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Sonoma Wine Country is known around the world, but the rich agricultural heritage of Sonoma County isn’t only about grapevines. It’s no coincidence this fertile valley is a gourmet’s dream. Scores of Bay Area residents, including restaurant owners, come here to shop the best ingredients for their menus. And where better to find the freshest, local bounty than the Healdsburg Farmer’s Market?

About the farmer’s market

The market features a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as cheese, honey, olive oil, bread, wild fish, meat, eggs, and much more. This farmer-run market has a long history of providing high-quality, reasonably priced produce to locals and visitors alike. Now in its 38th year, the Healdsburg market is one of the oldest farmer’s markets in California.

And the market just keeps getting better! Since February this year there’s a new market manager, Janet Ciel. You may know Janet from the hugely popular Bodega Seafood Festival, which she’s run for more than 20 years. Janet brings lots of enthusiasm for building local community that benefits both growers and consumers.

It’s about the quality vendors

Twice weekly during summer, Saturday mornings and Wednesday evenings, locals offer their products — most grown within 15 miles of downtown Healdsburg. “The incredible quality of the vendors really sets this market apart from the rest,” explains Janet. “Not all markets have such high standards.” The Healdsburg market takes a “farm-centric” approach. They cherry-pick local crafts people and only a handful are given space at each event, at least until November when crop production slows down. This keeps the focus on food products.

Saturday farmer’s market

According to Janet, being manager of the Healdsburg Saturday Market is a plum role to step into. “If there was one farmer’s market that was an inherited gift, the Saturday market is it,” says Janet. “Running it is a piece of cake!”

Wednesday farmer’s market

The Wednesday evening event hasn’t been as reliable a success. But change is afoot. They’ve got new hours and more prepared food now; plus, wine tasting will be coming to the market soon. Like the Saturday market, there is a steady lineup of talented local musicians and entertainment. It will be inviting to stroll around and be able to eat dinner and enjoy a glass of wine. Janet is confident that the evening market will take off. “It’s going to be as good as Saturday!”

Both the morning and evening market stalls are totally full with quality vendors for the rest of the year. And in addition to entertainment, the market will continue its traditional annual fall events: the zucchini festival and pumpkin festival — great fun for the whole family!

Shop the Healdsburg Farmer’s Market for homegrown and hand-crafted food products and make your own gourmet meal at home in your luxury Healdsburg vacation rental. Pair it up with a bottle of your favorite wine and enjoy the good life of Sonoma Wine Country. And keep your eyes open for Janet milling around the market. Feel free to say hello and find out her personal recommendations for the newest tasty treat.

Saturday Farmers’ Market
8:30am — Noon
May — November
North & Vine Streets, one block west of plaza (behind Bear Republic Brewery)

Wednesday Farmers’ Market
4:00 — 7:00pm
June — October
North & Vine Streets (next to SHED)

Find out more: http://www.healdsburgfarmersmarket.org/

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Don’t know whether you’ve been in Healdsburg Wine Country lately, but the buzz in town is all about Single Thread Restaurant— a whole new approach to farm-to-table restaurants. I haven’t been there yet, but it is definitely on my 2017 must-do list.

It’s a farm-to-table sensory experience

It just opened at the end of 2016 after a lot of fanfare about how great it was going to be. It seems to be living up to expectations. Single Thread isn’t just well-prepared food — it’s a sensory experience. The eleven-course tasting menu extends over hours, immersing guests in each morsel, each moment. Andrew Dalton in Eater San Francisco called the food “culinary bliss.”

Owned and run by husband and wife team, Katina and Kyle Connaughton, the concept behind Single Thread has been building over time. Kyle’s credentials run from SoCal to New York to Japan to England, where he was head chef of research and development at Fat Duck, a Michelin three-starred restaurant. During his time there, Restaurant magazine named Fat Duck the “best restaurant in the world.“ He developed a signature multi-sensory cuisine for their menu. A culinary scientist and foodie extraordinaire, Kyle is also an award-winning author of several cookbooks.

It’s a local, farm-to-table food experience

Katina oversees Single Thread’s farm, located only ten minutes from the restaurant. Many of the menu’s fresh ingredients come from their five acres along the Russian River. The farm is not only fruit and veggies; Katina also tends olive trees, beehives and chickens. Sourcing Sonoma County ingredients, this is a true farm-to-table approach.

From raising crops to exquisite presentation, this place seems to get it right. The secret sauce of this dining extravaganza is in the details. With an emphasis on hospitality, the staff welcomes each guest with a fully personalized experience. Each step of the meals brims with grace and style.

It’s an unforgettable farm-to-table restaurant experience

To get a seat, you buy a ticket in advance. Then you’re contacted to arrange menu details specific to the preferences of you and your guests. Sounds like an awesome way to celebrate an anniversary, Mother’s Day, or any occasion that you want to be unforgettable. I’ve heard that you don’t even get a menu until the end of the meal, a sort of memento of your evening.

It costs about $300 per person, which includes gratuity and tax. Add on wine-pairing for more. Single Thread is right downtown, just a block off the central plaza. Open 5:30 – 11:00, closed Mondays singlethreadfarms.com. If you go, let me know what you think!

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