I’ve been in Crescent City, California, for several days. We come here to fish, see family and friends, and enjoy the special atmosphere of the Pacific coast. I grew up just south of here, in the little town of Klamath, and I went to high school in Crescent City. It’s always wonderful to come back home to the coast.
This town sits back from one of the most beautiful natural harbors I’ve ever seen, with a brand-new small boat basin that was completely rebuilt after the 2011 tsunami. The old Battery Point Lighthouse is visible from where I sit writing, on the dry strip of grass behind where our travel trailer is parked at the Bayside RV park. Behind me are some derelict boats and the old docks that were pulled from the wrecked boat basin, and behind them, a marine fabrication and repair shop. It’s noisy and stinky, but that’s part of the experience of staying so close to the harbor.
Crescent City has had a thriving farmers’ market for some years now, but I’ve never managed to be here when the market is being held. On Wednesday, as I was returning from a visit with an old friend, I noticed the Downtown Crescent City Farmers and Artisans Market sign in front of the Price Mall parking lot, where the market is set up, right along Front Street. (There’s also a farmers’ market at the fairgrounds on Saturdays.)
I arrived just as the market was closing at 2 p.m., but I still managed to speak with Hallie from Ocean Air Farms and get a few snapshots of some lovely produce she had leftover and the signboard that advertised what the farm was offering that day. Hallie told me that the farm sells to the farmers’ markets in Crescent City and Brookings and to the local whole/health foods store in Crescent City. I have to say, that cabbage looked wonderful, and if I’d had room in the little fridge in the travel trailer, I’d have bought one.
The farm is located in Fort Dick, which is inland just enough to get a little more warmth than is usual right in Crescent City, plus a little more relief from the coastal fog and winds, and is in an ideal growing area for all kinds of vegetables.
For my garden on the other side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, it’s early in the season yet, but Ocean Air Farms is already harvesting and selling over a dozen different vegetables. The prices looked pretty good to me for fresh, organic produce, although I have to admit, I’m not a frequenter of farmers’ markets because I grow nearly everything I want in my own garden, so I’m not the best judge of a good price at a farmers’ market.
Just down the row from the Ocean Air Farms’ booth, I spoke with Rick Finley from River Bar Soaps. His family-owned company makes and sells a lovely variety of glycerin soaps with luscious-sounding scents. I’m a recent convert to homemade soap (and I’ll be posting more about that soon), so Rick and I talked about how much better handmade bar soaps make your skin feel than the liquid hand and body washes that have become so popular in the last 30 years. (I can’t wait to tell you about my experience with handmade soaps, but another time). If you’re a local and shopping at the farmers’ market, you might want to take a look at the River Bar Soaps booth. There’s also a website at www.riverbarsoaps.com for non-locals.
Most of the vendors were packing up, but I did manage to get a barbecued pork stick and some “Gatorade” (full of fruit and what my sister later told me was probably lychee) at the Filipino BBQ place, and boy, was that pork wonderful! I liked the drink too, but it was a little sweet for me. (I drank half of it, and then dumped some lime juice and some sparkling water in it when I got back to the trailer.) I strolled through the jewelry vendors’ booths as they were packing up, thinking how much sister would enjoy looking at the jewelry and wishing she were with me, and then I took my lunch down to the B street pier and ate while watching a brown pelican coasting in the bay. I found a great place for Dennis and me to launch the little kayaks so we can paddle around the protected harbor.
Wednesday was one of those wonderful days in Crescent City where the fog burns off early, and the sun comes out and mostly stays out, and the wind doesn’t get too strong. We had fresh fish for dinner and family to share it with. Feast time!