August is usually a broiling time of year, but as I write this it’s gray and kind of drizzly outside; a welcome relief for all of us concerned with fires and drought. Fires and drought: It sounds like some biblical warning of imminent disaster. In truth, our world does seem to feel more and more like we’re living in perilous times. The likelihood of those natural disasters happening to us in any given year has grown to be an accepted reality, living here in all this splendor.

Janet Ciel

Janet Ciel

Our farms and businesses have experienced and are experiencing losses from these issues. Front Porch Farm has left the market due to their water source shut off. Soda Rock Farm has cut back substantially because of water access, so Dan is running the booth himself these days, as there’s not enough to sell to afford an assistant. Longer Table had their water curtailed, so they cut back on production as well. In previous reports I’ve written about the 100 baby chicks Reyes Farm lost in the Kincade Fire and the shutting down for weeks farms like Middleton due to the Walbridge Fire.

Add to this a plague, and not enough people to work in businesses, and we do have a full-scale “wrath-of-God” kind of thing going on. The lack of employees has been a big problem with our vendors. I have a list as long as both my arms of vendors looking for someone, anyone, to fill positions. We’ve lost a few; Black Oak Coffee, at last conversation, was down seven employees. Marla Bakery had to drop out of the Tuesday market because they can’t find help. Portico has been challenged to have enough production help, so they’ve have had to miss weeks.

But in the scheme of things, so far the markets, as a whole, are doing wonderfully. All this gloom and doom exists in the background of one the most joyful, relaxing, fulfilling and fun things happening in our town. Yes, there are struggles, as there are in any realm, but we’ve been open every scheduled date, through fires and floods, earthquakes and smoke, with masks and without, for 43 years.

Currently tables are piled high with that perfect cross-over of summer-to-fall produce and flowers. Seafood, meats, eggs, cheeses, baked goods, prepared foods and beautiful handmade craft fill in, so almost all your shopping needs can be met in our aisles. We’re back to having weekly entertainment; music fills the air as you shop. We just finished our annual Zucchini Festival and will have the Pumpkin Festival at the end of October. Our aisles are comfortably crowded with market regulars mixed with gushing tourists, who love, love, love Healdsburg, and the market. Their enthusiasm is contagious.

Thanks to all who make the Healdsburg Farmers’ Market the special place it is!

Here’s a very basic recipe using tomatoes and cucumbers: in abundance right now.  See you on Tuesdays and Saturdays!

Tomato, Cucumber and Red Onion Salad

2 medium tomatoes, cut into chunks

1 medium cucumber, cut into small chunks

¼ red onion, sliced very thinly

3 Tablespoon fresh dill or thyme

2 cloves garlic, pressed

Salt and pepper to taste

½ cup seasoned rice vinegar

2 Tablespoon sugar (or to taste)

1/8 cup olive oil

Mix together and serve or marinate for hours or overnight.

Janet Ciel is the manager of the Healdsburg Farmers’ Market. She can be reached at

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