Editor’s note: Carlee is a Farmers Market Ambassador working closely with the Santa Rosa Original Farmers Market group. Read her blog post and you’ll know why we are elated to have her on our team.
My name is Carlee Leonhard, and my journey with Petaluma Bounty as a Farmers Market Ambassador began this summer. Passionate about the nourishing power of food and its impact on well-being, I hold steadfast to the belief that everyone deserves access to fresh, locally-sourced, and wholesome fare. Joining forces with Petaluma Bounty has given me a platform to transform this belief into action.
Chef and gourmet mushroom business owner
A seasoned chef with a culinary education from the esteemed Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, I’ve woven my culinary prowess through the fabric of various kitchens across the United States and Puerto Rico. Today, I call picturesque Sonoma County, California, my home. Here, I’ve embraced a new chapter as the founder of Sporgy Mushrooms, a gourmet mushroom company specializing in pre-packaged teas, extracts, and grow kits. My company is located in Windsor and we sell online but mostly at Farmers Markets in Sonoma County.
Farmers markets in California have captured my heart. They exude a culinary culture that’s unparalleled, a testament to my inner chef. In addition to my work with Petaluma Bounty, I collaborate closely with the Santa Rosa Original Farmers Market group, which encompasses the Thursday Russian River Farmers Market and the Tuesday Cloverdale Farmers Market. Partnering closely with the exceptional Market Manager Pegi Ball, our collaborative efforts play a pivotal role in advocating for accessible, fresh food.
Sharing the purpose, value, and joy of farmers markets
Through my work alongside Pegi and the extraordinary Petaluma Bounty team, I am on a mission to educate individuals about the myriad of benefits and programs we offer. From supporting women and children through WIC programs to aiding seniors and low-income families in accessing nourishing sustenance at the apex of freshness – the farmers market – we’re making a resounding impact. The beauty lies in its symbiotic nature, where local farmers also find support. This initiative ignites my passion and sense of purpose; it’s a calling that resonates deeply.
Every day, I am fortunate to fully immerse myself in the delights of the farmers markets, through my company and through Petaluma Bounty. I witness the vibrant community, the vast array of fresh produce, and I engage with the incredible individuals responsible for its growth. It’s a genuine treasure trove, an experience that consistently brings joy. The profound sense of community fostered by the market is something I’ve never encountered before, and its value is something I hold dear.
With the invaluable guidance of Petaluma Bounty’s pioneering programs, I find myself in a unique position to illuminate this treasure. It’s an honor to cast a spotlight on what the markets represent – not only as a source of nourishing sustenance but also as a hub of togetherness and shared purpose.