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Russian River Valley:Grocery Shopping/General Provisions

potterstreet Aug 22, 2008 08:48 AM

hi,

we're really excited to be renting a cabin with another couple in october in the russian river valley. we're all burnt out and need of some serious downtime so we plan to have lunch out and do some tasting and general meandering during the day, but we want to cook at night. forgive me if this has been addressed before, but we're looking for ideas on grocery stores, butchers, fish mongers, cheese shops, bakeries, and so on and would appreciate any input you lovely people might be able to give us.

we don't pick up the keys to our rental till three in the afternoon and will be spending the night before that in san francisco (going to A16 - yippee!). would picking up a bunch of stuff at the ferry building be a good idea or should we wait and see what the area has to offer?

also, how is the safeway in guerneville? i've never been in a safeway and am used to wonderful wonderful wegman's - can i expect something similar?

thanks everyone.

jane

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  1. d
    drgonzo RE: potterstreet Aug 22, 2008 01:50 PM

    I just spent the weekend in Guerneville and until a year ago lived nearby in Santa Rosa, so I thought I'd chime in on sources for provisions in the area. I didn't find much in Guerneville, but there's plenty on the way there.

    If you're driving from San Francisco and taking Hwy 116 from Cotati through Sebastopol to Guerneville, you'll bypass the bad traffic in Santa Rosa (and its a far more scenic drive). You'll pass by a Whole Foods in downtown Sebastopol, but I'd rather stop at Andy's Market in Hwy 116 a few miles past downtown Sebastopol. Andy's is a great spot to find local wines, a variety of produce, breads, a good cheese selection too. They do have meat, but its all packaged already--nothing like a meat department. You could make a detour from Andy's to Willowside Meats for a local butcher, though.

    Another small place on the way is a tiny market in Graton called Pinnacle Market. I've found them to be really pricey, but they can have local meats and sometimes fish from Bodega Bay on hand.

    In Guerneville near the Safeway is Food For Humans, a small natural foods store that had a decent selection of local breads, some good cheeses, and a small but solid selection of organic produce. No meat, fish, or alcohol.

    I found the Guerneville Safeway a bummer. Pretty much standard grocery store selections and not much in the way of local bounty. They were nearly entirely sold out of beer on Saturday evening by 8, and there wine selection was basically your normal grocery store brands. There may be more retailers in Guerneville for specialty items, but I didn't find them.

    If you find yourself in Occidental the Bohemian Market has grass-fed meats, some wine, and produce too.

    Have fun!

    -----
    Andy's Produce Markets
    1691 Gravenstein Hwy S, Sebastopol, CA 95472

    Willowside Meats & Sausage
    3421 Guerneville Rd, Santa Rosa, CA

    Food For Humans
    16385 1st St, Guerneville, CA

    Pinnacle Market
    9056 Graton Rd, Graton, CA

    Bohemian Market
    3633 Main St, Occidental, CA

    1. maria lorraine RE: potterstreet Aug 22, 2008 10:18 PM

      Where in Russian River Valley?

      I think I'd go to the northern end of RRV -- to Healdsburg -- and hit the Safeway, Big John, Oakville Grocery and Bovolo/Plaza Farms for gourmet groceries. Farmers' markets too.

      Just research Healdsburg. The town is dripping with charm. Go to Downtown Creamery you can buy pre-made galette dough, and some fresh ripe fruit at the farmer's market -- voila! summer dessert!

      1. k
        Kathleen M RE: potterstreet Aug 23, 2008 07:58 AM

        As you asked about Guerneville, I will guess that you are staying somewhere in this neighborhood. Dr. Gonzo is right, Andy's is a great store. You will find just about anything you need there. I'll add a recommendation for Sophie's Cellar, on Hwy 116 in Monte Rio, for wine, cheese, bread and other delicacies. They have Raymond's Bakery baquettes, the best I've found in the North Bay area. As I've written before, I just put myself in John's hands for wine choices, he's never steered me wrong and I've discovered some great bargain gems that way. Likewise, just ask David what cheeses are interesting. There's also usually prosciutto, maybe pate, and pies from Mom's, interesting crackers, chocolate, etc. It's a fun stop. Also second Bohemian Market and Food for Humans for basic provisions.

        1. Robert Lauriston RE: potterstreet Aug 23, 2008 09:44 AM

          Food for Humans has some decent stuff, but best to bring your groceries with you.

          1. n
            Nancy Berry RE: potterstreet Aug 23, 2008 10:07 AM

            Pacific Markets is a small local chain of 3 quality markets. There's one in Santa Rosa, one in Sebastopol (it was Fiesta Market, but when I just googled it, Pacific Market came up in the results) and one in Rohnert Park. I've only been in the one in Sebastopol -- it was an excellent market.

            -----
            Fiesta Market
            550 Gravenstein Hwy N, Sebastopol, CA 95472

            5 Replies
            1. re: Nancy Berry
              potterstreet RE: Nancy Berry Aug 24, 2008 06:09 AM

              thanks folks. we're actually staying in cazadero, which is just west of the russian river, i guess. anyway, thanks a bunch for your ideas. this cabin is fully outfitted so i am looking forward to some cooking!

              jane

              1. re: potterstreet
                maria lorraine RE: potterstreet Aug 24, 2008 11:23 AM

                If you're coming to Cazadero from the south via Highway 101 and then 116, I'd stock up in the city of Sebastopol, at the Safeway, Whole Foods, Fiesta Market, Andy's Produce, etc.

