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Jun 16, 2009 12:55 PM

Saturday downtown Napa Farmers Market - smoked olive oil

The market has moved from the Copia parking lot to the parking lot of the Wine Train.

This is a nicer location, but it seems a shame they could not have put this actually at Oxbow instead of a block away.

The one thing I like about this market is it is the only market besides Ferry Plaza that has Devoto, the vendor with the wonderful heirloom apples.

I went to the Saturday market last year on the last day during the last half hour. I didn't think it was that great, but given the last minute timing, I was looking forward to seeing what it was like prime time.

Hmmmm ... not a whole lot better. It is surprising because one would assume that Napa would have a spectacular farmers market.

First of all there are too many craft stands ... at least eight. That is why flea markets, not farmers markets exist. Seriously, when I'm looking for inexpensive earrings, my first thought isn't a farmers market.

Second there are too many prepared food booths and they are featured. If you walk in either from the street or parking lot, that is the first aisle ... crafts and prepared food.

The outside aisle has the farm stands ... with more prepared food. They put one poor berrry/bean vendor waaaay off in a corner behind the music. They were not getting much busisness though they had some nice beans. Didn't try the berries.

Then there is too much of the same stuff, this week it was mainly stone fruit and strawberres. I could only find one stand selling lettuce, Big Ranch Farms. The Patch of Sonoma had some onions and greens such as chard.

The farmers listed on the whiteboard were Bera, Berret, Devoto, Gutelli, Hudson, J&J, Marshall's honey, Moon/Stars, Morning Sun, Rodrigues, Neighborhood Patch, Twin Peaks.

I really don't think I saw all of those farmers on the list.

For prepared food there was Annie (jam, I belive), Atlas Peak, The Smoked Olive, Biscotti di Bianchi, Drink the Leaf Tea, Tillerman Tea, Ritual Coffee, Mi Fiesta, NV dog food, Sampas Brazilian cheese bread, Mi Fiesta tamales, Model Bakery, Alexis Baking company. Sweetie PIe ... maybe a few more

The one I was happy to see was The Smoked Olive which sells wood-smoked olive oils

I've seen the sign for them at some store in wine country that is never open when I am driving by. These are really tasty. The price was a little off-putting, but I'm thinking this would be a really nice addition to a lot of dishes to give them a smoked quality.

It is kind of fun to be next to the wine train. There are a lot of tables to sit and enjoy the many, many prepared goods. Lots of parking is available.

Saturday Napa Downtown Farmers Market
1275 McKinstry St, Napa, CA

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  1. We like the new location, as well. However, I very much agree that there are too many crafts, prepared foods, and Oxbow/Napa stores. We have found a few nice produce vendors but the selection is very limited and they're all pushed to the back of the market. We never know what we're going to find and ultimately come home with - despite knowing what should be there and is in season.

    It's still a nice way to spend our Saturday mornings though. We've also been successful in buying herbs and veggies for our garden. Her name escapes me but she has a wonderful selection every week.

    2 Replies
    1. re: DailyDessert

      I think you are talking about beautiful Rose from Morningsun Herb Farm?

      1. re: Junie D

        They seem to be there most every week. I've gotten some great seedlings from her as well.

        I agree about wishing there were more fruit and veggie basics and less crafts . . . but I do love the Afghani boulani stand:-)

    2. Perhaps it is not that they have too many crafts stands, but too little produce. I would hope the Napa area is supportive of their local artists. How many weekly or monthly art (or art and craft shows) can you name? As artists, we are desperately trying to stay afloat and reach the public. The economy has created a need for us to move to northern California. We used to be in the weekly Santa Barbara Art and Craft Show on the Beach. While we did not make enough to brag about, we did manage to survive. Here we are fighting to find any venues possible to show our artwork. Spending the hours and/or days required to create artwork, driving hours to your venue, hours setting up your display or taking it back down, hoping to sell enough to cover your expenses and give you a small profit if you are lucky... this takes determination and lots of will power. But first and foremost, we are artists. Build an art and/or craft show, and we... along with many other artists, will come. Until then, I am sure the artists and craftspeople attending the Napa Farmer's Market are very grateful to be there, and thankful you take the time to look at their ware. And hopefully, you will find something to compliment your home or lifestyle!

      1 Reply
      1. re: rjshaw

        Times are tough and I sympathize with everyone trying to scrape by. However, consider this. As more and more crafts vendors try to piggyback onto farmers markets, it destroys the purpose of the market and people stop coming which does no one any good. I won't be back to the Napa Farmers market since it doesn't provide enough of what it advertises .. farmers.

        Anyway this is off-topic for this board. I created a post on the Not About Food Board about this for anyone who wants to discuss it further.

        Arts and crafts vendors at farmers markets

      2. About Rodriques Farms, my husband is a non-food vendor there and is often placed next to the Rodrigues stall. Last weekend the worker gave my husband a flat of strawberries for free. I can comment on the fantastic quality of their strawberries. They are out of the central valley and drive a LONG while to get to Napa. If you can stag their berries, you should. They are small, ripe, and bright red througout. They were delicious!


        1 Reply
        1. re: Jeni Bean

          They are a nice family farm that has also sold at Ferry Plaza for as long as I can remember. I've watched the kids grow from toddlers to adults. They have nice raspberries too and are a good source for large strawberries for stems.

        2. I have to defend the Napa Farmers' Market, but just a little. It is definitely NOT a "destination" market like the Ferry Bldg., Alemany, or San Rafael Civic Center. I would not suggest anyone make a special trip, and if you did then I understand your disappointment. But it is a nice market for basic shopping, and is MUCH better on Tuesday than Saturday.

          Some favorites:
          Bera for stone fruit of every sort. Michele is serious and knowledgeable about her fruit. She also grows a summer acorn squash that I've never seen anywhere else.

          Morningsun Herb Farm is a major asset to the market. Always reasonably priced 4" pots of herbs, perenials, and vegetable seedlings.

          Big Ranch Farms is reliable for a variety of vegetables and sunflowers all summer.

          Haven't seen Leesa Jackson there this year but she has unusual stuff including black currant plants.

          Too many crafts? Well, I'd say there are too many booths of BAD crafts. Great stuff includes Napa Valley Au Naturel's body scrubs, perfumes, and so on. But there is some awful crochet and hideous grape-theme pottery.

          Not sure why the baked goods split from one FM run table to individual bakeries. Anyone know? Unfortunately it gives the impression of more prepared food. There's also the cookie baker with the Steelers shade (??).

          Won't change your life, but I live in Napa and spend nice mornings there, following it up with trips to Model Bakery and Fatted Calf.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Junie D

            Cool. Thanks for the tips. Yes, I've long read that the Tuesday market is beter. Didn't make a special trip, but happened to be in the area at the time. Well, actually I would make a special trip for Devoto as that is one of the few vendors that I go to Ferry Plaza for. It was nice to find them in a location that is not such a parking and crowd hassle.