When I found out we were going to continue the Napa Farmers Market year-round I was really excited. I’m a jewelry vendor at the market, so now I would have a venue for sales during the winter and spring, before the regular summer market resumed. I would also get to see my favorite customers on a regular basis instead of waiting until April.
In the past, I would use the off-season to catch up on things at home and in my business. Come March, I would panic that the market was starting in a month. I would get my booth supplies organized and clean all of my display pieces and patch up my tent if needed. But now, with a year-round market, I need to keep everything organized and ready to go.
For years, the Napa community has asked us why we don’t have a year-round market. We finally decided to take the plunge. It’s a big decision because we have to have the staff and vendors who are willing to come in any weather. We are counting on our wonderful shoppers to show their support by continuing to come, rain or shine.
Recently, my booth was opposite the stall of our newest farmer, Tu Universo, and I was thrilled by the farm’s variety of produce. As we head into winter, our farmer vendors are in very good shape.
It’s great that we have a place where folks can gather on a Saturday morning and hang out for a few hours. Shoppers can grab a coffee and pastry, bagel, crepe or pupusa then sit and listen to music and visit before doing their shopping. With a year-round market, this community ritual can continue.
The farmers market just had its first Holiday Bazaar to kick off the year-round schedule. We have several new vendors. By staying open all year, the market has made gift giving easy for you. Think of the market as a great source of gifts from local artisans and specialty food vendors. It is so fun to give someone a bottle of Atlas Peak Olive Oil or bag of Annie the Baker cookies and announce that you got them directly from the maker.
Did you know that every item sold at the market has to be crafted or grown by that vendor? I will be purchasing many of my gifts in the next few weeks from my fellow makers.
I’m looking forward to seeing what winter vegetables our farmers will bring that I can use in my favorite winter dish of roasted vegetables. You know the recipe: you cut up a bunch of vegetables and toss them with olive oil and salt and pepper, throw them on a sheet pan and toss them in the oven for half an hour.
I make roasted vegetables at least twice a week in winter and at least once a week during the rest of the year. If you are out in the cold all day at the market and are too tired to cook, this is the perfect dinner. You can add chicken breasts or a pork tenderloin to the pan with your favorite seasonings and they cook in about the same time.
I like to use carrots with onions and garlic but you can add green beans, broccoli or turnips. I’m not much of a vegetable eater, but when you cook them this way, they become sweeter and yummier.
Donate to the Napa Farmers Market before Dec. 31 on www.napavalleygiveguide.org and 100 percent of your donation will go to the Market Match program. Market Match helps low-income families purchase nutritious produce at the Napa Farmers Market by doubling their CalFresh (food stamp) dollars.
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Napa Farmers Market kids activities
Bring your youngsters to the market’s Education Station on Saturday, Dec. 8, for Story Time at 10:30 a.m.
Easy roasted vegetables
1 pound small potatoes, in bite-size pieces
1 pound carrots, peeled and sliced
1 onion, peeled and cut in wedges
3 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large zip-top bag, toss all the ingredients until all the vegetables are coated with oil and seasonings. Place in a 9- by 13-inch baking pan. Roast until the vegetables are tender, 25 to 35 minutes. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes.