November! The year’s almost up. Although it’s been a challenging one for many, the market has bloomed and thrived for another season. Some farms will begin dropping out this month, as their crops get depleted, but because of the extension into December, which we did for the first time last year, several growers added crops so they can stay through the full run. Expect to find a pretty decent selection of locally grown produce through our closing date, Dec. 18. And of course, all the delicious goodies you’ve come to expect will fill the aisles as well.
I want to talk about another group of vendors who are now front and center at the market: our craftspeople. We’re currently in the middle of our Fall/Holiday Craft Market, which runs from October through the end of the season. I’ve likely mentioned in a previous column: in another lifetime I was a craftsperson. I made women’s clothing for a dozen years. Prior to that I worked with a leather handbag company, and before that I did dried flower designs. I traveled all over the country doing some of the top festivals for over 30 years. I also produce the Bodega Seafood, Art & Wine Festival, which is a craft-focused event. I appreciate the by-laws of our market, which allow for six crafts vendors per week except for the Craft Market season. By adding in as many as 30 additional artists each week from October through December, we suddenly have a beautiful event.
Some of you who are regular farmers’ market attendees might look upon craft as a nice, but not important aspect of the market. You come to buy your produce, meat, cheese and bread. Maybe you glance at the jewelry or pottery if you have a gift to buy, but overall you breeze by. If this is you, I’d love to infuse a little art appreciation into your shopping experience. Craftspeople put their heart and soul into their pieces, just as our bakers and sausage-makers do. Their works are one-of-a-kind, and in many cases they sell in very few other places. This is an ideal place to find something unique for the upcoming holidays, but also to decorate your home and bring joy to your life. In the same way you come for pasta, consider coming for your coasters, dish towels, soaps and lotions, candles, dishes, jewelry, cutting boards … you get the idea.
This also solves the whole supply chain issue. In fact, the market as a whole has become an ideal place to shop because everything is grown or made here. Nothing is sitting on container ships, waiting to be unloaded at docks and trucked up.
Thanks for reading this column and for shopping our market. Your support means everything to me, and to all our vendors! This is a month for thanks giving, and I’m immensely thankful for the opportunity to manager such a special market.
Here’s a recipe for Persimmon Bread, which is a huge favorite in our house. You need the pointy type of persimmons, and they need to be super mushy. I just bought some from Middleton (Sam).
1 ½ cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans (Neufeld Farms)
½ cup raisins (Neufeld Farms…their golden raisins are perfect for this!)
3/4 cup sugar
½ cup oil
1 cup persimmon pulp from very ripe and mushy hachiya persimmons (many farms have them right now)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1. Head oven to 325 degrees.
Grease loaf pan*
2. Mix flour, salt, raisins and nuts together in a small bowl and set aside.
3. Mix eggs, sugar and oil together in a large bowl and beat until creamy.
4. Mix persimmon pulp with baking soda and stir well, until baking soda is well mixed.
5. Add persimmon mixture to egg mixture and blend well.
6. Add flour mixture and blend well. Pour into loaf pan.
7. Bake for one hour. Smaller loaf pans should take 30 minutes or so. Knife should come out clean.
*I use one standard loaf pan and two mini pans
Janet Ciel is the manager of the Healdsburg Farmers’ Market. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.