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Mouthful: Apple blossoms — and a parade, too


<strong>Apple Blossom Time:</strong> This year, the 68th Annual Apple Blossom Parade and Festival coincides with the actual blossoms the parade celebrates. All over western Sonoma County, apple trees are decked out in their spring halo of flowers. It is a glorious sight.

The parade is pretty glorious, too, with well over a hundred participants. There's even a diaper service joining in this year.

Highlights include Dachshunds on Parade, which many people name as their favorite part of the parade, the Sebastopol Farmers Market, Andy's Produce Market, Balletto Vineyards, Sebastopol Grange and so much more.

The parade kicks off at Analy High School at 10 a.m. and concludes around noon just south of downtown, at Calder Ave.

This year's theme is Red, White and Blues Blossoms.

The festival, which takes place in nearby Ives Park, runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. You'll find a full schedule of music, exhibits, food and beverages at <a href="http://appleblossomfest.com" target="_blank">appleblossomfest.com</a>.

<strong>More Post-Parade Fun:</strong> Following the Apple Blossom Parade, HopMonk Tavern (230 Petaluma Ave., Sebastopol) hosts its 7th Annual Beer Blossom Festival. Doors open at noon and music gets started around 1 p.m. The Bootleg Honeys are up first, with E-Minor and the Dirty Diamonds and the Highway Poets following. This part of the celebration is free, with plenty of food and drink available for purchase.

At 8 p.m., the After Party begins, with Kingsborough taking the stage at 9 p.m. Admission is $10.

<strong>Shone Farm Celebrates Spring:</strong> This Saturday, Shone Farm, Santa Rosa Junior College's teaching farm and nonprofit winery, is open to the general public from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The entire family is invited. The 365-acre farm sits above Russian River Valley at 7450 Steve Olson Lane, just off Eastside Rd. in southwest Healdsburg, and has a spectacular view,

The farm's new olive oil will be previewed, there will be activities for children, farm displays, hula hoops, bubbles for blowing and more. Wine club members can pick up their spring selections; the farm's wines and olive oil will also be available for on-the-spot tasting and purchase.

The farm operates a CSA program, which begins on May 14, and also raises grass-fed beef.

For more information about the farm, its projects and its products, visit <a href="http://shonefarm.com" target="_blank">shonefarm.com</a>.

<strong>Spring Fling at Meadowcroft Wines:</strong> On Saturday from noon to 3 p.m., Meadowcroft Wine's tasting room celebrates the season with some special wine pairings by the winery's chef, Darby Tarantino, a graduate of the Ballymaloe Cookery School in County Cork, Ireland.

Meadowcroft 2013 Sauvignon Blanc will be paired with spring greens and Cypress Grove goat cheese. The winery's 2013 viognier is matched with prosciutto and pears with honey and mustard vinaigrette. The final pairing joins the 2014 riesling with edamame (fresh soy beans) with a spicy soy glaze.

Cost is $15 per person for the general public. Reservations are recommended; to make yours call 934-4090.

Meadowcroft Wines tasting room is located at Cornerstone Sonoma, 23570 Arnold Dr., Sonoma.

<strong>Gravenstein Apple Fair Wants You:</strong> Do you make apple butter? Apple dolls? Wool items? If so, pay attention. The Gravenstein Apple Fair is looking for new local vendors. For years, most of the fair's vendors have come from beyond Sonoma County. Now the fair's producers want more local farm products, more local food vendors and more local craftspeople.

If you make something that you think fits, visit <a href="http://gravensteinapplefair.com" target="_blank">gravensteinapplefair.com</a> and fill out the farm vendor application. To participate, you must file your application by May 1.

The Gravenstein Apple Fair takes place this year on August 9 and 10 in Sebastopol's Ragle Ranch Park.

<strong>Spring Roses:</strong> The Russian River Rose Company, an oasis of beauty located at 1685 Magnolia Dr. in Healdsburg, is now open every weekend through the end of May, with lots of special activities on the calendar.

This weekend, there will be demonstrations about irises and early-blooming roses at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. Next weekend, the focus is on irises and fragrant roses.

Perfume Rose Harvest Tours kick off next Thursday, April 17, and continue for several weeks. If you love roses, especially fragrant roses, you really must attend at least once. Some people go every year.

The full schedule of tours is posted at <a href="http://russian-river-rose.com" target="_blank">russian-river-rose.com</a> and there are several options, some that include tea with rose-water-infused nibbles, a display of antique atomizers and so much more.

<strong>West End Farmers Market Hours Change:</strong> This Sunday, the West End Farmers Market (817 Donahue St., Santa Rosa) opens at 9:30 a.m. and wraps up at 12:45 p.m., to accommodate a wedding taking place at the DeTurk Round Barn.

The change is for this Sunday only. Next Sunday hours return to normal, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

<strong>Flavors of Germany:</strong> On Sunday, the Savory Spice Shop (317 D St.) of Santa Rosa hosts a class exploring the comfort cuisine of Germany. If you've always wondered what spices go into zwiebelkuchen (onion pie), this is the class for you. You'll also learn about sauerbraten and apfelstrudel.

Other upcoming classes include a Catalan Festival on April 27 and the cuisine of Provence on May 4.

Classes begin at 4:30 p.m. and typically cost $30 per person.

Reservations are required; to make yours call 284-1310.

<strong>Daily Acts Spring Fling:</strong> On Tuesday, April 15, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Lagunitas Beer Sanctuary hosts a benefit for Daily Acts, an activist nonprofit organization that specializes in transforming the world, one good action at a time. Much of the organization's work focuses on farming and related activities, such as seed swapping, permaculture design, graywater workshops and more.

The benefit features live performances by Whiskey & Circumstance and Mr. December, delicious Lagunitas brews and nibbles by Fork Catering.

Admission is $25 for adults, $10 for kids under 15 and free for kids under 6.

Lagunitas Brewing Company Beer Sanctuary is located at 280 North McDowell Blvd. in Petaluma.

<em>Michele Anna Jordan hosts "Mouthful" each Sunday at 7 p.m. on KRCB 90.9 & 91.1 FM. E-mail Jordan at michele@micheleannajordan.com. You'll find her blog, "Eat This Now," at pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com.</em>