August 9, 2020
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Farmers’ markets kick off

  • There was a nice turnout for the opening night of the Cotati Farmers' Market in La Plaza Park last Thursday. People ate, drank, listened to live music, bought produce, and took advantage of free chair massages. Children played games and enjoyed two jump houses, pony rides, hanging out with chickens and a bunny along the playground equipment that is part of the park. Photo by Robert Grant

By: Stephanie Derammelaere
June 14, 2019

Both the Cotati and Rohnert Park farmers’ markets kicked off last week, Rohnert Park celebrating its 10th year anniversary and Cotati revamping their market to bring in more vendors and engage the community. Much more than just a place to pick up some produce, both markets aim to make a family’s weekly trip to the market a fun activity that pleases both young and old alike, with music, games, activities and great food. 

A major addition to the Cotati farmers’ market this year is the partnership with Farmster, the organization managing the Veronda-Falletti Ranch in Cotati. 

“Farmster is really excited to be a part of the community and join up with the farmers’ market,” says Kelly Smith, Executive Director of Agricultural Community Events Farmers’ Markets, which manages both the Cotati and Rohnert Park farmers’ markets. “They plan on bringing their farm goods including eggs, potentially meat from some of the animals and vegetables they’re planning on growing for the market.”

Farmster also plans on introducing fun games for all ages that will vary from week to week such as corn hole and squash bowling.

Along with the old favorites such as vegetables from Ortiz Family Farm and fruit from Neufeld Farms, there are also be several new vendors such as Waxing Moon offering micro greens from Sebastopol and Chay’s Organic Farm offering strawberries and vegetables. This year there are also several new hot food vendors such as Mountain Mike’s pizza and Cotati-based Great Savor, offering comfort food that is fresh and sourced locally. Some new packaged food item vendors include Flavor Fiesta offering Boba teas, Juice House Company selling detoxifying juices and Rainy Day Chocolates to satisfy every sweet tooth. 

“The Cotati Chamber of Commerce will sell beer and wine and they’ll also have a rotating business booth for local businesses who are members of the chamber,” says Smith. “It’s a great way for businesses to engage in the community and also be a part of the farmers market without the full season commitment.”

To ensure that all ages of family members are engaged, the Cotati market will again have Victoria’s Fashion Stables offering pony rides and a petting zoo and a new vendor, Party Jumps, will offer jumpy houses. 

“It’s great because the kids love it and it’s a great way for the parents to have a moment to look around the market while still being able to see their child,” says Smith. “You can have a moment to visit the booths and have an adult conversation while your kids are having fun in the jumpy house. It’s a win-win for the families.”

Cotati farmers’ market’s opening day June 6 was kicked off with music by Un Amour Band, and the music line-up continues every Thurs. through Aug. 29 with a variety of great local bands. 

Rohnert Park’s market, held every Fri. from 5 to 7:30 p.m., has also consistently grown over the last ten years since it started. Along with bands, food and produce vendors, other booths will feature non-profits such as the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter that will be bringing adoptable pets once a month. Museum-on-the-Go will have craft activities for kids and “The Fun Zone” will represent various local family friendly businesses such as Fundemonium, Rebounderz, Cal Skate and Double Decker Lanes.

“That’s the great thing about the farmers’ markets – both of them,” says Smith. “If you’re a family and you’re looking to have some fun, you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to bring your kids out. It’s a great community place for people to come together and have an inexpensive meal and hang out with friends and family and watch free music. We’re not only honoring our farmers and supporting our local businesses, it’s also a place to support our community.”