Petaluma Farmers Markets and Farms
If you're visiting the charming Sonoma County city of Petaluma, you'll discover many delightful ways to explore (and devour!) fresh-off-the-farm produce and products.
Petaluma hosts three lively farmers markets. They're all popular with locals and visitors alike, thanks to mouth-watering veggies and fruit, convivial interactions with the folks who grow them, and the easy-going atmosphere. Live music is often on the scene, as well as ready-to-eat food.
The Petaluma East Side Farmers' Market runs year-round on Tuesday morning and is located in Lucchesi Park. About 40 vendors are on hand, featuring local produce, artisan foods, lunch fare, flowers, baked goods, hand-made soaps, and lots more. Always live music and a lively atmosphere.
The Petaluma Walnut Park Farmers' Market dates back to 1987. You'll find flowers, grass-fed meat and poultry, fish and shellfish, baked goods, and, of course, a great variety of fresh fruits and veggies. Musicians play from a central gazebo and everybody enjoys a great time on Saturday afternoons from mid-May to mid-November.
The Petaluma Evening Market lives a short-but-sweet existence at the height of summer, running from early June to late August. You'll gather summer stone fruit, flowers, baked goods, artisan products, and more. Put together an evening repast, go sit beside the water, and enjoy the growing dusk. Or, after strolling through the farmers market, head off to dinner at one of the excellent downtown restaurants nearby.
Come and see what life is like on a real farm in Petaluma:
Tara Firma Farms, which produces grass-fed beef and pastured poultry and pork, offers free visitor tours on Saturdays and Sundays. You'll witness a "fully operational example of what sustainable farming looks like."
Green String Farm has long been an influential player in sustainable farming, focusing on assisting natural processes that help grow healthy fruits and vegetables. The Green String Institute, founded in 2000, offers a certification program that promotes sustainable practices.
Achadinha Cheese Company is home to 900 goats that graze pastures year-round at the Pacheco Family Dairy in the rolling hills southwest of downtown Petaluma. Jim and Donna Pacheco and their family also raise cattle, pigs, sheep, horses, chickens, and ducks, and handcraft farm cheeses under the Achadinha Cheese Company label. They offer cheese-making classes, as well as a traditional ranch tour that includes the cheese plant, milking parlor, and the goats, plus cheese tasting.
Petaluma Creamery crafts three cheese brands — Spring Hill Jersey Cheese, Petaluma Creamery Cheese, and Petaluma Gold Cheese — and each one highlights different flavors. The creamery also makes one-of-a-kind, long-churned butter and award-winning ice cream from its high quality, in-house cream. The menu at their creamery store includes coffee drinks, breakfast, sandwiches, barbecue, salads and sides, and ice cream. You can also taste cheeses, and buy cheeses, butters, ice cream, and gift baskets.
Garden Valley Ranch started as a cattle ranch in the 1880s, but now — home to more than 10,000 rose bushes — it's one of the nation's few growers to offer chemical-free cut garden roses. Tour the grounds, and you'll marvel over floral sights such as the 220-foot-long by 14-foot-wide display border, edged in local stone and containing roses, perennials, shrubs, and annuals arranged in color sequence as in the Gertrude Jekyll style of old. This working rose farm is open to the pubic on select days, spring to fall. Its garden store and nursery are open weekends spring to fall and by appointment weekdays or in the winter months. Even when the store and nursery are open, at times the rest of the grounds may be closed for farm maintenance or private events.
Written by Sonoma Insider Suzie Rodriguez.