A minor rivalry has developed between our Friday and Tuesday farmers markets. It’s not a rivalry between or among farmers or food vendors. It’s more a rivalry between farmers market boards of directors.
A brief history: market operator Hilda Swarz started the first zucchini races 30 years ago with the Friday morning market, which expanded to add a Tuesday evening market, now around Sonoma City Hall.
Eventually the Tuesday market board split with Swarz and she continues to this day as manager of the Friday morning farmers market, where a lot of chefs and home cooks actually feel better shopping because it isn’t as crowded with partiers as the Tuesday evening market.
Swarz says she started the Zucchini Races and still uses the original ramp, which is stored over the winter at Sonoma Raceway, where volunteers also repainted it this year to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the races.
Last Friday’s races attracted 30 entries, more than twice last year’s, which were cheered on by easily 200 people who made their way to Sebastiani Winery’s Arbor Park to race their squashes or just to watch.
In the “creativity” category for small zucchinis, Lila Marchus won first, Griffin Henderson second and Jasper Henderson third. For medium squashes, first went to Maggie Bedord, second to Zack Montgomery, third to Jewitt Jackson and honorable mention to Diego Chadwin. For large zucchinis, Karen Madsen placed first, Mike Coleman second and Tobin Stevens third.
Not every zucchini vehicle makes it all the way down the racetrack, but among those that did – and did it fastest – were Sam Breall for first place, Jacob Weinberg second and Jasper Henderson third in the “small” category. Mediums winners were Maggie Bedord first, Sofia Pomares second and Kaleah Peterson third. And, finally, the big ones: Jack Doss’ zuke placed first, Ed Cebula second and Dennis Przybycien third.