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The Best California Grown Certified Farmers’ Markets You Don’t Know About

July 30, 2011 12:00 AM

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Title: Peaches and Nectarines Herald Summer’s Arrival

Photo Credit: Linda J. Bottjer

By Linda Bottjer

California Certified Farmer’s Markets

Florian Sears CFM

Photo Credit: California Grown Certified Farmers’ Market


Website

Celebrate Sacramento’s famed ethnic diversity, in a delicious way, by shopping at a California Grown
Certified Farmers’ Markets.

A multitude of languages mingle with a variety of wondrous smells like fresh basil, sweet lavender and pungent mushrooms. Creating food with the freshest of ingredients is the same quest of all shoppers.

A CFM can be found every day, except Mondays, around Sacramento County in parking lots, near the Capitol Building and even under Highway 50. Identical bounties of our region’s agricultural riches are often found at each market and usually by the same vendors.

While similar markets also offer arts and crafts and other items such as clothing all of CFMs’ products come solely from the earth. Letting farmers sell direct to the consumer means the hand you give your money to is usually calloused with a bit of dirt under the fingernails.

Surrounded by the experts – take the opportunity to ask questions.

Which cherry is best for cooking -the golden and pink tinged Rainer, a tart Brooks or the lusciously sweet
Coral? Not sure what about the difference between kale and Swiss chard? Inquire before buying and
the answers sometimes come with a tasty sample or two.

A number of the CFMs operate year-round. Others are open during prime harvest months from May/June to August/September/October. Most greet early morning shoppers while some cater to lunch-time buyers and home-bound commuters.

Seasonal changes dictate the available foods

Title: Peaches and Nectarines Herald Summer’s Arrival

Photo Credit: Linda J. Bottjer

Spring’s arrival is heralded with asparagus and strawberries as early summer comes in the form of stone fruits from cherries to apricots, peaches and nectarines. Field tomatoes, corn and a medley of melons: water, honey-dew and cantaloupes can be found at many 4th of July picnics as are pies made from with a colorful palette of different berries.

Chilies pepper the markets in mid-summer while August finds bins overflowing with Gala apples and Bartlett pears. Through September into October more apples, like Granny Smith and Fuji, from places like El Dorado County’s Apple Hill region are available along with Asian pears and Vitamin A rich persimmons and juicy pomegranates loaded with anti-oxidants.

Hardy ingredients for soups such as acorn and butternut squash, broccoli and cauliflower are easy to
incorporate into cooler months’ menus.

Holiday table centerpieces are often laden with freshly harvested walnuts and golden nuggets of Placer

County’s mountain mandarins.

Aside from fruits, vegetables and nuts many CFMs sell fresh flowers, plants and culinary items such as locally produced honeys, wines, olive oils and baked goods. Some, like the Sunday morning market under Highway 50, have organic meats, shellfish and specialty cheeses available.

Good rules to follow are to bring small change, dollar bills and your own bags.

farmers markets

Photo Credit: Linda J. Bottjer

For epicureans, or those with minimal cooking skills, each CFM presents a dazzling array of inspiration.

Under Highway 50
Sundays
8th and W Streets
Open 8:00 a.m. – Noon
Operates year-round

This one sets the tone for all farmers markets to follow. Located in a state-owned parking lot, under
Highway 50, it is the largest in the state. Besides offering seasonal fruits and vegetables fresh seafood,
organic meats and wine from the Fair Play region of the Sierra Foothills appellation are readily available.

Elk Grove’s Commuter Market
Wednesdays
Elk Grove Regional Park at Elk Grove Boulevard and Florian Road
Open 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Answering the question, “what’s for dinner?” becomes easier by shopping during the evening rush hours
from mid May until August.

Florian Sears Market
Thursdays
Florian Road and 65th Street
8:00 a.m. – Noon
Operates year-round

Due to the surrounding Southeast Asian neighborhoods this is the market to load up on bok choy,
daikon and Chinese cabbage and winter melons.

East End State Capitol Park

Thursdays
15th and L Streets
Open: 10:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Operates: June – September
Office workers stay healthy by strolling over to this downtown lunch-time market.

Sunrise Station Light Rail Parking Lot
Saturdays
Sunrise Station Light Rail Parking Lot
Folsom and Sunrise Boulevards
Open: 8:00 a.m. – Noon
Operates: year-round

For those who do not drive, this market is easy to reach via Light Rail, and provides everything from
citrus fruits to hanging baskets of flowers.

Linda Bottjer is a full time writer, seasonal gardener and frequent CFM shopper. Her work can be found
at www.words4sail.com.

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