Napa Farmers' Market Newcomers

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napa farmers market.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

Farmers' market season has begun in Napa, and each week the number of tents and shoppers in the Oxbow Market parking lot seems to grow.  In addition to the perennial favorites, like Rodriguez Farm strawberries, Model Bakery pastries, and the Bolani people's bolanis and sauce, this season I'm drawn to a couple of relative newcomers with fabulous, unique wares on which to feed.
Annie w cookies.jpgMy first coup de coeur of the season is Annie the Baker and her cookie-dough-lovers'-fantasy cookies.  Apparently Annie shared my childhood obsession with uncooked cookie dough, but rather than just make clandestine batches of it to stash in the freezer and snack upon when no one else is around, she's turned her love into a saleable product.  Her cookies look more like hockey pucks or scones than cookies, but their texture is nothing like either.  Delicate cooked crust on the outside, rich sweet and almost truffle-like on the inside, all are packed full of tasty items according to your taste.  

The classic chocolate chip is made with semi sweet morsels just like the Tollhouse recipe calls for, while the Doodle Snicker is awash with cinnamon and sugar and topped with crunchy course sugar granules. Tuxedo Macadamia has both white and dark chocolate chips as well as the buttery nuts, while the Oatmeal Double Chocolate combines milk and dark chocolate chips with with oatmeal and a kiss of cinnamon.  The Cocoa Loco uses milk and dark chocolate chips to stud a dark cocoa dough base.  For Pride month, or just for fun, check out the sparkly SugaRainbow with its full spectrum of sugar sprinkles.  Peanut butter lovers must try Annie's homage to the product; the insanely rich, nutty dough hides miniature peanut butter cups suspended within.  As her tagline states, these are cookies "for those who love cookie dough more than the cookie."  If you miss Annie and her electric yellow Volkswagen bug at the market, check her website for the other places you can buy her cookies.

sugarmoon.jpgFor those looking for something more on the savory side of things, the Sugar Moon Cookie Company is waiting to ply you with tiny (compared to Annie's) round butter cookie biscuits of sweet and savory persuasions.  This Napa-based startup makes their breakfast cookies with bacon bits and maple syrup--yum!--but the ones that really won me over were the sweet n' savory rosemary versions, whose herbaceous bite and subtle spice pair perfectly with sauvignon blanc, my summer wine of choice.  They are tender, crumbly, and delicious for breakfast, as an aperitif snack, or really anytime.

Glop.jpgMoving further to the savory end of things, step up to the Glop counter.  This parmesan, asiago, garlic, herb, and olive oil concoction was christened by its founder's original clients, who determined that the best way to eat the stuff was to "glop it on everything from bread to burgers to pasta to pizza."  This is the same stuff Michael Chiarello serves with the breadbaskets at Bottega in Yountville... and yes, it is that good.  Glopped over popcorn, or French fries, or a plate of sliced summer tomatoes, you add instant layers of flavor and satisfaction.

Napa's Farmer's Market takes place in the parking lot between the Oxbow Market and the old Copia building on Tuesday and Saturday mornings from 7:30am to noon, from May until October. Check their website for vendor information and special events.

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