For more than 60 years, the family-owned Valley Ford Market (14400 Coast Highway 1, Valley Ford, 707-876-3245) has catered to local residents of Valley Ford (pop. 147) in western Sonoma County and to the many tourists passing through on their way to Bodega in the west or Sebastopol and Petaluma in the east.
Which means you can find almost anything you need here, from PVC plumbing fixtures, wading boots, and fishing tackle, to a superb bottle of sparkling wine and a picnic basket brimming with homemade sausages, smoked salmon, fresh daily soups, and glorious deli sandwiches.
The wine selection showcases the area’s boutique reds, whites, and rosés, plus larger local stars like Korbel. Many of the wines are made by the store's western Sonoma County neighbors, so the store staff can often suggest the best pairing for your selected meal, like their best-selling tri-tip sandwich stacked with mayo, onions, and Swiss cheese on a toasted roll. And if you want something a bit stiffer, there’s liquor, too, in every variety and rounded out with good beers.
Part of the joy of Valley Ford Market is its ever-changing selections. If they’ve got it, they’ve got it (and they usually do), though a glance at the bulletin board-style sandwich list shows this a creative line-up. Daily specials and new recipes are pinned here and there, next to handwritten offerings like the hot Volcano towering with roast beef, peppers, jalapeños, onions, Swiss cheese, and Thousand Island on a toasted roll.
Whether you want wine or fresh-brewed gourmet coffee with dessert is up to you, but don’t forget to pick up some sweet treats, displayed in a large spinning case. The cakes and pies are locally baked, such as carrot cake and the toffee crunch cake.