We Grow What We Sell
Every week there are dozens of farmers’ markets set up in numerous cities, but where and when did the first farmers’ market open in Contra Costa County? Opening day was July 9, 1983, at the corner of Taylor and Morello in Pleasant Hill. The idea was conceived by a small group of Master Gardeners and horticulture students from Diablo Valley College. Contra Costa Certified Farmers’ Market Association (CCCFM) was inspired by the local food movement and driven by the desire to bridge the gap between food producers and consumers. In June, 1984, the Walnut Creek Sunday farmers’ market opened as the demand for fresh produce increased. In July, 1997, CCCFM welcomed Orinda as its newest member.
Loyal customers and newcomers are still drawn to the market on Orinda Way in Orinda Village by the sound of music and greeted by farmers and artisan food purveyors offering a bounty of fresh, seasonal, locally grown produce, baked goods and specialty products.
The Orinda Farmers’ Market is a “certified” market where certified California farmers sell fresh products they have grown and harvested themselves to sell directly to consumers. You may have noticed banners at the stands with “we grow what we sell” proudly printed in large letters.
This month is the midway mark for Orinda’s 2018 farmers’ market season. It also coincides with “peak” season – the weeks where there are typically the most choices of in-season fresh produce. Shoppers can load up on favorites that include juicy peaches, sweet corn, heirloom tomatoes and first-of-the-season pears and apples.
Pears are divided into two distinct categories – European and Asian. European pears include both summer and winter varieties, and you’ll find several at the market. Look for the familiar bell-shaped Bartletts to French Butter pears, Comice and d’anjou. These pears are firm when picked and must be allowed to ripen off the tree or they become soft and mushy. Asian pears are available late summer through fall and will be picked ripe and ready to eat!
Apples vary in flavor from sweet to spicy to tart but all should be crisp, crunchy and juicy. Apple season is the opportune time to do some comparative tasting to find one that suits your taste. While most apples are suitable for eating out of hand, certain varieties such as Granny Smith, Rome Beauty and Pippin are better suited to cooking because they hold their shape.
Enjoy the bounty and see you at the market!
The Orinda market is open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Orinda Way in front of the Community Park and Rite Aid. For more information, visit the website at www.cccfm.org where you can also sign up for market specials to be sent right to your phone. Market Hotline: 925-431-8361.