                You could also drive slightly more north on 101 to Santa Rosa, which has a wealth of good grocery stores -- Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Safeway, and ethnic grocery stores. If coming from the north, Healdsburg is your best bet (take Westside Rd to Wohler to 116/River Rd to reach Cazadero).

                Lots of farmstands and little grocery stores in the little towns that wind around the Russian River in west Sonoma County. Cazadero is north of the Russian River and a bit isolated in terms of supplies. Probably best to stock up at some of the bigger stores in Sebastopol or Healdsburg or Santa Rosa. Very pretty around there -- deeply forested, good hikes and lots of streams/small rivers. For some good nearby explorations, head to the ocean, down to Occidental and Freestone, and the wineries for winetasting. Have fun and good luck.

                1. re: maria lorraine
                  wearybashful RE: maria lorraine Aug 28, 2008 09:31 AM

                  maria, I never have to go to Safeway in Santa Rosa, unless I'm desperate for something after 9 pm. We've got G&G, Lola's, Pacific, Oliver's, Skyhawk, and Community Market.

                  I especially love G&G and Lola's. They're not just Chinese and Mexican, respectively, they have almost anything a chain supermarket would have. I'm free from Safeway! Free at last! (Free of Raley's too.)

                  1. re: wearybashful
                    maria lorraine RE: wearybashful Aug 28, 2008 12:25 PM

                    Yes, certainly those other stores are better options, but when I wrote I was mindful of the visitor's lack of knowledge of the area, and suggested stores that were easily accessible and that might not require too much a detour off the highway. G&G on College migh be a good option. I understand the "Free at Last!" comment -- especially today of all days.

                2. re: potterstreet
                  Robert Lauriston RE: potterstreet Aug 24, 2008 11:33 AM

                  There's a good bakery-cafe in Cazadero, Raymond's. It's worth the drive from Guerneville.

                  -----
                  Raymond's Bakery
                  5400 Cazadero Hwy, Cazadero, CA

              2. p
                Pammel RE: potterstreet Aug 27, 2008 03:33 PM

                You did not indicate when you will be driving north from San Francisco. If you are doing so on either Thursday morning or Sunday morning, I would suggest you stop off at the Marin Farmer's Market at the Civic Center. A great market; imo the best in the bay area. Andy's staff are nice people but to be honest the quality of produce, etc. is really hit or miss. Whole Foods or Pacific Market in Sebastopol is much more consistent although probably higher priced. I also think that Big John's in Healdsburg is very good source of fresh produce, seafood and meat.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Pammel
                  Robert Lauriston RE: Pammel Aug 28, 2008 12:05 PM

                  Second on that, the Marin Civic Center farmers' markets are among the best in the area, right up there with Berkeley and SF Ferry Paza. You'll find a top-quality selection of what's in season locally. Here are some past reports on people's favorites there etc.:

                  http://chowhound.chow.com/search?sear...

                2. wolfe RE: potterstreet Aug 27, 2008 03:56 PM

                  You may decide to wing it but if you want to, sort of, preplan menus and have a shopping list here is a seasonal guide to Bay Area produce. It may help as frequently visitors are struck dumb by the plethora and variety of fruits and vegetables available. For instance I've "lost" friends in the fruit section at Berkeley Bowl.
                  http://www.omorganics.org/page.php?pa...

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: wolfe
                    potterstreet RE: wolfe Aug 28, 2008 09:04 AM

                    thanks all. we are driving north on sunday morning so pammel's suggestion for us to check out the marin farmer's market is very good! also, loved the seasonal guide to bay area produce.

                    i have to say - i absolutely love the whole food culture in the bay area. we have a strong food culture here in the philly area where i live, but yours is different and exciting for me! i can't wait to come. thanks again everyone.

                    1. re: potterstreet
                      wearybashful RE: potterstreet Aug 28, 2008 09:25 AM

                      The Sebastopol Farmer's Market is on Sunday afternoon, right downtown, if you take 116.
                      Sebastopol Farmer's Market
                      Downtown Plaza @ McKinley Street Sebastopol, CA Sundays - 10:00 AM - 1:30 PM; April through December

                      1. re: wearybashful
                        Nancy C RE: wearybashful Aug 28, 2008 05:49 PM

                        Don't know how far into the non-summer they are open, but Gold Coast Bakery at Duncan's Mills has really great pastry in the early AM. Get there early. Good barista drinks, too. If you want a nice lunch or dinner out, consider Cape Fear Cafe, across the road. We just spent a month in Monte Rio - Safeway is perfectly fine, but with so many farm options, Andy's, Whole Foods, etc., take time to find the jewels out there. Pic up a "Farm Trails" directory to see what's open when you'll be up this way. Enjoy!

                        1. re: Nancy C
                          wolfe RE: Nancy C Aug 28, 2008 06:05 PM

                          For one of those lunches how about the Russian River Pub. Looked like fun on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. 14 miles on back country roads on my Google map.
                          http://www.russianriverpub.com/

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