.Local Eats, Education and Apple Pie at UCSC Farm’s Fall Harvest Festival

Also, Watsonville’s Live Earth Farm hosts its annual Mesa Dinner in support of Farm Discovery

Just the word “harvest” makes us tingle with the prospect of cooler evenings, apples and pumpkins. That’s why the UCSC Farm is inviting us all to come up on Sunday, Sept. 25 for the 2022 Fall Harvest Festival, 11am-4:30pm, for an afternoon of live music, salsa sampling, apple pressing, an apple pie contest and lots of other tasty outdoor activities. Food carts from My Mom’s Mole, Fonda Felix, Companion Bakeshop and Penny Ice Creamery will be on hand, plus live music from Universe, Diggin Trails and Rosa Azul. There will be tours of the Farm, and the vibrant and informative Life Lab Garden (at noon and 3pm) will help you get acquainted with the amazing diversity of plantings, orchard crops, soil experiments and biodiversity on this gorgeous land—the view itself is worth coming out for. If you have a great apple pie in your repertoire, you might want to check out the guidelines for the contest entry. $5 admission; free for kids 12 and under, UCSC and Cabrillo students and Friends of the UCSC Farm and Garden.

All the information you need about this enjoyable outdoor festival is at agroecology.ucsc.edu.

More Farm Fare

At the other end of the county, Live Earth Farm will host the annual Mesa multi-course dinner—in support of Farm Discovery’s environmental and nutrition education programs for local youth—on Saturday, Sept. 24, 4-8pm. Top local chefs will be serving up their best regional items. Chef Jessica Yarr has added a few central and South American dishes to go with the desert theme. Colectivo Felixs favorite empanadas will be served by Diego Felix as an appetizer, and Monterey Peninsula Unified School District’s advanced culinary students will whip up quinoa-crusted vegetable fritters. Look for luscious desserts from Not Pie Cakery. All of this, plus craft cocktails, wine, beer, live music and auctions—oh yes. Congressman Jimmy Panetta will give the keynote address. Be there! Live Earth Farm, 172 Litchfield Lane, Watsonville. Tickets at farmdiscovery.org/event/mesa.

Doon Saying

A new Randall Grahm tasting room is set to open in Aptos Village, in alliance with Bonny Doon Vineyard’s longtime winemaking colleague Nicole Walsh of Ser Winery. Grahm assured me the new tasting room, Doon to Earth, a transformation of the existing Ser tasting room space, “will feature the wines of Ser, Bonny Doon and homeopathic quantities of Popelouchum; this will be opening sometime in October, once county permits are in place.” The legendary Bonny Doon Vineyard founder promises a tasting room “unique for the rather eclectic range of wines it will feature—harkening back to the free-wheelin’ Doonian days of yore.” Grahm is “enormously pleased to enjoy the ongoing relationship with Nicole Walsh in this new configuration, as I have so much cherished the collaboration for lo these many years.” Stay tuned.

Newsy Stuff

Hiring is underway for the upcoming opening of the new Iveta at the end of Front and Pacific Avenues. Can’t wait! Also, Hanloh Thai Food’s Lalita Kaewsawang will take over the kitchen at Bad Animal, replacing Katherine Stern, who is deep in planning for her own restaurant. It’s also last call for King Salmon from our local waters. I got a slab of fresh wild, local Chinook (King) salmon filet at Shopper’s Corner last week that turned into one of the most memorable dinners of the year. You know how dreamy fresh wild salmon is—succulent, almost buttery sweet and richly hued. The guys over at Ocean2Table are currently featuring Chinook salmon from San Francisco Bay. We’re in the last few weeks of fresh California salmon availability, so now is the time!

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