The Napa Farmers Market has been a reliable source of local, sustainably grown produce for 30 years. The market is WIC-certified and pressing forward with its application to, once again, accept and match CalFresh /EBT/ Food Stamps at the market.

We are an incubator for small local businesses, allowing them to get their name out into the community, develop a following and earn capital to take their products to the next level. We are a place for nonprofit organizations to find volunteers, raise funds and promote their services.

We also host a variety of educational programs for kids and adults. And every week at the market, families seeking new creatures to love can meet their next four-legged fur baby to adopt into a forever home.

While you may not share the opinions voiced in the market’s Free Speech Area, the space is open to those looking to educate shoppers on upcoming ballot initiatives, City Council votes and other local issues. In that designated area, campaigning local representatives have a chance to press the flesh and discuss their platforms face to face with constituents.

The community benefits from the market in another way as well. Every Tuesday, the nonprofit organization The Table collects produce donations at the market to use in the meals it provides daily for hungry locals at Napa’s First Presbyterian Church.

Now, following on The Table’s example, Napa Valley CanDo is collecting produce at the market every Saturday for delivery to the Napa Food Bank.

With these two organizations working to reduce hunger, the Napa Farmers Market board began to brainstorm ways to involve you: the community. We just might have found it.

Next time you are at the Napa Farmers Market, keep your eyes peeled for our new donation booth. It’s the one with the big banner inviting you to “Buy a Little Extra for Napa’s Hungry.” Easy, no? Whatever you are buying for yourself that day—whether it’s carrots, oranges, beets, kale, melons or squash—consider buying an extra bag and leaving it behind in the collection bins at the donation booth.

At the end of each market, these bins will be consolidated with produce donated by the farmers and sent directly to organizations that serve locals.

Hunger is a silent problem. In 2014, the California Food Policy Advocates estimated that eight percent of the Napa community was living in poverty.

While we may not be able to reach every single person in need, with the help of organizations like The Table, Napa Valley CanDo, Community Action Napa Valley and generous shoppers like you, we can certainly make a big difference in the health and well-being of our community.

I hope you will join the Napa Farmers Market in helping to reduce hunger locally and increase access to fresh, wholesome produce.

What’s Up at the Market: It’s National Dance Day on Saturday, July 30. Join us for dance demonstrations on the hour and dance-step instruction on the half-hour, beginning at 9 a.m.

The Napa Farmers Market takes place on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., May through October, in the parking lot of the South Napa Century Center, 195 Gasser Drive, Napa. The third Tuesday of every month is Seniors Day at the market, with some vendors offering discounts to shoppers 65 and older. Ask about participating vendors at the information booth. For more market information and a schedule of upcoming events, visit or visit the market on Facebook.

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Pasta with Lamb, Spinach and Basil

Olive oil Red garlic to taste, chopped 1 pound ground lamb 2 cups spinach leaves 1/2 cup basil leaves Salt and pepper 1 pound Pasta Poetry Merlot Noodles Achadinha Cheese Company Capricious, grated

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.

Film the bottom of a skillet with olive oil, then add the garlic and sauté over medium heat until soft and translucent. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the lamb. Cook until browned, then drain off excess fat and liquid. Add the spinach and basil and season with salt and pepper. Stir, reduce heat to low and cover. Remove from the heat when the spinach starts to wilt, about 3 minutes.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions, about 1 minute. Set aside about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, then drain.

Place the pasta in a large bowl. Add the sauce and toss with tongs. Add enough of the reserved cooking liquid to make the pasta moist. Sprinkle with cheese and toss again. Serve immediately.

Serves 4 to 6.

Charlotte Billings is the manager of the Napa Farmers Market.