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Mouthful: Citrus Fair time in Cloverdale


It's that time of year again, time to celebrate all things citrus at the Cloverdale Citrus Fair, which opens this Friday and continues through Monday, Feb. 17.

Highlights of the fair include a pygmy goat show, poultry judging, cooking demonstrations, an orange juice squeezing contest, lots of live music and so much more.

Cooking demonstrations feature Dave Legro of the Bumblebee fishing vessel on Saturday and John Trull of Vivo Vinegars on Sunday; in the spirit of full disclosure, I'll be following Trull with a presentation of easy-to-make vinaigrettes and other simple dressings.

General admission is $7 per day. Individuals aged 6 to 12 and over 62 pay $5. On Friday, seniors over 62 pay $1 and on Monday kids aged 6 to 12 are admitted free.

For a full schedule, hours and other details, including a full downloadable program, visit <a href="http://cloverdalecitrusfair.org" target="_blank">cloverdalecitrusfair.org</a>.

The fair takes place at the corner of Citrus Fair Dr. and South Washington St. in Cloverdale.

<strong>Laugh Your Way Through Valentine's Day:</strong> This Friday night, Sally Tomatoes cafe (1100 Valley House Dr., Rohnert Park) hosts an evening of dinner, comedy and dance. If you need to make last-minute plans, this could be for you.

Things get started at 7 p.m., with dinner. Menu highlights include pancetta-wrapped prawns; butter lettuce with goat cheese gratin, toasted hazelnuts and hazelnut vinaigrette; pork tenderloin with brandied cherry sauce; asparagus with Hollandaise and fresh raspberry chocolate mousse with dipped strawberries.

Tony Sparks will host stand up comedians RC Chandara and Juan Carlos.

Following the comedy will be dancing to the tunes of Miss Kitty and the Big Dogs.

For last-minute reservations, call 665-9472.

<strong>Homestead Skills:</strong> If you hurry, there is still time to participate in Nan Koehler's first Homestead Skills 101 class. It starts this Friday, Valentine's Day, afternoon and continues all day Saturday, February 15.

The focus is on berry farming and includes visits to working berry farms, raspberry plant starts and all the information you need to establish them successfully.

A second workshop that takes place on February 21 and 22 focuses on goat husbandry. You'll visit goat farms, learn to build a goat stanchion and milk goats with your very own hands.

Both endeavors, Koehler says, are ideal during drought conditions.

Koehler operates Rainbow's End Farm, located between Occidental and Sebastopol; it is a true working, sustainable farm and she is an outstanding teacher, with a remarkable depth of knowledge.

Cost is $50 per workshop. To register, call Nan Koehler at 874-2315 or 321-1162 or email nan@rainbowsendfarm.org.

<strong>Sweet Little 116:</strong> This Saturday, Taste Route 116 Wine Group hosts a day of tasting at 11 west county wineries, all nestled near Highway 116 in Forestville, Graton and Sebastopol.

Here's how it works. The general public pays $35 per person; members of wine clubs pay $30 and designated drivers can tag along for $10.

At your first stop, you select a unique wine glass painted by a local artist and then you go from winery to winery, sipping, spitting and nibbling on delicious sweet treats prepared just for this event.

Participating wineries include Atascadero Creek, Balletto Vineyards, Dutton Estate, Graton Ridge Cellars, Hanna Vineyards, Hook &amp;amp; Ladder Tasting Room, Martin Ray Winery, Occidental Road Cellars, Russian River Vineyards, Taft Street Winery and Wine Guerilla.

The tasting takes place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information, including a map and addresses of all wineries, visit <a href="http://tasteroute116.com" target="_blank">tasteroute116.com</a>.

<strong>Shed Talks:</strong> On Saturday at 11 a.m., local writer and master landscaper Robert Kourik discusses bare root trees, our drought and more at Healdsburg's Shed (25 North St.). Kourik is extremely knowledgeable on topics ranging from lavender and edible landscaping to water use, drip irrigation and so much more.

Admission to this talk, which concludes around 12:30 p.m.which takes place upstairs in Shed's Modern Grange, is $25.

On Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m., "Sheep to Shop" hosts a felting workshop for the whole family, as long as you're 10 years or older. Cost, which includes materials, is $30 per person. This, too, takes place in the Modern Grange.

Finally, there will be a screening of the 2013 documentary "More Than Honey" on Sunday evening at 7 p.m. The film explores the plight of the modern bee. Local beekeepers Barbara Schlumberger and Michael Thiele will host a discussion following the film. Admission is $10.

<strong>More From Robert Kourik:</strong> If you miss Robert Kourik at Shed, you have another chance next Thursday, February 20 at The Seed Bank (199 Petaluma Blvd. North, Petaluma), when he'll share water saving tips from his books "Drip Irrigation for Every Landscape and All Climates" and "Roots Demystified."

If you think you know how root systems form and thrive, you may be in for a surprise. His descriptions can change your world, especially the world you walk upon.

Admission is free and the discussion begins at 7 p.m.

<strong>Bodega Bay Burger Night:</strong> Next Friday, February 21, Gourmet au Bay welcomes Northwest Catering, which makes the delicious breakfasts and lunches at the Bodega Bay Farmers Market. Now they are doing dinner on the third Friday of each month at Gourmet au Bay (931 HIghway 1, Bodega Bay). Service begins on the deck at 4 p.m. This month they're prepare their yummy hamburgers using local, grass-fed beef.

Gourmet au Bay has several special events each month, including oyster nights evening conversations with scientists from the nearby UC Davis Bodega marine Lab. Stay tuned for details or visit <a href="http://gourmetaubay.com" target="_blank">gourmetaubay.com</a>.

<strong>Chowder Day Winners:</strong> This year's Bodega Bay Chowder Day was a huge success, with all one thousand tickets sold within an hour and a half. Indeed, it was so successful that there were some tense moments on the road when an emergency vehicle needed to get through.

Once everyone had rested up and the votes were tallied, Spud Point Crab Company took first place yet again and for good reason. Their chowder, always made by hand in small batches, is delicious.

Fishetarian took second place and Bluewater Bistro came in third. Fisherman's Cove and the Sandpiper rounded out the top five.

The best firehouse chowder award went to the Bodega Bay Firefighters Association and Sonoma Concierge won best new non-restaurant competitor.

A special prize went to The Birds Cafe as the best new restaurant competitor. If you haven't been to The Birds (1407 Highway 1, next to Candy and Kites) yet, it's worth a trip. It's a tiny special place operated by the Freeman family, which owns the extraordinary Compass Rose Gardens.