Fear not, saddle shop to stay in Penngrove
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By Grace Ann Walden   April 12, 2013 12:00 am

When the “For Sale” sign went up in front of Jay Palm Saddle Shop many locals sighed. Would another part of Penngrove's agricultural history be disappearing? Where would locals pick up their hand-tooled saddles, shop for cowboy hats and buckles or find just the right Western-themed silver jewelry?

Locals can relax. Jay Palm, a second-generation saddle maker, says eventually when the building and the acre it is on sells, he'll move less than a mile away.

“We want to downsize, that's all,” says the mustached Palm with a smile.

So, what is his ETA? He says it could be soon or as much as a year.

“We'd like to see a serious offer,” he explains.

A San Francisco restaurateur took a look, but the space was just too big. 

The handsome sky-lit, brick building anchoring the corner of Old Redwood Highway and Hatchery Road, started its life as a hatchery, when Penngrove was only second to Petaluma in egg and chicken production. After perusing all the gear in Palm's shop, I almost wished I was a horsewoman, instead of a chicken, when it comes to riding.

 

Identifying lots of cows

After I attended the Redwood Empire Holstein Association show at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds last Saturday, I could ride through the whole county and intelligently point out Holsteins, Red Holsteins, Jerseys and Brown Swiss cows. Before that, I didn't know an Angus from a Guernsey. The event included dairy farm royalty of several generations in attendance. 

Familiar families like the Bettinelli-Jones, Gamboninis, Cunninghams, McIsaac, and Neles were involved.

The young people, ranging in age from 8 to 18, led, pulled and tugged their well-groomed cows into the judging ring.

The judge was Tony DeMello, of All West Select Sires from Turlock. 

He put the kids and cows through their paces. It was amazing to see young preteen girls, not weighing more than 100 pounds, as they paraded and lined up their enormous cows.

Before the show, the cows had been clipped, leaving a crest of hair on their spine, to show off their form. Yes, some gluey product held their short Mohawks immobile. Handi-Wipes were much in evidence, especially when a pristine cow pooped before its debut. Gentle hands wiped off her udder. 

The categories were arranged by the age of the presenter and later the age of the cow.

In the Yearling category, Christian Cunningham, son of John and Lynn Cunningham of R-John Holsteins in Penngrove, garnered a blue ribbon with Goldwyn Bailey, a mellow Holstein.

 

Getting thrifty

I used to threaten to get a bumper sticker that said, “I Brake for Thrift Shops.”

With the opening last week of the End of the Road Thrift Shop at 9550 Main Street, near Adobe Road, in Penngrove, I could glide down the hill to Steve Gingrass’ new shop.

During the week, Gingrass sells natural foods, so his shop, a former video store, will be open Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m-4 p.m. He will also be open by appointment by calling 992-0753.

He says his inspiration for opening the shop was to work with his son, Kyle. Together they buy at auctions and estate sales. 

In the future, Gingrass wants to store and sell vintage musical instruments in a separate front room. This reporter snagged a ginger jar lamp for $5 and two DVDs for another five. 

Bravo!

GraceAnn Walden is a former San Francisco Chronicle columnist, cookbook author and frequent KGO guest. She recently moved to Penngrove to grow vegetables, tend a few chickens and become part of the community. In addition to dreaming about what tomatoes to plant, Walden leads history-food tours of San Francisco neighborhoods on Saturdays. For more info or if you have Penngrove news email graceannwalden333@gmail.com

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