Getting your daily dose of fruits and veggies is easy in Sonoma County. Whether eating vegan, vegetarian or “mostly plants” is your aim, this is a great place to be for its abundant supply of wonderfully “clean,” ridiculously delicious, and healthful foods. Here are three great places, among many, to get quality fruits and veggies at fair prices.
Community Market: Veggie Wonderland
Community Market’s Santa Rosa location is an all-vegetarian, “natural foods” store that’s got several decades of supplying sustainable foods under its belt. You can find many varieties of vegetarian foods here (mostly organic and different from your typical fare). It’s kind of like finding that part of campus where the popular kids don’t hang out and feeling like, “Ohhh, I’ve finally found my people and where have they been all this time?”
Your buttered popcorn could use an upgrade? Oh My Ghee has a more virtuous grass-fed ghee version with pink Himalayan salt. There are natural, upgraded alternatives to snack foods like hazelnut spread. Chili sauce options are sweetened with agave nectar rather than sugar. And the freezers stock items like Hilary’s allergen free veggie burgers and Tres Latin Foods non-GMO, vegetarian papusas.
Gipson Golden is being dispensed here too, for only $6.99 per pound of raw, unfiltered (comb removed only) honey. Compared to the jarred versions elsewhere, this seems like such a steal you feel you should be handcuffed in the parking lot for buying it.
If that’s not enough savings for you, how about vats of Hummingbird Olive Oil and soy sauce? And Singing Dog vanilla extract? You can bring your own bottle to help save the planet – and your wallet.
With a lovely collection of essential oils, a miniature library of incense sticks, an all-organic produce department, add Santa Rosa’s Community Market as a must-stop. Even the magazine rack won’t have regular finds. You can get those elsewhere. But Community Market is the perfect place to pick the latest issue of, say, Bitch Magazine.
Community Market Natural Foods, 1899 Mendocino Ave, Santa Rosa, 707-546-1806, cmnaturalfoods.com
Green String Farm: The Field Where it Happens
Green String Farm is just a decade old, but when you consider that its lead farmer Bobby Cannard has been supplying food to Berkeley’s famed Chez Panisse restaurant for 30 years, it makes you feel like you’re shopping on the “(field) where it happens” – to borrow a phrase from the musical Hamilton. By “it” we mean the slow food movement which Chez Panisse creator Alice Waters has been credited with spearheading. And by “it” we also mean that the food in the bins for sale was grown a few dozen yards away.
Green String Farm is situated on 60 acres at the end of Old Adobe Road in Petaluma and sells its crops of the moment from 10 to 6 daily. Under an overhang are bins full of a rainbow of offerings, from herbs and potatoes, fruits and vegetables, to flowers and fledgling trees.
Inside the adjoining farm store, you can find grass-fed, free range meats (porks and beef) from Green String’s Meadowbrook Ranch in Tehama County, as well super flavorful raw almonds. Fresh pressed olive oil (at $1 an ounce) and Olive Press vinegar (at 50 cents an ounce) is available for dispensing. There’s dried homegrown corn available, too, which you can scoop into an old fashioned tabletop mill to grind as polenta.
Green String Farm, 3571 Old Adobe Rd, Petaluma, 707-778-7500, greenstringfarm.com
Tierra Vegetable Farm: All Taste and No Waste
Every pretty vegetable or fruit for sale in the white barn at Tierra Vegetable Farm is grown on the adjacent 20 acres of farmland. Any surplus of the yield is processed into foods: pepper jellies, chile sauce, salsas, tzatzikis and more. And anything not sold or processed is fed to the sheep and chicken on the property. That’s what zero waste looks like.
Tierra Vegetables grinds some of their corn harvest into masa, and fashions it into tamales. There are even taco days with housemade corn tortillas, squash filling and house-made salsa. It’s like a farm-to-everything concept that never quits.
Customers follow the farm’s lead in making a little more out of the quality crops. August is the time to make pickles and customers come in looking to buy cucumbers and fresh dill.
Tierra Vegetable Farm’s sustainable focus doesn’t stop at the crops. They aim to preserve heirloom seeds as well as the health of the soil. And in another preservation victory, they saved the Big White Barn, which currently houses the farm store, from dismantling, via a community-funded move to their property on Airport Boulevard.
Tierra Vegetables, 51 Airport Blvd, Santa Rosa, 707-544-6141, tierravegetables.com
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