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No matter where you are in the bay, a rejuvenating dinnertime picnic is just a short drive away, in Benicia!

Among Benicia’s best-kept secrets are the beautiful sunsets by the waterfront, and what better way to end your day trip than with a picnic of fresh local cuisine from the newly-reopened Benicia Farmers Market?

  • The Benicia Farmers Market returns every Thursday, from now through October.

  • Location: First Street, between B Street and D Street

  • Hours: 4pm-8pm (September-October, from 4pm-7pm)

Special social-distancing measures have been put in place to make the experience as safe as possible for everyone. Here’s a step-by-step guide for putting together your perfect Farmers Market sunset picnic!

First, let’s talk about safety.

Benicia is committed to keeping visitors safe this summer, which is why the Farmers Market is following all official guidelines and regulations for sanitation. These guidelines apply to vendors and visitors alike.

Here’s a quick checklist of things to remember for your trip:

  • Wear a face mask/face covering before entering the market.

  • Clean/Sanitize your hands at the provided sanitation stations (don’t wear gloves, they spread germs more than bare hands).

  • Honor social distancing of six feet while at the market.

  • Observe all posted signage and distancing markings.

  • High-risk groups should send another family/household member or neighbor to shop for them.

  • Always stay home if you are sick.

  • Visit booths with shorter lines first.

  • Always cough or sneeze into your arm or a tissue, away from people and food.

  • Wash your fruits and veggies when you get to your picnic spot.

Please come ready, shopping list in hand, so you can get in and get out quickly. Please treat the market as an essential activity not as a social activity. And, send only one family member if you can.

Step 1: Come Prepared

Here’s a list of what to bring with you:

  • A bag or basket that is big enough for your picnic goodies, but still easy to carry.

  • A blanket to sit on.

  • Plates and utensils.

  • A sweatshirt for after the sun disappears.

  • A towel and some water to wash any fresh fruits and veggies on the spot.

Helpful Tip: The sun sets around 8:30pm in the summer months, so try to visit the Farmers Market between 4pm and 6pm to give yourself plenty of time to prepare and enjoy your picnic with natural lighting.

Step 2: Scope out the Area

Know where you will set up your picnic before you shop, it will mean less time carrying all that food around (especially important if you are shopping for the entire family)!

The best spots to see the sunset are along the end of First Street. Prime sunset-viewing real estate can be found:

  • Along the shoreline.

  • The First Street Pier.

  • Behind the Tannery building.

Step 3: Enter the Market with a Plan

First, go for the heavy stuff like cheese and hummus, or packaged items with sturdy casing. These items you can put in the bottom of your basket without worrying about the “squish factor.” It is important to shop with intention and not idly. This way, the Farmers Market does not get crowded (and it leaves more time to relax and enjoy your picnic)!

Sample Picnic Ideas

For a “Mediterranean” Spread

  • Get some hummus, olives, and pita bread (Hummus Heaven)

  • Apricots, grapes and figs (Resendiz Farms)

  • Nuts and honey (Rose Lane Farms)

For the “Sweet Tooth” Spread

Sample one pastry from each stand:

  • Angelina’s Family Kitchen

  • Upper Crust Baking Co

  • Way to Life

For the Fruit Lovers Spread

  • Make a simple berry salad with berries from Medina Berry Farms and Chays Farms, and some fresh-squeezed orange over the top (Rose Lane Farms)

  • Pick a fruit you have never tried before (or your seasonal favorite)!

  • Balance all the fruit with some fresh cheese at Achadinha Cheese, and raw honey to drizzle over top from Gourmet Temptations.

Feeling Healthy

  • Make a Crudité with some fresh veggies such as carrots, celery and broccoli. (Jacobs Farms)

  • Grab some tzatziki dip (Hummus Heaven)

  • Snack on some dried veggie chips (Eat Right Edibles) for some extra crunch and check out the garlic chips (Roti Authentic Pakistani Food)

Step 4: Get to Your Spot

Make your way over to your picnic spot and prepare your feast. Keep your group together in a close, tight circle to make it easier for other visitors to social-distance. The sun begins to set around 8:30pm, so try to time your meal accordingly.

Step 5: Clean Your Area

Make sure the next picnic in town is just as magical as this one, by leaving your spot the way you found it, clean! Let’s keep the bay beautiful by keeping our oceans free of trash, and please don’t feed the birds (they can get sick from human food)!

If you can’t visit on a Thursday, don’t fret! Grab a to-go meal from one of the many amazing restaurants on First Street and enjoy a beautiful sunset picnic by the bay.