Angwin resident Sheila Mannix often visited farms and orchard near St. Helena in search of the sweetest vine-ripened tomato and freshest greens. When she realized that other like-minded people in the Napa Valley shared her passion for high-quality produce and her frustration at not being able to fine it, she decided to organize a local Farmers' Market.
Sheila conducted town meetings and met with Ranchers, Farmers and Market Managers to find out what needed to be done. She had trouble getting growers to commit to the market in the beginning, but several of the farmers who participated in the first market on July 4, 1986 are still coming: Stan DeVoto (Devoto Gardens), the Vigil family (Sebastopol Berry Farm) and Cathy Curlee who grows fresh flowers. Bruins Vegetable Farm and Same and Sun Hee Shin of Solano Mushrooms joined the second hear. That first market was held on Main Street, across from the Merryvale Winery. It moved to its current location at Crane Park in 1996 where it continues to operate every Friday morning from May through October.
Since then, with the support of our wonderful Sponsors and Donors, we have built one of the finest Farmers’ Markets in the country. The St. Helena Farmers’ Market is a California Certified Farmers’ Market committed to supporting our local farmers and providing a place for the community to find, connect and learn about the finest farm-fresh and sustainably grown produce, specialty foods and artisan goods available direct from the source. a 501(c)3 charitable organization, we are also committed to educating our consumers, the preservation of our natural environment and to sharing our space with other non-profits to promote their causes. Each Friday, more than fifty farmers, artisans and food purveyors get up before sunrise to bring the freshest produce, specialty food and beautiful hand-crafted wares to Crane Park for your enjoyment! Far more than just a great place to shop, the St. Helena Farmers’ Market is a weekly celebration featuring live music, cooking demos, lectures, children’s activities and story hours, as well as the best local gathering place to enjoy a morning cup of coffee and pastries with your friends and neighbors. Many of our loyal patrons tell us that the St. Helena Farmers’ Market is the best reason for getting up on spring and summer Friday mornings.
Our educational programs run year ‘round, bringing important information about healthy eating and sustainable farming to school-aged children through classes and events delivered both in the schools and in our Market Classroom. We are pleased that such programs have allowed our market to be one of only a few Farmers’ Markets in the country to earn non-profit 501(c)3 status, allowing our sponsors’ and patrons' generous gifts to be completely tax-deductible.
We are also proud to welcome Food Stamp Households and WIC Participants (Women, Infants, Children Supplemental Nutrition Program) and WIC Seniors to shop at our market and we are increasing our outreach to these members of our community with a $1 for $1 match on purchased made by CalFresh participants, thereby doubling the dollars available for qualified purchases.
We strive to provide a comfortable, safe and happy community setting for our patrons, vendors and the Community as a whole. As such, the Board of Directors and Staff of the St. Helena Farmers' Market values and supports a strict zero tolerance policy regarding harassment and discrimination in our market operations and administration. We stand together with our vendors and customers to promote a farmers' market environment that fosters diversity, inclusivity, mutual respect and safety.
Providing the St. Helena Farmers’ Market is a team effort. We are governed by an all-volunteer board of directors with a team of employees who are passionate about maintaining the Market as a service to our community and as a tribute to our local farmers. Although we work hard and exercise careful fiscal management, we cannot survive and grow without the help of our Sponsors and Donors. We invite you to become part of our team by supporting the Market through your tax-deductible gift.
We thank you most sincerely for your generous support and look forward to welcoming you to the market!