Mayor Menino, Governor Patrick, and everyone else with an interest in people in Boston being happy, listen up. We need a year-round indoor farm market. And I don’t mean Cumberland Farms. I know, I know, it’s in the works, but it needs to happen without any feet dragging or typical Boston miles of governmental tape.
Don’t you agree with me, Boston readers? Ok, I will finish my tirade there. Join me for a few minutes, won’t you, on a tour of downtown Napa’s Oxbow Public Market.
With all of our trips to Napa and Sonoma, we have never spent much time downtown Napa, but as I booked a hotel room I couldn’t cancel for the Napa Marathon, we were kind of roped into it. This turned out to be a very good thing. After a smooth but very long flight, we drove from San Francisco up to Napa, stopping at an adorable farmer’s market in Marin food lunch, then went straight to Napa for some sightseeing.
Oxbow Public Market, a few blocks from our hotel, was at the top of my list.
Oxbow Public Market is, in some ways, a smaller version of San Francisco’s Ferry Building, a perfect size for the downtown Napa neighborhood it is in. It hosts artisans and vendors of all types, and you could easily do most of your food shopping inside.
There was a butcher shop with some beautiful looking cuts of meat and a spice shop, Whole Spice Company, where I picked up some ghost chili powder.
Then there was the Oxbow Cheese Market with a massive case of cheeses, wine, and fresh baked bread from the Model Bakery.
All of the wandering around the market worked up a little bit of hunger, so we stopped for a few minutes at Hog Island Oyster Co.
The square bar was light and airy, and it was a nice place to take in the entire market.
We split a Bison stout and both downed a ton of water (we had been wine tasting right before).
Stout and oysters, perfect together! These were Hog Island sweetwater oysters, and they were perfect for me, nice and small, briny but also a little sweet. I ate them with mignonette and a little hot sauce.
Before we headed out of the market we passed through the other side for a few photos and samples. The Olive Press has a space where they sell their award-winning olive oil. You may remember The Olive Press from the generous giveaway they did on my blog last spring.
Citrus olive oil = The Olive Press makes some incredible quality oils. I really wish they had a store in Boston!
I spent the rest of the time wandering the Oxbow Market wishing I could eat more! I was full from our farmers market lunch and oysters, but I could have definitely eaten one of everything here!
Obviously, I would recommend a visit to Oxbow Public Market if you ever get to Napa. I am planning on going back a couple of times before we leave Napa for Sonoma.
Do you have a public market in your city or town? If you could have one, what businesses would you put in it?