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Andy's Produce Market is a Sonoma Icon

The year 2014 was a big one for Andy Skikos, owner of Andy's Produce Market in Sebastopol. It was the 50th anniversary of his now thriving grocery on Gravenstein Highway North in Sebastopol.

The year 1962 was another life-changing year, when he was struggling through farm life and the freezing winters of Ogden, Utah, with his wife, Katie Skikos and their five children.

It was that jarring cold, and Ogden’s short, brutal growing season that led Skikos, now 82, and Katie Skikos, 80, to move the warmer California climates way back then. It wasn’t an easy transition – as an early start-up, Skikos recalls toiling with pick-ups from the San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market at 11 p.m. each night, returning home just in time to stock product for his tiny Sebastopol shop each morning.

But lucky Sonoma County, since now, Andy’s Produce Market is one of the region’s premier places to buy local produce, meats, cheeses, milk and natural foods. And as one of the Bay Area’s richest agricultural communities, Skikos crew (now his family, mostly, since Skikos is largely retired) gets a lot of its premium product delivered straight to its door.

Originally, the former plant nursery-turned-roadside fruit and veggie stand occupied about 1,000 feet. Today, it spans more than 5,000 square feet, and includes eggs, bread, dairy, artisanal flours, seeds, nuts, spices and granola, an enormous selection of Russian River Valley wines, and locally made soaps, bath oils and creams.

Have a question about a product? Staff can tell you who grew the spring mustard greens, which lavender farm made the body lotion, and which area orchards nurtured the apples, figs and Meyer lemons.

Often, that staff is family, including daughters Julie Kozlowski, Shelley Klucznik and Kim Heing, Shelley's husband Frank Klucznik, Andy's brother "Uncle Dee," Andy's former daughter-in-law Jane Skikos Fitzhugh, and Andy's grandchildren, Jina Homan, Josh Skikos and Katie Heing.

As Andy's has prospered over the decades, the Skikos family has constantly given back. Perhaps remembering their own hard times, they support nonprofits like Crossing Jordan, Redwood Empire Food Bank and the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

Sharing the fruits of their labor, as it were.

1691 Gravenstein Hwy. N., Sebastopol, 707-823-8661, andysproduce.com

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