The Healdsburg Farmers’ Markets have been open four weeks now; both of them. We used to open in May, Saturday at the beginning of the month, and Tuesday market at the end. But last year, as the reality of the pandemic was ramping up, the city asked if we could open early. They saw the need for outdoor shopping options and a way for community to stay connected. The response to our mid-April season debut (of Saturday market: Tuesday opened at the end of May because the plaza was closed) was overwhelmingly positive, so we decided we’d extend both markets this year.
Throughout 2020 we heard over and over how much people loved shopping the market: how safe and comfortable it felt. It did feel safe … very much so because of you. You, who wore masks and stood in line, even if it was 100 degrees. You, who spaced yourselves nicely apart in line, and curled around a corner to leave the aisle open. You, who took a squirt of sanitizer when you passed our booth, or the stands at the ends of the aisles, and pointed to the produce, letting the vendor bag it.
Now regulations are loosening somewhat, but we’re not really changing anything right now. We’re continuing to ask vendors and customers to wear masks, keep socially distant when possible, letting the vendor bag when it works. Perhaps the governor’s June 15 cut-off for our tier system will open things up a bit, but right now we’re assuming we’ll need to be careful for awhile longer. Thankfully, you have been 100% on board. In these past four weeks we haven’t had a single person complain about mask wearing or refuse to wear one. Everyone is lining up, pointing to goods, keeping space. Families are coming down, but even most of the kids are masked.
With all this caution there’s an equal sense of freedom. The lawn behind our information booth has a small group of friends laughing and gossiping while they eat fish tacos. At the table down the way a mom leans into a stroller and feeds her little boy a strawberry. Neighbors are waving to each other as they cross the bridge and enter the market. We have impromptu live music (we’re still not allowed to book musicians, due to COVID regulations, but there is a ‘free speech allowance’ via the city which let’s single musicians play), or we play tunes via our little sound system. The vendors are happy too. Not only are they making a living, but they’re reconnecting with their fellow growers, food producers and craftspeople, and their regular customers. Overall, it feels almost like a normal market, albeit, you can’t see most peoples’ smiles.
So thank you, Healdsburg Farmers’ Market shoppers, for making our little piece of heaven just that much more inviting, joyful and delicious. We’ll see you at the market.
Kitchen Sink Salad
(every salad is different, depending on what we have in the house … this week’s is made with many ingredients from the market)
Spring Mix (Longer Table Farm)
chopped red cabbage (Ortiz Farm)
sliced green onion (Ortiz Farm)
nectarine (Neufeld Farm)
hard boiled eggs (Reyes Farm)
feta cheese (Achadinha)
carrot (Middleton Farm)
chopped walnuts (Neufeld Farm)
lemon (Alexander Valley Farm)
olive oil (Deergnaw Olive Oil)
nasturtium flowers from my garden
Janet Ciel is the manager of the Healdsburg Farmers’ Market. She can be reached at email@example.com.