by Sherri Gallagher
It never ceases to amaze me how many changes the Napa Farmers Market can go through in a short period of time. Some of the change is a result of different seasons, such as the asparagus farmers only showing up in the spring. The start of the school year will affect some of us as shoppers and vendors with young children figure out before- and after-school schedules.
As a jewelry designer, I will have to miss a few Saturday markets once the holiday show season begins.
The best change is when new vendors get a start at our market. These local entrepreneurs often have a great idea and realize that the best place to test their fledgling business is at the Napa Farmers Market.
It’s not easy for these newcomers. For people who want to sell specialty food at the market, there is a lot of preparation. Besides perfecting their product, they need to deal with licensing, permits, inspections and insurance.
Over the past several years, we’ve had some new vendors selling fermented foods. These traditional foods have been making a comeback recently because of the purported health benefits.
Salt and Savour makes traditionally fermented sauerkraut using all organic ingredients. I know people who love to put sauerkraut on a hot dog, but Salt and Savour’s proprietor suggests using it on salads, with barbecued meats or even with eggs. The company makes five different types, some of which are available only seasonally. The Apple Ginger sauerkraut is available only in fall so keep an eye out for it.
Another vendor making fermented products is Golden State Pickle Works. This company brings a variety of slaws, pickles, relishes, spreads and dips to the Napa Farmers Markets, foods that are naturally probiotic. Sometimes my jewelry stall is located next to their colorful booth, and I get to see all their customers bringing back empty jars and picking up a full one. They’ve won awards for their kimchi, beet slaw and hot sauce.
One of our newest vendors is Tsalt Seasonings. A husband- and-wife team, they combine Mongolian salts with spices to come up with wonderful blends that you can rub on meat before cooking or use in other recipes to enhance flavor. We used the Chicken Lickin as a rub on our barbecued chicken recently and it was wonderful. They also bring wine-infused salts that can be used in a variety of ways. My favorite is the Rosé All Day salt that can sprinkled on cookies, ice cream or brownies. Yum!
A new bakery, Sweet Abe’s Baking Company, has vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free offerings. Abrah, the owner, brings a variety of pastries, cupcakes in a jar and edible cookie dough to the market. Check out her Instagram to see the beautiful cakes that she makes as special orders.
These vendors are just a few of the new prepared-food options we have at the market. Come down and see what else we have available.
Creamy Mushroom Sauce
My daughter and her fiancé visited recently and prepared us a lovely dinner using ingredients from the Napa Farmers Market. This cream sauce was served over chicken seasoned with Tsalt’s Chicken Lickin blend. Recipe courtesy of Thomas Lord.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pint Far West Fungi chanterelle mushrooms, sliced
1 medium shallot, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 ½ lemons, juiced
1 tablespoon of cold butter
Salt to taste
White pepper to taste (optional)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat. Add the mushrooms and sauté for about 30 seconds. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until the ingredients are slightly caramelized.
Add the lemon juice and stir with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits in the skillet. Reduce the heat to low and add the butter. Slowly whisk in the cream. Season with salt and white pepper, if desired. Finish with chopped parsley.
Kids activities at the Napa Farmers Market: Bring your youngsters to the market’s Education Station on Saturdays for Story Time at 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. There might be coloring, matching games or other fun activities, too.