Summer bounty flowing into markets

Summer treasures sparkle like almost-hidden jewels at the Sebastopol Farmers Market on Sunday. Tucked amongst Rainbow's End Farm's harvest of several varieties of tiny plums are the first Santa Rosa plums of the season, plump juicy scarlet spheres. Most farmers say to expect the famous plum in mid or late July but these have ripened early. I take a bite and offer a silent thank you to Luther Burbank: If there is a better plum, I've not found it.

This west county farm also has red currants, sold on Sunday in little baskets of mixed berries, along with eggs, herb spreads and other condiments and extraordinary agua frescas. Santa Rosa Creek Farm has fresh currants, too, along with chocolate mint, arugula and bouquets.

The Peach Farm, which has some of the year's first heirloom tomatoes, has Padron chiles, bigger than I've seen before but wonderfully fragrant. Tom Noble of Armstrong Valley Farm has been harvesting his Padrons for a couple of weeks but sold out quickly on Saturday in Santa Rosa. He expects to have more this weekend. Both farms have plenty of sweet Gypsy peppers.

The Sebastopol Berry Farm is now harvesting nearly all of its berries, including delicate orange raspberries and voluptuous purple raspberries. Golden raspberries should appear soon. This farm also has some of the most beautiful hydrangeas of the year.

There were plenty of Nancy Skall's legendary strawberries on Sunday but by mid-morning all of her delicious asparagus was gone, scooped up by a single shopper. She has plenty of garlic, including tiny bulbs planted in the spring.

As you would expect, there's a bounty of zucchini and other summer squash, some not much bigger than a finger, others almost the size of a forearm. Nearly every produce farmer has plenty.

Laguna Farms, Orchard Farms, The Patch, Armstrong Valley Farm and Oh! Tommy Boy/First Light Farm are the market's heavy hitters when it comes to diversity. Together, these farms have everything from pea shoots; sunflower shoots; fresh herbs (including cilantro and dill) and several varieties of salad greens and lettuces to collard greens; kales; chards; golden, red and Chioggia beets; rutabaga; potatoes, onions; slicing cucumbers; pickling cucumbers; green beans; broccoli; cauliflower; carrots; garlic and that ubiquitous zucchini. Orchard Farms also has strawberries and Armstrong Valley Farm has eggs.

Hector Alvarez currently has all of his honey products, along with eggs, dried chiles and nopales cactus paddles, delicious in quesadillas and tacos.

Earthworker Farm specializes in microgreens, arugula, salad mix and delicate edible flowers.

Twin Hill Farms is in the middle of its stone-fruit harvest and The Peach Farm currently has a lot of apricots, along with peaches and zucchini.

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