One of our tiniest seasonal farmers markets, the one in Bodega Bay, opened for its second season on May 27. The market is a delightful community affair, with a leisurely pace in a beautiful setting. When I arrived last Sunday at 10 a.m., the field where the market takes place was cloaked in fog and bathed by a brisk breeze, one that chilled shoppers and vendors but did not threaten stall tents. By the time I left an hour later, the wind had ceased and the fog had receded to reveal a big blue sky.
Fourteen vendors are arranged in a circle in a protected area of the field adjacent to the Bodega Bay Community Association, which hosts the market. Raymond's Bakery and the Northwest Catering Company's large tent and grill stand across from each other, sentinels at the entrance.
Raymond's Bakery of Cazadero, one of two artisan bakers at the market, has delicious hearth breads, breakfast pastries, cookies and more. The selection changes each week and no matter what you choose, you'll be pleased.
Casa La Bella Bakery of Monte Rio has an ever-changing selection, as well, and although there is some overlap with Raymond's there is plenty of diversity between the two. Casa La Bella has ethereal scones, baguettes studded with a delicious array of seeds, Italian-style raisin bread and rustic hearth loaves, all delicious.
There are two cheese vendors here, too. At one, a precise young gentleman offered a guided tasting of four Achadinh Cheese Company cheeses, including Capricious and Broncha, the Petaluma company's two best-known goat cheeses, along with very good feta and fresh cheese curds. These premium cheeses are not easy to find and their appearance at this market makes it a great destination for anyone in west county.
Dacheva Son's Cheese Company, also located in Petaluma, is here, too, with one of the richest mozzarellas you'll ever taste. This sweet little company also has asiago, ricotta and a semi-hard grating cheese called Chihuahua, both plain and seasoned. The company makes other specialty cheeses, too.
Two meat vendors offer a great range of locally raised, pastured and grass-fed poultry and meats.
Salmon Creek's adorable Jocelyn Brabyn, daughter of John and Lesley Brabyn, presided over her stall with a big smile despite shivering in the cold when the market first opened. She had duck eggs, whole ducks, duck liver, duck gizzards and highly-prized duck fat, bone-in goat stew meat, duck merguez sausage and several cuts of dry-aged beef, including New York steak, bone-in ribeye, filet mignon, chuck roast, top sirloin and ground beef, all pasture-raised just a couple of miles east of the market.
Freestone Ranch, also quite close to the market, has pastured hen's eggs; grass-fed beef, including skirt steak and flank steak (two favorites that can be hard to find); and sausage, bacon, Canadian bacon, pork chops and ham from their humanely raised pigs.
Carson's Catch is currently sold out of their delicious smoked salmon but has fresh-frozen Alaskan wild salmon and cod.
When it comes to produce, Bloomfield Farm provides a great variety, including beautiful Little Gems and other small and large heads of tender lettuce. The farm also has Chioggia beets, French Breakfast radishes, red radishes, fresh favas and several varieties of braising greens.
Northwest Catering offers a great menu of foods to enjoy on the spot, including a grilled burger, a grilled cheese sandwich and salad, all made with ingredients from the market's vendors.