Opening Day of Healdsburg’s Farmers Market


Every year I look forward to the first Saturday in May because that’s when the Healdsburg Farmers Market opens. It’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 o’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 farmer’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 Fieri’s recent profile of “Pork” on the Food Network’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.


8 thoughts on “Opening Day of Healdsburg’s Farmers Market

  1. Nice washes, Richard! Super sketches. The truck if very cool and that first image with all the mixed pigments is fine, fine work.

  2. Thanks Steven I appreciate the comments! I almost gave up on the top image with the colorful umbrellas but I kept plugging along and it worked out. I still think I captured an alien from Men in Black on the left. His long neck is a dead giveaway!

  3. Humm, you’re right, it does have a swirly motion. So along with the alien, I’ve conjured Van Gogh too! : )

  4. Richard, I LOVE your work! These pictures draw one in. I feel as if I were there myself on Wednesday!

  5. Thanks so much Jean, I appreciate the comments. Markets are so lively that it’s hard to capture. Also drawing in such a public place is intimidating since many people want to see what I’m drawing. But in the end, I had a great time!

  6. Richard, I stumbled upon your site in search for a picture of an “outdoor market.” I used the first of these pictures on my blog this morning and linked back to your site. I hope that is ok. Your work is beautiful. Thank you for displaying it for us to enjoy.

  7. Hi Lindsey, I’m glad you like my outdoor market sketch! Sounds like you had a lovely day at the market. I’m looking forward to May when the farmers market reopens here in town. Though it will be mostly flowers and root vegetables at that time of year, it’s the optimism of the upcoming summer with all those tasty fruits and vegetables that I appreciate. Thank you for asking about the use of my sketch. I appreciate the link and the credit.

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