In some ways, California is pretty amazing. Mostly the food and the weather and the striking (non-urban) landscapes. I really like to visit California, but I’m also always really happy to come home.
Last Saturday, Henry and I took our annual trip to the Chico Farmers’ Market and then toured around to various farm stands and a nursery in the area. That Saturday spent together was probably my favorite scheduled sequence of events of the past year. I spend tons of time at the Corvallis Farmers Market, but something about the exotic diversity at the Chico Farmers’ Market and the warm sun in late November always lures me into the spell of golden California.
This trip is a relatively expensive one for us because we always buy an enormous quantity of food. I’m okay with that. It seems like we’re continuously pinching pennies in our daily lives (probably more by choice than by necessity), so it feels super self indulgent to go around handing out twenty dollar bills. It also feels pretty good to know that our money is going straight into the hands of farmers and small producers.
This year we bought:3 wedges of cheese from Pedrozo Dairy and Cheese Co. 15 bags of pistachios from Pulliam’s Pistachios (They don’t have a website, but they ship all over, so you should call them at 530-345-8585.) 2 pounds of roasted almonds and 20 pounds of rice from Massa Organics 5 bags of dried apricots from Apricot King 10 pounds of almonds and 2 quarts of almond butter from Alvarado Farm 5 two-foot sticks of sugar cane a couple pounds of lemons 20 pounds of pomegranates 10 pounds of persimmons 15 bunches of lemongrass scones with lemon curd and clotted cream from 2 English Ladies tofu soup from a food cart on the scene samosas from the Indian food booth
Unlike me (a semi-introvert), Henry will strike up a conversation with almost anyone. I’ve gotten used to this quality, and though at times I get super annoyed by it (like his fondness for talking to gas station attendants), I’ve been pretty impressed by his networking abilities with farmers and growers. While I had my back turned buying some lemons at the market, he was talking shop and exchanging business cards with with one of the owners of Floral Native Nursery. After packing up the truck with our goods, we took a detour out to the nursery, and Henry bought a whole bunch of interesting native plants. Floral Native Nursery has a cute retail center, and they also do wholesale as well as big contracts for a wide variety of California native plants.
We also stopped at Heath Ranch and picked up a couple jars of cured green olives, 50 pounds of navel oranges, and a dozen weird black avocados. Sadly, they were out of olive oil for the year. Henry’s planning on being in Northern California again in February to help out with a friend’s bees during almond pollination, so I’m hoping Heath Ranch will be back to pressing olives by then, and we can get our fix of the good stuff.
Also, I just wanted to remind you that you can still use the coupon code “WAYWARD SPARK” for 10% off your purchase from my Etsy shop through Friday.