Wednesday mornings are a favorite day for this food lover, as the day is usually free to explore the North State in search of gustatory gold. The sky is a crisp blue, having been freshly cleared of stormclouds,and the day was warming quickly, much to the joy of the farmers who had been up since 5:00 am. As the tents erected at the North Valley Plaza entice one to come explore the goodness that Northern California farmers have to offer, some of the foothills are still glazed with snow.
It’s the perfect way to spend a little time on Wednesday mornings. It’s all about business,and this early on a Wednesday morning the farmers are in the majority, and so there is more time to find out about what’s new in the world of agriculture, and to learn more about the farmers themselves. Wookey Ranch proprietor Richard Coon quickly wrangled me into a delightful conversation about the spring lamb and chicken, as well as a bit about their history and the future of the nascent “Buy Fresh, Buy Local” program.
“Grub” also had a representative there, and it was a joy to see that chard and kale are still available, which the author likes to mix into his fennel slaw. “Grub” has a plot just off Dayton Road, and their CSA is an effort to give consumers options while helping support the farm. CSA, which stands for “Community Supported Agriculture,” involves a subscription where the consumer receives a regular shipment of product, depending on the season and availability. It’s excellent if you are willing to try new things, as what’s in season won’t necessarily be what’s available at your local grocer unless you are looking for it.
It was no surprise to see all the strawberries, but a joy to see that there is still excellent citrus available amongst the greens, squash, and cherries. Of course, as the season moves on, the joy of tomatoes and peppers will come and go, and once again we will find ourselves heading into the autumn of the year, but now, as this cook and writer contemplates the love and adoration he has for food, he finds himself being extremely grateful for the Wednesday Morning Farmer’s Market which is a bit quieter, and due to the opportunities available, has a different group of producers than the Saturday Morning Farmer’s Market, all while providing a more intimate environment that’s easier to shop.
The Wednesday Morning Farmer’s Market is located just off Highway 101, at the North Valley Plaza Mall. Getting off the 101, head toward Cohasset, and turn left on Pillsbury Lane. Farmers open shop about 8:00 am, and since it’s not very busy that early, it’s easy to get everything you need in a few minutes before heading into work.
Chico also has the DCBA Thursday Night Market and the Enloe Farmer’s Market on Tuesday afternoons during the summer, so eating continuously from local and sustainable sources in the North State is easy once May hits.