Farmers' market debuts (again) in Skylonda

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By Dave Boyce

Almanac Staff Writer

Skylonda residents had an opportunity on Wednesday, Oct. 10, to sample Indonesian coffee embodying "notes of black cherry and black plum" and cake frosting made from Earl Grey tea and bergamot. Items for sale included five varieties of apples, many varieties of peppers and herbs, and coastal wildflower honey.

The first officially sanctioned Mountain Goat Farmers' Market opened in a parking lot near the corner of Highway 84 and Skyline Boulevard at around 3 p.m. with a ribbon cutting by Woodside Mayor Dave Tanner, Also present were Town Council members Anna Kasten and Peter Mason and Planning Director Jackie Young, said market manager Maggie Foard.

The market's debut on Aug. 1 had met with enthusiasm all around, but town officials nixed a repeat in keeping with the municipal code and a stipulation that prohibited outdoor sales at that site. With the council and the Planning Commission having resolved those issues, a weekly Wednesday afternoon market is now likely.

How did last week's market go? "Great. We had a wonderful opening," Ms. Foard said. At about 5:30, a scattering of customers and vendors wandered about, some perhaps coming close to shivering in the mountain air.

Oscar Nunez, a Menlo Park resident and a coffee importer, exporter, and roaster at Honducafe, talked up the hidden popularity of Honduran coffee and the coffees he was selling that day: decaf Peruvian, "nutty" Brazilian, and an Indonesian with its reported hints of cherry and plum. This reporter had no comment as it was too late in the day to be drinking coffee.

From George Johnson, owner of GHJ Tree Farm on Skyline Boulevard in Los Gatos, were apples: pippins, Granny Smiths, red delicious, Fuji and Jonathans. He has more varieties from his 40-tree orchard, but it's late in the season, he said. He's been selling apples to health food stores for 40 years; this was his first foray at a farmers' market. "I've done OK," he said. "I don't have a whole lot to compare with."

Many sampled free cake of two kinds -- mocha, and blood orange with Earl Grey frosting -- from Carren Dixon of Santa Cruz-based Buttercup Cake and Farm House Frosting. "Today, I'm giving away cake. Business has been amazing," she said when asked how the day had gone.

Dessert bakers would seem to have a dilemma: weight control in the constant presence of sugar and fat. "I love cake," Ms. Dixon replied when asked to comment. "It's my favorite food. I have to say I climb a lot of stairs. If I have to park on the third floor, I get a cupcake that day."

"You can't make cupcakes," she added, "without tasting them."


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