Napa Farmers Market: Summer Food Adventure | food column book

Lilia Heine

Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong sang “Summer and Living Easy.” When I consider incorporating delicious, nutritious, seasonal fruits and vegetables into my family’s diet, I have to agree.

Summer is an excellent season to discover new tastes and re-visit favorite products. Our favorite spot for summer food adventures is the Napa Farmers Market.

My family isn’t the only one who goes to the Napa Farmers Market on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The market has become a community focal point with 145,233 customer visits last year, up 80% from 2020. Furthermore, 80% of people who visit the Napa Farmers Market live in Napa County, making the market a real space to build a community around food.

Many of our community members who visit the Napa Farmers Market are families who receive food assistance and use the CalFresh Market Match Program at the market, which doubles the benefits of food assistance to buy fruits and vegetables. Demand for food assistance is nearly four times the pre-pandemic rate and the Napa Farmer’s Market plays a vital role in supporting local families to access high-quality, nutritious fruits and vegetables. In 2021, the Napa Farmers’ Market served 551 families with a total of $119,676 in food assistance funding spent in the market.

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Launched in 2012 with just $500, the Napa Farmers Market has earned over $178,000 in CalFresh benefits (formerly known as “food stamps”) over the past 10 years.

We’ve recently seen an increase in demand for the program in terms of both dollars and the number of households served. In 2021, we met more than $53,000 in CalFresh dollars, which is a 43% increase over 2020. We served 428 CalFresh households, an increase of 44%. Based on our estimates, we expect to match more than $72,000 this year, but we need your help and support.

This month we begin our annual Friends of the Market fundraising campaign to support market operations, expand food assistance programs, and explore exciting new opportunities to advance our nonprofit mission to increase equitable access to local food. With your support, Napa Farmers Market can continue to build a community around local food. Please help us reach our $35,000 goal by donating before August 9 at www.napafarmersmarket.org/donate.

Our community will enjoy a variety of seasonal pit fruit this season. The plum is the July harvest of the month’s fruit and a favorite in my house! While stone fruits can be easily enjoyed as is, I enjoy experimenting with ways to incorporate these summer foods into our favorite meals and recipes. The Napa Farmer’s Market allows us to explore different varieties of heirloom peaches during our summer eating adventures.

When the weather’s too warm to whip up a hot meal, my family enjoys incorporating peaches into a summertime salad with healthy cherry tomatoes and quinoa. My recipe for Plum Summer Salad is a delicious summer dish that kids can help make. Have your child support the cooking process by gathering, measuring, and mixing ingredients to prepare this dish as a family.

Pick the ingredients you need for this recipe, including seasonal peaches and fresh greens, at Napa Farmers Market Tuesdays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon.

1 cup quinoa, cooked and cooled

4 cups of your favorite vegetables (arugula, spinach, etc.)

Cut cherry tomatoes and peaches into quarters.

Wash and chop (optional) your favorite greens. We enjoy using a mixture of spinach and watercress for this recipe.

Combine tomatoes, peaches, greens, and quinoa in a large bowl. Stir in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

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