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<strong>Loving Your Laguna:</strong> If you're worried about the new casino's encroachment on the eastern edge of the Laguna de Santa Rosa watershed, you can alleviate some of those concerns by focusing instead on fall activities at the Laguna Foundation.

There are three events this Saturday. First, the Laguna Environmental Center hosts its monthly open house from 10 a.m to 3 p.m. There will be guided tours, hands-on activities, birdwatching and a chance to simply relax on the observation deck or shop in Heron Hall. The event is free and all you need to do is show up (and leave pets at home, as this is a working farm).

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., docents will lead an autumn amble on Lower Stone Farm, where you may spot black-crowned night herons, white pelicans, bald eagles and, if you're really really lucky, maybe a raven or two. This event is free but space is limited and registration required. To join in, call 527-9277 ext. 110 or email anita@lagunafoundation.org. Donations are always welcome.

Finally, at 3 p.m., Dr. Robert Rubin, a marine biologist and member of the foundation's board, will make a presentation about elephant seals, their history, their lives and their amazing adaptability. Admission for this 1 1/2 hour presentation is $10, payable at the door.

The Laguna Environmental Center is located at 900 Sanford Rd. in Santa Rosa.

For complete details, visit <a href="http://lagunafoundation.org" target="_blank">lagunafoundation.org</a>.

<strong>Backyard Cider!</strong> Devoto Gardens and Orchards and Slow Food Russian River have joined together this year to use Gravenstein apples from west county backyards to produce Backyard Cider, a delicious adult beverage, perfect at this time of year.

All profits from the sale of the cider will benefit The Apple Project, an on-going Slow Food Russian River endeavor to promote and preserve the county's apple orchards.

Just 60 cases of this cider were produced and sales will close on November 12. To snag some, visit devotocider.com. A full case (12 750ml. bottles) is $132; a half case is $72.

The cider will not be shipped. Instead, you will pick it up on November 14 at Devoto Gardens. Complete details are available when you place your order on the web site.

<strong>Chef Rob's Valley Wine Shack Dinners Return:</strong> Next Friday, Chef Rob Larman of Cochon Volant BBQ, hosts the first of several dinners at the Valley Wine Shack (535 W. Napa St., Sonoma).

The menu includes chopped salad with blue cheese vinaigrette, seared and smoked prime rib of beef with horseradish cream, garlic mashed potatoes and sauteed spinach and, for dessert, pear, cranberry and quince crisp with Chantilly cream.

Price is $38 per person.

Upcoming fall and winter dinners will feature cioppino, cassoulet and more.

Dinner is served from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. For reservations, call 938-7218.

<strong>A Sweet Tradition:</strong> Patisserie Angelica hosts its annual holiday open house tasting this Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. both days.

Their sweet speciaities — acorn cake, heirloom pumpkin cakes, the new ornament cakes and more — will be available for tasting, admiring and ordering. All orders placed and paid for during the open house receive a ten percent discount.

We are particularly looking forward to trying the vanilla spice cake with praline buttercream.

The ornament cakes, too, sound really good, with chocolate beet cake layered with salted caramel buttercream.

Patisserie Angelica is located at 6821 Laguna Park Way in Sebastopol.

<strong>Loving Our Farmers:</strong> There are plenty of tickets to Saturday night's "Love Your Farmer Harvest Celebration," presented by the Sebastopol Farmers Market and they will be available at the door, starting at 5 p.m.

This is great news for all of us who prefer to decide what to do at the last minute. So often community dinners require reservations weeks in advance so this last-minute opportunity is refreshing. Ms. Mouthful says, let's go!

The celebration begins at 5 p.m., with dinner around 6 p.m. There will be several guest speakers talking about the local food system, farm to school programs and distribution of local produce, along with special projects for kids and live music by some of the market's farmers.

Dinner includes pumpkin gnocchi, classic Indian cuisine and more. Local craft beer and boutique wines will flow.

Tickets are $40 each if you buy them individually and $70 for two. It's a great deal, as the price includes everything, dinner, beer, wine, speakers and music. But there's an even better deal for kids; everyrone 14 and under attends for free. How can you resist?

It all takes place at the Sebastopol Grange, 6000 Sebastopol Ave. (Highway 12).

If you want advance tickets, visit brownpapertickets.com or call 522-9305.

<strong>Crab!</strong> On Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nick's Cove Restaurant and Oyster Bar in Marshall celebrates the opening of the recreational Dungeness crab season with a huge array of activities and yummy things to eat.

Activities include a crab-catching competition that begins at 10 a.m. Both children and adults can compete for Crab King or Crab Queen and Crab Prince or Crab Princess, a reign that will last throughout the year, with names engraved on a commemorative plaque. There is no cost to compete but you must register by sending an email to dena@nickscove.com by Sunday morning. Participants must have their own equipment, too, including a boat and a license for everyone over 16.

Austin Perkins, Nick's executive chef, will offer a cooking demonstration at 11 a.m. Cost is $65 per person, which includes lunch of Dungeness crab risotto, salad, a nonalcoholic beverage and a t-shirt. Proceeds benefit the Petaluma Educational Foundation.

Finally, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., the restaurant will host a Crabby Hour, with crab-inspired cocktails and nibbles available for purchase.

Dungeness crab mac 'n cheese, Dungeness crab cakes and other crab specialities will be offered throughout the day.

Nick's Cove is located at 23240 Highway 1 in Marshall. For reservations and more information call (415)663-1033 or visit <a href="http://nickscove.com" target="_blank">nickscove.com</a>.

<strong>Goodbye, Redwood Empire Farmers Market; Hello, Santa Rosa Community Farmers Market:</strong> Two weeks ago, ownership and management of the farmers market that takes place at the Veterans Memorial Building quietly changed.

Not long after Brad Thompson of Roots of Change Farm in Sebastopol took over as sole proprietor of the Redwood Empire Farmers Market, he passed it along to Agricultural Community Events, a non-profit organization that now operates six farmers markets in Sonoma and Marin counties.

This is the third major change since the market was founded in late spring, 2012, when it took over the space vacated by the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market, now located at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts at 50 Mark West Springs Rd..

The Santa Rosa market is currently being re-organized, though it will continue in its long-time location in the east parking lot of the building and will maintain current hours, Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. year round.

The organization's other markets include Marinwood and Petaluma Eastside, which operate year round, and Downtown Novato, Fairfax and Glen Ellen, which are seasonal.


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>

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