Every year I look forward to the first Saturday in May because that’s when the Healdsburg Farmers Market opens. Itâ€™s the first outdoor event of the year that signals summer has arrived.
The Market is held one block east of the downtown square and that Saturday morning, my friend Phil and I arrived at eight-thirty to sketch the vendors setting up their booths. Phil shares my enthusiasm of plein air sketching and we often get together to draw around town. I pulled out my sketching supplies as trucks backed into their spaces and unloaded boxes of colorful produce. Umbrellas began popping up one by one, canopying the market in a rainbow of colors. At nine oâ€™clock the market bell rang, followed by a flurry of activity as the market opened for business. Then a traditional bluegrass band, The Mountain River Valley Boys, began to play.
Throughout the morning, shoppers arrived wearing summer hats and carrying hand baskets loaded with dinner goodies as they meandered the aisles. As with most small towns, this farmerâ€™s market is both a marketplace and a social event where locals catch up with friends. While moving to a new location to draw, I bumped into several friends including Louise at the Healdsburg Historic Home Tours table, and Jenine, who was selling heads of lettuce and fresh eggs from her own backyard chickens. Jenine opened a carton of eggs, showing off their unique colors of beige, yellow, brown, and green-grey.
Carrie Brown, who owns the Jimtown Store, was at the market with her old Ford F-250 truck. The Jimtown Store is both a store and a cafe and is well known in Sonoma County. Located just outside of Healdsburg, the store has been profiled in many magazines, newspapers and TV shows, including Guy Fieriâ€™s recent profile of â€œPorkâ€ on the Food Networkâ€™s Diners, Drive-ins & Dives. Which when I think about it, is kind of funny because the Jimtown Store is neither a diner, drive-in, nor most importantly, a dive.