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Tuesday night farmers market starts May 6

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Sonoma’s Tuesday night farmers market is set to reopen for the 2014 season at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 6.

More than 60 farmers and vendors have been selected this season, offering a variety of produce, food and crafts to market patrons. The market will run every Tuesday night from 5:30 p.m. to dusk in the Plaza, with the last market for 2014 on Oct. 28. This year, the market will again be managed by the Valley of the Moon Certified Farmers’ Market that has been running the market since the city awarded them the contract in 2011.

Market board President Bill Dardon promises some changes and surprises in store for the 2014 season. “Our board works hard to continue to improve the market every year,” Dardon said, “and this year we expect it to be better than ever!”

Every market will feature musical entertainment, which has been selected by the market’s entertainment coordinator, Oscar Mooneyhan. Mooneyhan is a local musician himself, so he is already familiar with local musicians and musical tastes. This year, there should be “something for everyone,” according to Mooneyhan. He adds that the stage for the music on the lawn in front of City Hall has been reoriented to face out to Napa Street, which should provide more room for patrons to picnic and dance and enjoy the evening festivities. In addition to the market entertainment, there will be jazz in the Grinstead Amphitheater on the second Tuesday of June, July, August and September, offered by the Sonoma Valley Jazz Society.

Several new programs will be implemented or improved this year, as well. One of new offerings is the “Shop and Donate” program to benefit local schools. This program has been spearheaded by another market board member, secretary Jane Bell. According to Bell, details are still being finalized, but market patrons and local education supporters will be able to purchase “Market Dollars” from the market manager’s table, with a percentage of all sales going to benefit local participating schools.

Opening night at the market will feature a special ribbon-cutting ceremony with invited city officials. Musical entertainment will be jazz, blues and swing provided by local favorites, the Jami Jamison Band.

The Tuesday farmers market has been in existence for more than 20 years, with Valley of the Moon Certified Farmers’ Market assuming management responsibilities in 2011, renewing the focus on providing a sustainable outlet for local farmers to sell their products directly to Sonoma citizens and area visitors.