawn a steady stream of customers so we have very happy vendors.
We’ve been able to add to the variety of farmers at the market this year. Joining us recently is Farmer Shep from Winters, with pastured eggs, lamb and pork grown in cooperation with organic farmers in Yolo and Solano Counties. A4 Farms, from Fulton in Sonoma County, is now offering whole chickens, fresh and frozen, filling another niche.
G&S Farms from Brentwood in Contra Costa County is bringing tremendous sweet corn. For me, there is nothing like sweet corn from Brentwood. And G&S will be bringing it to the market through November. We’re still looking for an avocado grower, so there’s still at least one more niche to fill.
One of the things missing from the market this year is live music. Midway through last year’s season, we were contacted by ASCAP (American Society of Composers and Producers) and informed that we needed an annual license from ASCAP to have musicians at the market as ASCAP owns the rights to much of the music. The cost was estimated to be over $3,200, not an expense the market could afford. We haven’t given up on having music at the market and are hoping that a sponsor will emerge.
One of the market’s goals this year is to be greener and minimize our environmental impact. We adopted an environmental policy and posted it on our website. One of our green-market goals was to provide illustrated signage for our waste, recycling and composting cans. We have done this thanks to Napa Waste and Recycling. This was the easy part. The hard part is getting people to put the right thing in the right can.
Another green-market goal was to eliminate the sale of water and juices in plastic bottles. This was easily accomplished, but we wanted to go further and have a water-bottle refill station at the information booth. It took a lot of searching, but the market is now the proud owner of a slightly used single-spigot water-bottle refill machine. Please stop by the information booth and fill up next time you’re at the market.
Charred Green Beans
Recently, I attended a potluck dinner put on by the Napa Farmers Guild. Someone brought a simple preparation of fresh green beans cooked over a hot fire. Once I tried grilled green beans, I was hooked. I don’t know who made them that night so here’s my version.
1 pound fresh green beans, ends trimmed
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon mild chile powder
Coarse sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
Combine the first 4 ingredients in a bowl and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes before cooking. Preheat a gas grill to high or prepare a hot charcoal fire.
Lightly oil a grill pan and place it over the fire. Place the green bean mixture on the grill pan and cook, shaking the pan until the beans are slightly charred. Remove the pan from the fire and add sea salt and black pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
Chef demo: A chef from The Forge restaurant will demonstrate a recipe for shishito peppers with coriander-lime vinaigrette and a recipe for cast-iron roasted sweet corn with seasoned butter and Parmesan at the Napa Farmers Market on Saturday, July 29, at 11 a.m. The demonstration is free and recipes will be provided.