By Elena Kadvany
Expanded California Avenue farmers market kicking off SundayUploaded: Mar 19, 2014
The California Avenue Farmers' Market is set to expand this weekend, an unexpected boon from the city's massive streetscape project for the street, which began this week.
Starting this Sunday, March 23, the weekly market will extend an extra block down California Avenue to Birch Street, room that will accommodate 25 new vendors. It will still operate at the same hours, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Marketgoers stroll down California Avenue the last weekend before the market's expansion.
"The city of Palo Alto came to us and thought it would be an opportune time to expand the market because we've been busting at the seams with a long wait list," said Ron Pardini, executive director of Urban Village, the organization that runs the market. "It's also an opportunity to help promote the California Avenue downtown while the construction is going on, and then continue to help draw people to those merchants that might otherwise be affected by the construction. We think it's a positive for everyone."
New vendors are bringing in a host of new food and drink options. A major newcomer is the Manresa Bread Project, a retail operation that sells bread baked at David Kinch's acclaimed Los Gatos restaurant, Manresa. (Manresa has been awarded two Michelin stars for five consecutive years; Kinch has won the Best Chef in America award for the Pacific region from the James Beard Foundation and was again nominated just this week for outstanding chef and for his cookbook, "Manresa: An Edible Reflection.")
Manresa's bread has only previously been available for purchase at Urban Village's Campbell Farmer's Market, at Pardini's request.
He said on one visit to the restaurant, he "couldn't stop eating the bread" and asked if he could buy some.
"I begged them; I said, "You need to get this out in the world.'"
The Manresa baking team signed on with the Campbell market about a year ago; Palo Alto will be their first venture beyond that.
Other new vendors include Beet Generation Juice (fresh vegetable and fruit juices pressed on site), Tru Gourmet (organic dim sum) and Ladera Granola. San Francisco-based spice retailer Spice Hound and San Bonito Tea Company, which actually grows the teas it sells, will alternate every other week in one stall space.
New meat slingers will include Barrett Farms, a poultry-focused farm in Lake County, Calif., that will sell wild game birds like quail and pheasant. Fogline Farm from Soquel will sell its fresh processed chicken and pork.
For pescatarians and seafood lovers, Cal Ave market's staple seafood vendor, H & H Fresh Fish Co., will be adding an oyster bar to its lineup.
The market's gluten-free baked good options will also expand with Mariposa and Flour Chylde Bakery.
Any Peninsulites familiar with Far West Fungi at the San Francisco Ferry Building will be happy to know the specialty mushroom grower and distributor is joining the Cal Ave ranks.
Other new farms will bring in kale chips, nut butters, olives, rice and raw milk and cheese.
On Sunday, Palo Alto Mayor Nancy Shepherd will do a ribbon cutting at10:30 a.m. A second musician will also be performing near the Birch Street end, Pardini said.
Also new to the Sunday market will be an information booth and a map of all the vendors, old and new.
For more information, go to urbanvillageonline.com.