St. Helena Farmers' Market

Gavel's Farm from Winters grows tomatoes and cucumbers and sells them at the St. Helena Farmers' Market. It got its start in 1999 in the Ukraine when Sergii Gavelovskyi, pictured, started growing vegetables in a small greenhouse.

Of course, we all know the St. Helena Farmers’ Market is a Friday morning tradition; to get coffee and a pastry, meet up with friends and shop for some of the freshest produce, delicious prepared foods and unique gifts around. But why not buy these things anywhere, why here?

Although I have always enjoyed the market, I will admit I never really thought much about how these vendors came to be here or why or if they were special. Can’t anyone just set up a tent? Well, no!

To become an approved vendor at the market, a prospective seller must not only complete all the requirements of an application for our market but must be approved and maintain all necessary state, local and health department certificates and permits. All vendors must follow California Department of Food and Agriculture rules and safety is foremost, so all vendors must adhere to safety and insurance requirements. All that and be of local production – by locals for locals (and tourists)! Market Manager Ed Smith works hard to ensure only the approved products are sold, that all vendors comply and that we offer the widest variety of the freshest food you can get.

So stock up on lettuce, herbs and peppers (shishito and padrone fresh off the vine) from Triple T and know you are buying the highest-quality local produce. Pair it for dinner with a whole fresh chicken topped with microgreens. Or choose from the huge vegetable selection from the students at the CIA. Turnips, corn, radishes, squash, potatoes and beans – and dragons tongue coming at the end of June. Get your tomatoes at GavelFarm and leeks while they last at Tu Universo.

Make sure you stop by our Chef’s Demonstration this week at 10:30 a.m. and get some great tips from CIA’s “Farm to Table” students, Jasmuine Matthews and Morgan Jesse. Also check out our Market Classroom as Arwen Gallenkamp, market educator, will host “The Birds and The Bees” projects for our young shoppers at the Kids’ Booth from 9 to 10 a.m.

Enjoy sustainable, locally and happily!

The St. Helena Farmers’ Market is held in Crane Park every Friday from 7:30 a.m. to noon through Oct. 25. For the most up-to-date information, please visit us at sthelenafarmersmkt.org, sign up for the market’s weekly online newsletter or follow us on Facebook or Instagram.

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Ann Costelloe is a member of the St. Helena Farmers’ Market Board of Directors and an enthusiastic lover of all things St. Helena & Napa!