Fall Offerings at the Farmer’s Market
Farmers’ markets are in a constant state of flux. Seasons with their entire splendor come and go offering the best selection of fruits and vegetables, but the Orinda Farmers’ Market has expanded and welcomed more growers and vendors since my Fall Favorites list in 2011.
Let’s have a look and an update.
Look for fall grapes, citrus, nuts and dried fruits at J & J Ramos and Ponce Farm stands. Fall brings hardier grape varieties, such as Muscat and Tokay and the first sightings of fresh juicy tangerines.
Smit Farms is synonymous with apples, and apple and pomegranate juices. I enjoy eating any apple fresh out-of-hand with flavors from sweet to spicy to tart. Granny Smith are good baking apples since they hold their shape, and Golden Delicious are excellent for applesauce, since they do not discolor as quickly as other varieties.
Strawberries enjoy a long season here in California. Source your certified organic berries at Chay’s Farms. Pick up a basket or a flat to enjoy fresh or to make a delicious smoothie. Strawberries freeze well for later. Rinse, hull and drain. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze. When frozen, transfer to freezer bags to store for up to six months.
Look for organic greens, vegetables and herbs at the J & M Ibarra stand, one of the markets’ longest running farm stands.
The beautiful Royal Greens’ stand is bursting with fall produce; lots of root vegetables, greens, beets, persimmons, peppers and squash to fill a shopping bag. Be on the look out for some of the last pickings of tomatoes!
Specialty products are popular attractions with market shoppers. Choose from hummus, local honey and preserves, tamales and yogurt.
Fish, pork and beef are some of the newest additions to the market. All fresh! Be sure to ask the person behind the stand any questions about cuts, varieties or cooking ideas.
Cheese and eggs are staples at the market. Brown, white, free range – by the dozen or half dozen – the eggs are a must-have.
The information table is conveniently located in the middle of the market. Stop by with any questions or comments or to get your fresh cup of morning coffee from Zolo coffee. Whole beans are also available.
Enjoy crepes, smoothies, dumplings, acai bowls and more at the newly expanded Food Court and Epidemic Ales offers tasty brews to take home.
There’s something for the entire family at the bakeries with fresh baked pastries and breads. Take something home to enjoy during the week!
The event of the season at the market – Harvest Fest – is Saturday, Oct. 29. Bring the family in costume for more fun at the pumpkin patch and enjoy a little trick-or-treating at the market stands. A few new fun activities will also take place.
The Orinda Farmers’ Market runs every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Orinda Way in Orinda Village. For more information, visit http://www.cccfm.org, Instagram @OrindaFarmersMarket, facebook.com/OrindaFarmersMarket or call the market hotline at 925.322.6228.
Barbara Kobsar sells her Cottage Kitchen jams and jellies at the Jam Stand at the Saturday Orinda market and the Sunday Walnut Creek market. She is also president of Contra Costa Certified Farmers’ Market (CCCFM) Association Board of Directors.