The first 100 people to arrive at Saturday’s season opening of the Napa farmers market will get a goodie bag filled with gifts.
The market will be in a slightly new location, moving from the north to the south parking lot at 500 First St., formerly known as Copia. Hours are 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Tuesdays through October.
Shoppers can expect to see produce from approximately 30 regional farms, as well as specialty foods and crafts. In addition, 19 local nonprofits, ranging from Cultural Homestay International to the Napa County Ag Department, have signed up to have information stands. The market also includes live entertainment, food demonstrations and a story time for children, provided by Community Resources.
Layland said that many of the same farmers are returning this year, including Aztec Dahlias, Bera Ranch, Big Ranch Farms, Devoto Gardens, Gauchito Hill Farm, J & M Ibarra Farm, Long Meadow Ranch, Morningsun Herb Farm, Once Upon a Farm, Taramasso Ranch, Tenbrink Farms and the Patch.
“Always popular at the market are the food vendors,” he said. Among those returning are ABC Bakery, Anne the Baker, Atlas Peak Olive Oil, Hue de Laroque Farm, Mi Fiesta Catering Co., Flour Chylde Bakery, Juju’s Mediterranean Kitchen, The Model Bakery, Pasta Poetry, Sweetie Pies Bakery and The Hummus Guy.
New this year are Oasis Date Gardens, Nature’s Candy Company selling almond products, Hornbrook Heritage Hogs, Osprey Seafood Market and Paige’s Pickles.
“I just hope that my big and little cookie monsters will find my stand,” said Annie Baker, who sells her popular cookies, created from a secret recipe and method “for people who like cookie dough more than cookies.”
In past years, the Farmers Market has taken place in the north parking lot next to the Oxbow Public Market and the former Copia building that housed the American Center for Food, Wine and the Arts.
David Layland, president of the market’s board of directors, said the move across the street was made at the request of ACA Financial Guaranty Corporation, which insured the bonds that funded the now-bankrupt Copia.
“The market had to relocate from the north parking lot to the south parking lot to accommodate the employee parking needs of ACA’s new tenants, BottleRock and Naked Wines,” Layland said.
“I spent some time at the south lot yesterday and believe we’ll have an even better market in 2014 because of having shorter rather than longer rows, being able to use the shaded area between the parking lot and the fence on the east and being able to use part of the south lot for market parking. I think this will end up being a win-win situation for both ACA and the market,” he said.
The market uses the parking lots “essentially as ACA’s guests,” he said.
The Napa Farmers Market accepts WIC, CalFresh food stamps through electronic benefits transfer and the Senior Nutrition Program.
Also opening this week are the farmers markets in St. Helena and Calistoga. The St. Helena market takes place on Fridays, from 7:30 a.m. to noon, Crane Park, St. Helena. In Calistoga, the market opens Saturday and will continue year-round, from 8:30 a.m. to noon in the Sharpesteen Museum Plaza on Washington Street.