CARA MAE WOOLEDGE
No matter what you think of resolutions, the New Year is a time for a fresh start. First of all, New Year, “new” schedule! Remember, the Napa Farmers Market is open year round rain or shine on Saturdays at the same times: 8 a.m. to noon. The Tuesday market will return on April 5 and run until December. Before we get too far into 2022, let’s take a moment to reflect on some 2021 highlights at the Napa Farmers Market.
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It may sound strange; however, I believe our greatest achievement was staying in one place for an entire year. I still don’t believe the market has moved three times in 2020 until we moved to 1100 West St. The downtown Napa parking lot turned out to be the best place for the market by far. In 2021, we handled over 145,000 customer visits in 12 months, an 80% increase over 2020.
It is difficult to understand that it was not until mid-June of last year that we were able to lift the capacity limits in the market. This gives me hope that we will continue to see growth in the number of our customers in 2022.
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Currently, we are working with the City of Napa to finalize an agreement so that the market can continue to use the current location on Saturdays all year round and on Tuesdays when our weekday market returns in the spring. This accomplishment would not have been possible without the unwavering support of the City of Napa staff and council members who share our vision that the Napa Farmers’ Market provides an essential service to our community.
Ensuring that we have a diverse and balanced mix of produce and produce at the Napa Farmers’ Market is our top priority when adding farmers and vendors. In case you missed them, here are some highlights from the new and old.
In the farmer section you will find Sean from Channa Ranch with his pasture raised poultry and pork. Joey of Soda Canyon, a new Napa-based farm, made a delightfully unexpected return in 2021 after some significant challenges at the end of 2020. We can’t wait to see him and his beautiful beets later this season.
We have welcomed specialty food vendors to help fill in the gaps in our product selection. Now you can get locally grown and ground flours from David with Capay Mills and fresh pasta from Josh with Tango With Chef.
This month, we’re crossing our fingers (and toes!) That Ohm Coffee Roasters is back in its all-new truck serving hot coffee and espressos.
And, yes, Lee with Rainwater Ranch will be back with his out of the ordinary oranges.
Speaking of citrus, winter is officially here, which means vitamin C-packed navel oranges are our harvest of the month. I’ll leave you with some inspiration for filling and healthy eating with a simple soup recipe featuring January’s vegetable: sweet potatoes.
Sweet potato and apple soup
This recipe is adapted from EatFresh.org, an online recipe and nutrition resource developed for individuals and families eligible for CalFresh, and a great tool for anyone interested in eating healthier on a budget.
1 tablespoon of butter, coconut oil or olive oil
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper to taste
1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until golden brown.
Add the chopped apple and sweet potato, ginger powder, cayenne pepper (if using), black pepper, broth and water. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low and simmer until sweet potatoes are tender, about 1 hour.
Add salt to taste and adjust the seasoning. Pour the soup into bowls as is or pour the soup into a blender and purée smooth.
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Cara Mae Wooledge is Market Manager at Napa Farmers Market.