The Truth About Farmers’ Markets in the Santa Cruz Mountains


Nothing whets the appetite for summer like a busy farmers’ market, and the Scotts Valley Farmer’s Market opens its doors in a new location, the Boys and girls club off Scotts Valley Drive. Every Saturday through the end of November, regional farms and food entrepreneurs will pitch their tents and fill their stalls in the new Scotts Valley Market space with fruits, vegetables, meats, breads, eggs, beautifully crafted seafood and food products. There will be a Strawberry Shortcake Contest opening day, May 7; treat yourself to fresh strawberries with whipped cream piled on irresistible Beckmann Bakery sands. There will also be free mini ice cream cones from Penny Ice Cream from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Arts activities sponsored by the Boys and Girls Club will appear, as well as a market hunt with prizes orchestrated by the Santa Cruz Public Libraries. New this year, Hidden Fortress Cafe sells breakfast favorites like pancakes, French toast, bacon and sausages alongside their extensive espresso bar menu. Stop by this Saturday and see what’s new and fresh.

And don’t forget the Felton Farmers Market every Tuesday from 1 to 6 p.m. in the spectacular setting of the redwoods, with live music, food trucks and a dazzling array of fresh harvest. the Market match EBT aid program (CalFresh) users stretch their dollars. May is CalFresh Awareness Month and Santa Cruz County, along with the Second Harvest Food Bank, is sponsoring a special double match for the month. A $10 swipe with an EBT card equals $30 in tokens for food and fresh produce at the market in May. Now that’s a good deal! This is the perfect time of year for strawberries, asparagus and green garlic. See you at the market.

The truck stops here

A tip from a foodie friend sent me to the Cruz Kitchen and Faucets stage (formerly Saturn Cafe) to see what the creators of Drunk Monkeys were up to. It gave me a chance to catch some of the latest graphic works from the edgy Louise Leong, a former UCSC student of mine, who is a very hot designer. His work, as well as that of other locals such as Janet Allinger and Marie-Gabrielle, has been reproduced on the table tops in the circular dining room. Otherwise, so far Cruz Kitchen is a decorless industrial space with a back bar, flat-screen TV, and large gray cubicles. Cruz Kitchen co-owners Dameon Deworken and Mia Thorn organize an ambitious breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, and at first glance, egg specialties and lunch sandos might be obvious choices. The beef ribs and fish tacos sounded appetizing when I placed my takeout dinner order. At home, we found the most to enjoy in the fish tacos of two blackened white fish fillets topped with a zesty citrus-jalapeño slaw on corn tortillas ($16). Every bite was nice and fiery. Great flavor. One order of quinoa salad ($12) had lots of arugula and large wedges of beetroot, queso fresco but not much quinoa. The miso and honey mustard on a pot roast entrée ($26) hit the bad flavor notes – too sweet. Mashed potatoes surrounded everything, including the asparagus, hidden under a canopy of potatoes and sweet, sticky miso mustard. The journey from food truck to full-service restaurant didn’t happen overnight. Clearly more adjustments are in the works for the newly opened restaurant across from the current Laurel Street hotel. We will watch with interest how Cruz Kitchen forms.

Cruz Kitchen and Faucets, 145 Laurel Street, Santa Cruz. Monday and Thursday, 11am-8.30pm; Wednesday, 4-8:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Closed on Tuesdays.


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