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Woodhouse Barbecue at St. Helena Farmers' Market

Woodhouse Barbecue is a new vendor at the St. Helena Farmers' Market but the Anderson family that runs Woodhouse Chocolates are a mainstay in St. Helena's business district.

Spring was definitely in the air for opening day of the 32nd season of the St. Helena Farmers’ Market on Friday, May 4. It was wonderful to see so many old friends and make new ones. Basket in tow, I stocked up on some old favorites like cherries from Gotelli Farms, the world’s best smoked salmon from Santa Rosa Seafood and hummus from The Hummus Guy.

Then it was time to check out some of this season’s new vendors.

Woodhouse Barbecue may be new to the Farmers’ Market, but the name Woodhouse is certainly familiar to those who live in St. Helena. John and Tracy Anderson say their Woodhouse Chocolates are superior because they use the finest ingredients. Now Pitmasters John Anderson and son-in-law, Vince Sanchez, are bringing that same passion to Woodhouse Barbecue. When I asked Christina, who is John’s daughter as well as Vince’s wife, what makes Woodhouse Barbecue so special, she was quick to credit the highest quality meats. They actually use Wagyu beef!

But the proof is in the eating. I bought a half pound of Snake Rivers Farms Prime Beef Brisket for my husband who is a tough critic. I was not even fully into the kitchen when my husband appeared with knife and fork in hand, drawn by the enticing aroma coming from my basket. He dove into the brisket several hours earlier than lunchtime and proclaimed it to be wonderful. High praise.

Since moving to California in the 1980s we have been hunting for a great bagel like the ones we grew up on in New York. So I was excited to try Toasted, another new Market vendor. Owner and pastry chef Ariella assured me that her bagels were the real deal. And they truly are. These are bagels with a crispy exterior, just the right amount of chewiness inside and wonderful flavor throughout. Another success.

I can hardly wait until next Friday to pick up more goodies.

We hope you’ll join in the fun at the Market every Friday morning from 7:30 until noon through Oct. 26. You can find the latest about our exciting lineup of kids’ programs, lectures and Chef’s Demos at sthelenafarmersmkt.org.

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Stacey Bressler is a local vintner, a member of the St. Helena Farmers’ Market Board of Directors and a past Citizen of the Year.

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