Russian River Valley:Grocery Shopping/General Provisions
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?
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.
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
9056 Graton Rd, Graton, CA
3633 Main St, Occidental, CA
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!
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.
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.
550 Gravenstein Hwy N, Sebastopol, CA 95472
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.
re: maria lorraine
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.)
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.