The Windsor Farmers Market, which opened for its 2014 season in April, has always been as much a community event as a destination for local produce and other farm and ranch products.
It has the air of a street fair, with a lot of crafts vendors, prepared foods and entertainment, and there is a special emphasis on kids and families.
"We asked Costeaux (Bakery, in Healdsburg) to bring their pizza crusts and sliced bread," Tina Castelli, the market's manager explains, adding that these are two items families with small children appreciate.
This coming Sunday, the market celebrates children, with "Kidz Day on the Farm."
In addition to the usual round-up of vendors, there will be cooking classes for kids, solar slot cars, a LEGO barn building contest, youth performances and much more.
People4Parks will host "Playdate in the Park" at the nearby Windsor Town Green Playground in conjunction with the market's celebration.
When it comes to produce, several familiar vendors attend, along with new vendors and a few who sell only at this market.
Ortiz Farm of Santa Rosa, with its abundant year-round harvest, is here, as is Hector Alvarez with his popular honey, beeswax candles and seasonal produce.
Min-Hee Hill Farms of Sebastopol attends and currently has beautiful greens, spring garlic, seedlings and more, including their delicious ground dried chiles. All are delicious but I'm particularly fond of the smoked serrano and the chipotle powder.
Blasi Ranch attends, too, but most of its delicious citrus was lost to the hard freeze this winter. Currently they have a little, along with walnuts. EGB Farms has peaches, apricots, nectarines and flavored almonds. Neufeld Farms, best known for its dried fruits, has fresh stone fruit, too. Gourmet Growers of Petaluma has mushrooms, Grandma's Pumpkin Patch is selling eggs, handmade aprons and pot holders, and Krout's Sunset Ranch currently has spring garlic and Romanesco squash, a delicious variety of summer squash. Reyes Farms has tomato starts and eggs, with more to come soon.
If you're looking for sweet, tender butter lettuce, you'll find it at Ridgeview Farm's stall, along with gorgeous bouquets and, often, French Breakfast radishes.
Cecchini and Cecchini, which has 400 acres near Antioch, attends with asparagus. They always have green, sometimes have purple and take special orders for white asparagus.
Happy Farm, operated by a Vietnamese family, should begin attending this Sunday or next with an array of Asian produce, including long beans, raspberries, flowers and, sometimes, peanuts.
A new produce vendor, Rambling Roots, is located not far from the market itself and currently has microgreen salad mixes. The farm is a new endeavor by three young families and it shares space, both on the farm itself and at the market, with Takenoko Farms, which has chicken, duck, goat and pork along with chicken and duck eggs. It is operated by Jeff Kent, a young man who graduated a few years ago from Windsor High School.
Another new meat vendor that will be joining the market soon is Inland Ranch Organics of Redwood Valley in Mendocino County. In business for 23 years, this is the first time they'll be attending a Sonoma County market. They have lamb, lamb sausage and eggs, all 100 percent organic.