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Your one-stop shopping guide to North Bay farmer's markets

THE ADVENT of the summer season heralds not only 'squito bites, sand, and Sno-Cones, but also that particularly magical time when local produce growers showcase their flourishing yields. It's a great al fresco supermarket as they set up stands in parks and parking lots around the North Bay. Take the kids and an old woven basket and troll the stalls in search of the perfect peach, the freshest rosemary, the ripest tomatoes, the sweetest raspberries, and the tenderest spinach.

The character of the farmers' markets can differ as much as the produce offered. Some local markets excel at being community gathering places, where the kids can suck on a honey stick from the local beekeeper, kick off their sandals, and run to live music, and the adults can gape at outdoor art shows, attend cooking demonstrations, or get free gardening tips. And many farmers are becoming savvy about the value of the personal touch and the old-fashioned social exchange (that's sincere interaction as opposed to the perky salutation of an insincere, coat-hanger grinning checker who'll be fired if she ignores you). These days growers are likely to offer customers recipes, information, and the occasional anecdote.

Don't take a list; just let your senses guide you. Here's what's going on locally, according to the latest information from the California Federation of Certified Farmers' Markets.--P.H.

Sonoma County

Downtown Plaza
Saturdays, 7 a.m. to noon, June-October

West Plaza parking lot at North and Vine streets
Saturdays, 9 a.m. to noon, May-December;
and the Plaza
Tuesdays, 4 to 6 p.m., June-October

Walnut Park, Fourth and D streets
Saturdays, 2 to 5 p.m., May-October

Santa Rosa
Oakmont, bank parking lot, White Oak and Oakmont drives
Saturdays, 9 a.m. to noon, year-round

Original Farmers' Market, Santa Rosa
Veterans Bldg., 1351 Maple Ave., Santa Rosa
Saturdays and Wednesdays, 8:30 a.m. to noon, year-round

Wednesday Night Market
Fourth and B streets, Wednesdays, 5 to 8:30 p.m., May 31-Sept. 6

New Town Plaza, Petaluma Avenue at McKinley Street
Sundays, 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., May-November

Sonoma Valley
Depot Museum parking lot,
First and Spain streets; Fridays, 9 a.m. to noon, year-round
and Sonoma Plaza at Napa Street;
Tuesdays, 5 to 8:30 p.m., April-October

Marin County

Sherman and Grant streets
Tuesdays, 4 to 8 p.m., May-November

Pt. Reyes Station
Toby's Feed Barn, 15479 State Route 1
Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., May-October

San Rafael
Civic Center, Hwy. 101 and San Pedro Road
Sundays and Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., year-round

Napa County

In front of the Sharpsteen Museum, 1311 Washington St.
Saturdays, 8 to 11 a.m., summer months

First and Main streets
Thursdays, 4 to 8 p.m., May-September;
and West and Pearl streets
Tuesdays, 7:30 to noon, May-October

St. Helena
Hwy. 29 and Grayson-Crane Park
Fridays, 7:30 to 11:30 a.m., May-October

Compadres Bar & Grill parking lot,
6538 Washington St.
Wednesdays, 4 to 8 p.m.; year-round

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From the July 19-25, 2001 issue of the Northern California Bohemian.

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