If you haven’t been to one of the farmers markets yet this season, you are missing out on a huge treat. More than just fruits and vegetables, our county’s agricultural roots have been sustained and nurtured by our markets’ showcase of local farm-fresh fruit, vegetables, honey, nuts, eggs, nursery stock, cut flowers, herbal products, olive oil, baked goods, cheese and hand-crafted breads produced by dedicated growers.
Throughout the county, four days a week you can meet the farmers and ranchers who have dedicated themselves to growing high quality, often organic produce, meats, grains, and flowers. It is the ultimate in shopping local; buying your food directly from the people to whom farming is more than just a job but a way of life.
In addition to the high-quality food, there are craftspeople and artisans who offer their lovely and unique items at these markets. From pottery to jewelry to soap and much more, there are great treasures to be found. Fresh coffee and cold-pressed organic juices, breakfast wraps, hearty and healthy sandwiches are just some of the offerings that you can enjoy while perusing the stalls or enjoying some live music (the Grass Valley and Downtown Nevada City Markets only).
There are three locations for the Nevada County Certified Growers Markets. Brand new this year is a Tuesday market at the Horsemans Arena, located at 10600 Bubbling Wells Rd. in Grass Valley, which will take place from 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. through November 21. This replaces the market that had taken place in years past at the Rood Center parking lot in Nevada City.
On Thursdays, the market moves to Western Gateway Park in Penn Valley from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and continues through Nov. 16.
The Grass Valley Thursday Night Markets take place weekly from June 29-August 3 from 5:30-9 p.m. in historic downtown Grass Valley. These are a wonderful community event that includes a certified Farmer’s Market – and a whole lot more! Things like arts, crafts, food, and the ever popular FREE Summer Concert Series make this an event to remember.
The most popular of the Nevada County Certified Growers Markets, though, happens every Saturday from 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the Historic North Star House, located at 12075 Auburn Road in Grass Valley, which continues through Nov. 18. At this market, you can tour the historic North Star House, enjoy local live music in the shade, and bring the kids along to create a masterpiece with Children’s Art with Mim Meakin the first Saturday of every month or Metalworking with Jerry the third Saturday of every month.
Also on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m.–1 p.m. is the Nevada City Farmers Market, taking place on Union Street in downtown Nevada City and continuing through Nov. 18. At this market, you will find produce and goods from local farms and vendors, organically raised meat and eggs, and various food products to create a meal to remember. Live music and demonstrations are always happening at Union Square, and sometimes there is even a face painting artist for the kids.
Sierra Knolls Winery is also proud to host a premium Farmer’s Market from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, June through September, featuring Jardin del Rio (Garden of the River), a farm located just a couple of minutes from the tasting room. Produce grown includes both traditional varietals as well as the exotic. The Sierra Knolls gift shop also offers Jardin del Rio’s pickled and canned goods. Sierra Knolls is located at 10024 Linnett Ln. in South County.
If you care to take a Sunday drive, you can head up Hwy. 20 to the Truckee Community Farmers Market, which takes place from 10 a.m.-2p.m. at 12047 Donner Pass Road through Sept. 24. According to their website, the Truckee Community Farmers Market, a California Certified Farmers Market, is strictly a food and farms marketplace; they are a producer’s market interested in showcasing locally grown and artisan-quality foods. A collaboration between Slow Food Lake Tahoe and Sierra Valley Farms, the mission of the market is to support local farms and producers within 125 miles of the Town of Truckee; and to promote access, education and appreciation for local, fresh, sustainably produced goods, while also creating a vibrant gathering place for the community. Every vendor is carefully screened with a commitment to creating a diverse marketplace with the highest quality locally produced products available.
So before you make a trip to the grocery store, come out to one of our fabulous farmers markets and enjoy the bounty of the season.