A True Farm to Table Experience
Nevada County Certified Growers’ Market (NCCGM), which has been in operation for over 30 years, is a coalition of more than 30 individual vendors that include farmers, crafters, bakeries, and more. 50% of the vendors are certified growers; a state requirement. Voted “Best Produce Stand” by the readers of The Union for the past four years, these markets offer the “farm to table” experience in the truest sense, and are just plain fun, to boot!
Every week you will find a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, grass-fed meats, fresh fish, plant starts, eggs, honey, nursery stock, olive oil, and hand-crafted breads (including gluten-free options) produced by dedicated growers. All three markets also have a weekly Vendor Drawing, where you can win a gift basket with a $25.00 + value by simply signing up for the drawing at the market. You do not even need to be present to win.
If you are someone who believes in shopping local and voting with your dollars, the Growers’ Markets are the ultimate way to do so. Or, if you just like really good, quality food, this is also the place for you.
NEW! Tuesdays at Pine Creek Shopping Center in Grass Valley
Nevada County Certified Growers just last week held their grand opening of their brand new Tuesday market location from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Pine Creek Shopping Center parking lot directly across from Starbucks on Freeman Lane.
The market will have up to 20 vendors from Nevada County each week, focusing on the mid-week essentials that people need in a convenient location with plenty of easy parking. This is a great opportunity to pick up some local items before heading to the conventional grocery store to round out your shopping needs. You will find a full selection of organic grass fed beef, chicken, eggs, olive oil, lamb, a wide variety of local organic fruits and vegetables, as well as artisan products at the Tuesday Pine Creek market.
If you’re on a quick lunch break, you could also pick up some tamales to take home or back to the office for a delicious midday meal. And, since all vendors are your Nevada County neighbors, it is an effortless way to help strengthen our local economy while getting the freshest meat and produce possible.
Thursdays at Western Gateway Park in Penn Valley
For those who live or work in Penn Valley, the Thursday Market that takes place each week from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at Western Gateway Park is another convenient way to get your local produce, meat, baked goods, and more in a beautiful and easy setting.
If you’re not in a hurry, why not make an event of it? Pick up some picnic items at the market and sprawl out next to the creek or under a shady tree to enjoy a gorgeous summer day. Take the kids to the playground and let them expel some energy before you shop. Bring your Frisbee and try out the disk golf course, or bring a friend and play a round of bocce ball. Take your time and explore the market; meet the farmers who grow the vegetables that they picked that morning and that you will serve for dinner the same evening. Talk to the ranchers who raise their animals with love and compassion. Taste the difference that the care and attention of family farmers makes in every item at the Growers’ Markets.
Saturdays at the North Star House in Grass Valley
Of course, the Saturday market at the historic North Star House property in Grass Valley is always a community favorite and considered the “Most family friendly farmers market in Nevada County.” Taking place every week from 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m., the North Star market offers a great atmosphere to spend a couple hours as a family perusing the many options, trying different seasonal fruits and vegetables, and even creating a work of art to take home. New this year to the Saturday market is wine tasting and sales!
Twice monthly, different free art projects are offered to children in the shade of the North Star House patio. The first Saturday of the month, nationally-recognized watercolor artist Mim Meakin offers a different project every month for the kids to take home and display. The third Saturday of the month, welder and metal artist Jerry LeFerriere helps each child create a piece of metal art that they get to bring home and cherish. There is always live music to enjoy at this market, as well. You can grab a muffin or a breakfast burrito from one of the vendors and sit in the shade of the old oak tree enjoying your meal and listening to some exceptional acoustic bands of different genres.
New this year is a fresh fish vendor who offers poke, salmon, shrimp, scallops, and more. Another booth offers some of the best salsa you have ever tasted as well as tamales and meat pies. Picnic on the shaded veranda of the North Star House or on the expansive green lawn by picking up some fresh baked bread and gourmet cheese, salami, and award-winning local olive oil, or some samosas with exotic Indian dips and enjoying the relaxed and gorgeous atmosphere of this piece of local history.
More for Your Money
Think that shopping at farmers markets is too expensive compared to conventional grocery stores? Think again. On Sept. 17, 2014, the UC Cooperative Extension published a study which compared the prices of conventional and organic produce at our local farmers markets with those of grocery stores in Nevada and Placer Counties, and found that the prices have little fluctuation, and that farmers’ markets are evenly priced with national chain grocery stores. The study also sites other benefits of buying from local farmers rather than from large stores. “Produce at the farmers market is sold the same day or the day after it is harvested,” said Cindy Fake, UCCE farm advisor in Placer and Nevada counties. “Because of that, its shelf life is two to three times longer than what is found in the supermarket. And because it is so fresh, you have a higher nutrient content and it will taste better.” In addition, NCCGM accepts WIC and EBT, meaning that anyone can enjoy the fresh, local produce offered there.
The best reason to go to any of these Growers’ Markets, of course, is the fresh, delicious food that you can buy from local growers, supporting small family farmers that live within 120 miles of Grass Valley, with a majority coming from 2-35 miles away, and helping the local economy. So head out to one of our local farmers markets and take pride in the fact that your delicious, fresh meal was made from ingredients grown practically in your own backyard.
For more information, visit thegrowersmarket.com.