Would you rather kick back in the sun, quaffing a draft kombucha and nibbling a Garden Goddess wrap, or hunker down and watch football amongst the barflies with a pint of local beer and a cheeseburger? Luckily, at Fieldbrook Market and Eatery, you can do both. Not to mention draft cider and corn hole, Diet Coke and volleyball, or red wine and dancing.

For us Fieldbrookers, the market is an institution. I lived right around the corner when my kids were little. On hot sunny afternoons, with the coastal fog clinging to the ridge out towards McKinleyville, I'd put the dog on a leash, stick two kids in the double stroller and the other one on her bicycle and flip flop my way down to the market to get popsicles. It was a Major Activity. Grown now, my daughter relishes drinking in the beer garden of a favorite childhood haunt.

The market has withstood many incarnations since it first opened in the 1950's. Over the years, it has closed a time or two between owners and when this happens, people kind of freak out. Current owners Kelli Reese and Kelli Costa learned it was up for sale, and wanted to do whatever they could to keep it open. "It's the hub of the community," says Reese. "We know how much it means to the people who live here."

click to enlarge Tri-tip steak and Fieldbrook wine. - AMY KUMLER
  • Amy Kumler
  • Tri-tip steak and Fieldbrook wine.

Reese and Costa also knew the business had tons of potential and thought they could make a market, bar and grill approach work. On a recent Friday night, they celebrated their one-year anniversary with a huge crowd of friends, family and neighbors. Fridays are a big deal at the market. It's a weekly coming together featuring a live band and a delicious homemade dinner special. The Not Your Mama's Meatloaf special sells out every time. The burgers — including the veggie — are insanely good, as is the Asian slaw.

Really, everything on the menu is tasty. They offer fresh, healthy dishes using mindful ingredients like grassfed antibiotic-free meats and locally sourced organic-when-possible veggies. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served daily, with gluten-free and vegetarian choices available. Local art, specialty foods and Humboldt County wines are incorporated into the grocery selection. It's the whole enchilada. If nothing else, come out here and try one of the fat homemade molasses cookies.

You can get to Fieldbrook two ways. There is much debate in Fieldbrook marriages as to which is faster. For a straight shot, take the Murray Road exit off of U.S. Highway 101 in Mckinleyville and continue east for about 4 miles. You'll pass the sign for the Fieldbrook Apple Farm as you arrive in the valley. Continue on a bit, and the market will be on your right.

From State Route 299, take the Essex Lane exit, make a left at Glendale Drive, and the next left at the south end of Fieldbrook Road. This route will take you through a series of redwood tree-lined curves the locals call the "whoop-de-doos." You'll see gardens and houses and probably some goats along the way. This option also takes you past a totem pole, the pick-your-own blueberry farm and the Fieldbrook Winery. Watch for cyclists! Folks like to ride the twisty, hilly Fieldbrook loop on sunny days.

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Amy Barnes

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