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Jul 19, 2012 08:21 PM

Sonoma Farmer's Markets and Local Restaurants serving Seasonal Fare

Hi All! Oldtime chowhounder who has been outside of CA for a while here. I'm going to Sonoma for the first time and I've been perusing the Sonoma posts, and am a bit overwhelmed by all the general and specific inquiries. Would love some help being pointed in the right direction. We'll be leaving the bay area on Saturday, July 28th after 1 p.m., and will be leaving before noon on Wednesday, the 1st of August. We'll be staying in Kenwood. What I'm looking for is:

1. Not-to-miss farmer's markets or farmstands. I was sorry to learn that we'll miss both the Saturday and Wednesday Healdsburg markets. Any other recommendations on good farmer's markets, or local grocers for that matter, especially Sun, Mon, Tue markets, where we can stop to pick up some seasonal treats? We have a kitchen and plan to cook.

2. Good Sonoma-area restaurants that aren't high end. This is not the trip to try the French Laundry. We'd love some local places that cook seasonal produce and regional fare, that aren't too pricey in the Wine Country? Is that an impossibility?

Thanks for reference to threads I might have missed, or any suggestions you can offer!

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  1. Welcome!

    Farmers Markets happening during your visit:
    My favorites are Sebastopol on Sundays and Sonoma on Tuesday evening.

    If you don't want to drive to Sebastopol from Kenwood, there is a small market on Sundays at Jack London Village on Arnold Drive in Glen Ellen that's hit or miss. They'll have staples that you can supplement at Glen Ellen Village Market. GE Village Market is well provisioned for tourists and weekend guests and is just up Arnold Drive toward Highway 12.

    Also, Oak Hill Farm on Highway 12 in Glen Ellen is open 10-6 Wednesday-Sunday - very good produce, though selection may be low by Sunday afternoon. Beautiful flowers!

    El Molino Central on 12 in Boyes Hot Springs has a summer menu worth checking out - the chile rellano is my current fav.

    While Vineyards Inn on 12 in Kenwood doesn't have separate easonal menu, they do have seasonal specials. They grow much of their own produce organically and, when the season heats up, have a farm stand near their bar. Watch for the sandwich board outside the restaurant.

    If you're out for a picnic, be sure to visit Quarryhill Botanical Garden just west of the Highway 12 and Arnold Drive traffic light -

    Enjoy your visit and bring a variety of layers. It may be 50 degrees, windy and foggy in the evening after a 100 degree day. Whew!

    3 Replies
    1. re: Columba

      Forgot to mention -

      El Molino Central has a very good cold case with sauces, tamales, meals and prepared foods. The pumpkin seed sauce is a favorite, as are the fresh corn tortillas - $3.50 dozen - usually found warm in plain brown wrapper on the high counter across from front door.

      Oh, the rotisserie chicken at Cafe Citti is better than that at GE Village Market, if you get it when they open at 11 AM. Don't know about later in the day.

      1. re: Columba

        Vineyards Inn indoor farm stand should be open when you arrive tomorrow. Yesterday they had two or three types of cucumbers, a couple types of squash and at least 3 varieties of tomatoes. Tomatoes were $4 #, other produce was $2 #.

        Oakhill had potatoes, squash, carrots, broccoli & cauliflower, onions & leeks, peppers (padron), berries - strawberry and raspberry, lettuce, parsley & tarragon, cucumbers, tomatoes, greens, celery and some other odds & ends I've forgotten.

        Eat well!

        1. re: Columba

          Second on Vineyards Inn. Totally casual and unpretentious but solid cooking with great ingredients. The kitchen adapts to what's coming in daily so the menu descriptions are sometimes out of sync.

        2. Ditto to Columba's idea for Cafe Citti, check it out for lunch, dinner or take-out chicken. A true local treasure right on Hwy 12. I love their homemade biscottis. In Glen Ellen is The Fig Cafe, sister restaurant to Girl and the Fig. They used to not be open for lunch weekdays, but check their site that may have changed. The place next to Fig Cafe, Glen Ellen Oyster Bar has a martini & oyster thing going on but Fig will be better for Sonoma-local fare. I also love La Salette tucked in a courtyard in Sonoma. Portugese Fare:

          1. The Petaluma farmers market starts at 2pm on Saturdays in Walnut Park. Petaluma is 40 miles from San Francisco, so you can make it there easily. If you need a nosh, check out Rosso Pizzeria and Mozzarella Bar across the street in Theater Square for Cal-Italian fare honoring local farms. Very reasonably priced.

            Besides Sebastopol and Glen Ellen, the Town of Windsor has a nice farmers market in the Town Green on Sunday mornings opening at 10am.

            1. Thanks for the tips, everyone! We had dinner last night at the Vineyards Inn . . . had a nice glass of wine and a delicious grilled artichoke. We stopped at a roadside stand and got some delicious strawberries on the way into Kenwood, and also stopped at the Glen Ellen Village Market for provisions. Today we are doing a "bike and sip" bike ride in Calistoga :-) I'll keep you posted!