Ramble On

Friday, May 30, 2014

The Fort Bragg (CA) Farmers Market

Maybe it's eccentric, but when we arrived in Mendocino I saw the poster for the Mendocino Farmers Markets.  I made a mental note to check out the one in Fort Bragg, since it was scheduled for Wednesday and we would still be in town.  I was interested in seeing what sorts of crops might be available already - it being so early in the season, and I wanted to compare the offerings with what we had seen at the Mountain View market (see yesterday's post).

I'll write more about the town itself in a future post (I actually have a pretty good backlog of posts from this vacation), but for now I'll just say that with a population of just over 7,000, Fort Bragg is comparable to Luray - just substitute the Safeway for the Food Lion, and don't let a Wal-Mart in - and with Mendocino and a couple of other small towns around, you have a population base that is similar to Page County, only maybe more remote.

The market wasn't hard to find - they'd closed off a block downtown for it, very near the North Coast "brewery campus."  There were probably 15-20 farmers there, a few with crops (notably onions, carrots, and lettuce), and a few other with what I have been calling "value-add ag."  Included in this group were a couple of bakers, a nursery, and a goatherd that was selling locally-made chevres.  We bought some of the goat cheese, and a specialty product they had of Peruvian origin - caramel made with goat's milk - and took it back to the hotel for a snack, along with a baguette from one of the bakers.

Last year during our May vacation, we visited the Shenandoah Valley Produce Auction, in Dayton, Virginia (see the post here), and while there were some crops around (not to mention pie!), the emphasis was on flowers and young plants that you could transplant into your own garden for summer crops.  At Fort Bragg, there were three or four booths that featured tomato, squash, and pepper plants.  Also, much like the Mountain View market we visited on Sunday, there was a "Sprout Lady."

I think the most interesting vendor was the Mendocino Maples Nursery, where they had more than 20 trees on display.  They advertised having specimens from "around the world" - I imagine they will be beautiful trees when they are fully grown and established in somebody's landscape.

This will be the final post for May 2014, and closes out the mini-series I've had going on Farmers Markets out here on the West Coast.  Next week, we'll be back in Virginia, and I'll roll out the rest of the tale about our vacation.

No comments: