There are a lot of great reasons for a vacation in Northern California’s wine growing region of Lake County and many of those reasons are the memories you take home. But according to Cornelia Sieber-Davis, CTA, of Lake County Farmer’s Finest, some of the people visiting Lake County take home organically-grown specialities offered in the Certified Farmers’ markets.
Farmers’ markets happen around Lake County including the Tuesday market in Lakeport and the Saturday market at Steele wines. While shoppers greet the farmers who grew their wonderful items, music plays in the background thanks to local musicians who enjoy the venue enough to play for tips. We had a chance to catch-up with Cornelia Sieber-Davis of Lake County Farmers’ Finest and ask about the fruits of their labor.
There is a distinction in the Certified farmers’ markets that Cornelia was quick to point out. The Certification comes from the state and is a verification that the people who are selling you the products that are so wonderful are also the ones growing them. Taking advantage of the cleanest air in California combined with beautiful surroundings and wonderful water, many of the farmers at the market choose to grow their produce organically. And many even manage their own seed stock ensuring a heritage of natural growing practices.
Travis Rinker is one of the people at the market and sells plant starts grown from his own seed stock. Among the many choices at his table were black tomatoes, which he says move very quickly. There are plenty of other more traditional fruit and vegetable plants and even flowers on hand as well. Imagine coming to the natural beauty of Lake County on vacation and returning home with a garden full of healthy eating?
Of course there are many who seek out spa experiences while on vacation and the farmers’ market even has you covered there. Kaitlin Ledbetter’s organic body washes, scrubs, lip balms and even bug sprays came from her desire to know what’s going into the products she uses in her own life. The entrepreneur creates all her products here in Lake County and sells at prices well below what you will find in stores. “I created my own brand and produce everything right here in Lake County of ingredients I can be proud of and sell at an affordable price.”
Doris Cutter had all the latest buzz at her stand selling local honey and products produced from honey. “There are lots of benefits of honey – you can use it on wounds – it’s a wound care.” Cutter also sold a wash made from local bee pollen as well as honey sticks in a variety of flavors including chocolate. The honey sticks are a great wholesome treat that’s easily brought along on the many outdoor adventures so abundant in Lake County.
Cutter has her own bees that work hard to produce the honey she sells at the market – she estimates she has some 150 hives. “Right now they’re really working,” said Cutter about the abundance of wildflowers resulting in some incredible honey production and great for gazing upon as well by humans.
“Being able to talk to the (farmers) who actually grow their food was a big draw,” said Michaela Fiedler, also representing Farmers’ Finest, about some visitors who stopped by the market.
The farmers’ markets are also good for the community. Cornelia indicated that several governmental agencies have recognized Lake County Farmers Finest with grants and programs that let them offer additional value to local individuals. For example, programs like Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and others allow people to buy fresh, wholesome produce at the farmers’ markets. Fiedler indicated that they are able to dollar match specific purchases on a one-to-one basis doubling the value of what someone can spend and also supporting local farmers. People often then choose to buy plants enabling them to continually grow fresh fruits and vegetables on an ongoing basis feeding their families for an entire season from one stop at the farmers’ market.
Cornelia has been involved in the Lake County Farmers Finest since 2008. “We can do a lot of things because we’re a certified farmers’ market.” The certification guarantees that the people selling the products are the ones who grow or produce the products. “I know all the farmers personally.” We just got certified to even take the supermarket fruit and vegetable benefits,” she said proudly, “very few farmers’ markets can make this claim.”
From honey to goat cheese to locally-produced olive oil, wonderful breads, handcrafted jewelry, spa products and more Lake County’s wonderful farmers bring a wealth of items to the regular farmers’ markets. A bonus is the music and the Saturday markets at Steele wines, offering a chance to head into that winery for a sample of their products as well.