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Occidental Chowdown Report: Gerard’s Paella and Farmers Market


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Occidental Chowdown Report: Gerard’s Paella and Farmers Market

Melanie Wong | Jul 27, 2007 10:12 PM

This evening three chowhounds trekked out to west Sonoma County to stroll through Occidental’s farmers market (Fridays, 4pm to dusk, June to October) and put together a grazing dinner from the prepared foods booths.

We sampled an unusual Irish soda bread from Tancho Baking of Forestville. She had warned us that the caraway seed was “strong”, and yes, indeed it defines the taste of this soda bread most deliciously. I also found the light texture very spongy and more like a yeast bread. This made the baker beam, looking pleased that anyone had noticed. She said that it was the interaction of baking powder and baking soda in her recipe.

Rainbow’s End Farm had samples of a wide range of stone fruits, what a great season we’re having this year! And to quench our thirst, it had a small jug of blackberry and plum agua fresca that had much more fruit than your run-of-the-mill agua. I liked the natural flavor and intensity with a minimum amount of added sugar. Kare_raisu commented that it looked like jam!

Boho BBQ, sponsored by and set up in front of the Bohemian Market, offered Humboldt County grass-fed beef brisket, Niman ranch pork shoulder, and grass-fed beef kabobs. We tried a pork plate, $10, which also included sides of macaroni salad and cole slaw. Smoke flavor was very faint and the meat was cut in slabs, and definitely needed the sauce to add character. A little sample of the beef brisket showed it to be tender and falling apart into shreds, but not that tasty either.

The highlight of this excursion was Gerard’s paella, both the man and his creation. It was definitely worth the drive for me.

Gerard checking his handiwork -

Veggie paella -

Priced at $10 for a portion of paella (either seafood or vegetarian) with green salad, we scarfed down two orders, and kare_raisu went back for more. So I’ll let him describe it.

We got the next-to-the-last piece of blackberry pie, $2.50, baked by Mackenzie, a highly personable young lady who might be all of 11 years old or so. She said the berries came from her grandparents garden. I’d been keeping an eye on the lemonde, brownie and chocolate chip stand manned by another couple of school kids, but they sold out and went home before we had a chance to try their wares.

We were disappointed that Rocker Oysterfeller’s failed to appear with the promised BBQ oysters. We heard through the grapevine that there were some mechanical malfunctions today back at the inn. Hope to catch them next time!

Many thanks to my co-host, ellenm, and to kare_raisu for joining us tonight.

Occidental Farmers Market
Occidental, CA 95465, USA, Occidental, CA 95465

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