Janet Ciel

Be careful what you wish for was a phrase my mother whipped out on appropriate occasions. As the temperatures soar into the 90s to bring in June, I remember a scant few weeks it ago, when it was pouring and I was visualizing a hot, sandal-clad day. Here it is and, well … it’s hot.

Attendees at Saturday market occasionally moan about our early hours. “I woke up a half hour ago,” a customer told me at 11:45 a.m. this week. “You close at noon? I guess I better get shopping!”

There are times I agree with him and those who wish we’d be open into the afternoon. It would be better for our late-sleeping customers, our prepared food folks and likely other vendors. But not our farmers and we are, after all, a farmers market.

Our growers get up as the sky is still holding onto darkness to do their picking for the market. They load up boxes, squeeze them into waiting vans or trucks, and bring everything down. As they pile their bounty onto tables, it’s as fresh as fresh can be. I often remark at the longevity of the produce I bring home from the market, and this is why.

Customers come and go as the morning progresses. By 11:30 a.m. on a hot day one notices the bundles of carrots and heads of lettuce still remaining don’t look quite as perky as they did at 9 a.m. Nor do the farmers and other vendors, for that matter. Out in the parking lot, where we set up, it is toasty. So opening at 8:30 a.m. and closing at noon, on these days, makes sense. Since Healdsburg has a history of steamy summers — I’ve renamed it “Hotsburg” — it seems a logical decision.

Some have suggested we open and close later in the fall, but changing the hours mid-season brings a host of problems with it, including the added expense of advertising, permitting issues, etc. Since we are a seasonal market it makes the most sense to be consistent.

Our Tuesday market is open until 1 p.m., because of the shady walkways, but it holds true there as well. Our farmers want to sell their produce before it’s too warm.

We hope you’ll make the market your morning ritual. Come early for the freshest goods possible. Plan on having a delicious breakfast or brunch, listening to music, meeting up with your neighbors and celebrating the fact that we have a beautiful, vibrant farmers market in Healdsburg!

Janet Ciel is the manager of the Healdsburg Farmers’ Market. Reach her at manager@healdsburgfarmersmarket.org.

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