Clear Lake’s cool water laps gently on the shores of Redbud Park; it’s still too early in the season for the sounds of jet skis and wakeboarders. Soon they’ll be here too, but not today. The shores are calm and quiet as people and vessels come and go from the boat launch. A warm, gentle breeze blows, reminding me that summer is not far away. A short distance from the water, a large circle of pop-up canopies form a large ring in the massive parking lot, separating themselves from the boat traffic nearer the water. This circle is why we are here—to visit Lake County’s newest Farmers Market.
A couple passes by us as we stroll to the entrance, carrying plants, pastries, and other treasures. Directly ahead, we spy a large sign announcing Mother Lovin’ From the Oven’s booth. They’ve got a coffee shop just a few minutes from our home, so we’re familiar with the quality that Tiffany offers when she puts out her baked goods.
“We’re happy to do the market,” Tiffany says. “We’ve been branching out to the markets, and it’s worked well. We peer into the case, eagerly looking to see what delicacies we can take home today.
“Have you tried our cinnamon rolls?” she asks, noticing the overwhelmed looks on our faces.
“You need to get one of those,” another customer adds. “They’re sinful.” But, of course, with that kind of reputation, it’s impossible to say no, so we purchase one, then, for good measure, add a berry muffin.
That’s our first package for the day, but not the last. Just a few booths down, Travis Rinker, guitarist, and skilled pepper grower, sells a variety of vegetable starts, grasses, and dried peppers filled with flavor.
Then, at the end of the row, next to DeJulius Farms booth (always a treat to stop at), we pick up some brined olives, adding further to our collection. A large pot of water simmers just behind us as the mother/son Noodle Bowl team busily makes an order. The temptation for noodles is real, but so are our dinner reservations.
So instead, we settle for homemade blueberry iced tea at Elizabeth Kelley’s booth. She’s the founder and visionary of Clearlake Certified Farmers Market.
“All the tea’s sun-brewed,” she says as her assistant fills the bottom of the cup with blueberries before pouring in the purple-colored tea. An assortment of goat milk soaps stretches along the side of the booth.
Just then, a gust of wind blows through, lifting the edge of the canopy. Elizabeth grabs a leg and holds it, waiting for the breeze to pass. “I don’t remember it being this windy.”
We chat for a few minutes, looking at the assorted vendors, all showcasing something of their own making. It’s an eclectic market, unique in Lake County, and located at a beautiful spot on the water. It’s part of Elizabeth’s vision. “I just wanted to do something for the community,” she says, handing us the iced tea. “I wanted to have a place in Clearlake that showcased local farmers.”
I smile and look around. It’s happening. Each vendor brings something unique: Food, art, crafts, and wares bring people together to build something beautiful for the community.
Clearlake’s Farmers’ Market happens every Saturday from 4:30-7:30 at Redbud Park
14655 Lakeshore Dr, Clearlake, CA 95422 (Corner of Lakeshore and Ball Park Road)