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Fermentation Fun: Sunday’s Farm to Fermentation Festival promises to be bigger and better than ever, with hands-on activities, a wide array of tastings and a sauerkraut competition, open to anyone. It takes place at the Finley Community Center (2060 West College Ave., Santa Rosa) from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

New this year is a root beer float bar, hosted by The Kefiry of Sebastopol. The Kefiry makes a Triple Root Beer, which will be paired with Straus Family Creamery ice cream.

Workshops and demonstrations take place nonstop throughout the day, with homemade kimchi, umeboshi, beet kvass, cheese-making, meat-curing and digestive health among the topics. You can learn how to make your own fermented sour pickles, or sample cheeses paired with cider, mead and wine.

General admission is $25. VIP admission, which includes access to the Libation Lounge, is $45. The Madame Fromage Cheese Pairing is an additional $15 and advance tickets for this are highly recommended, as it is expected to sell out. Children aged 13 to 18 pay $15 and kids 12 and under are admitted free.

For advance tickets, visit farmtofermentation.com.

Proceeds from this year’s festival benefit Worth Our Weight Culinary Apprenticeship Program.


Caws for Paws: On Friday, August 22, Negri’s Restaurant hosts the 6th Annual Caws for Paws, a spaghetti feed that benefits Sonoma County Animal Services.

It takes place from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Admission is just $20 per person.

In addition to a spaghetti dinner, animals will be available for on-site adoption and t-shirts will be available for purchase. There is a raffle as well, with great prizes.

The Negri family donates 50 percent of the night’s proceeds to the organization.

If you’d like to make a donation but can’t attend the dinner, email twig529@yahoo.com or call 874-6006.

Negri’s Restaurant is located at 3700 Bohemian Highway in downtown Occidental.


Hardcore Hawaiian: If you haven’t visited the new Hardcore Organic Coffee, which moved across the street from its longtime locale a few months ago, Sunday offers a great opportunity, as there will be a special Aloha Sunday Sale adjacent to the coffee house. Items include leis, printed bags and towels, gently used Hawaiian clothing, decorative items for the home and garden and much more, plus all the beautiful aloha smiles you’ll receive when you buy something.

The sale takes place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the corner of Hwy. 116 and Bloomfield Rd. in Sebastopol, and is a fundraiser for Halau Hula Na Pua O Ka La’akea, a hula school under the direction of Kumu Hula Shawna Alapa’i.

Hardcore Organic Coffee, is located at 1798 Gravenstein Highway S., Sebastopol.


Venus in Blue Jeans Beer & More: On Sunday, August 24, HopMonk Tavern in Novato hosts a special dinner featuring the brews of Baeltane Brewing, also of Novato. Alan Atha, founder, brewer and co-owner, and Cathy Portje, co-owner, will be the evening’s special guests.

The evening gets started at 6 p.m., with Biere de Gardinere. An appetizer of grilled cantaloupe and prosciutto with blue cheese and tarragon comes next with Venus in Blue Jeans Strong Belgian-Style. Seafood manicotti with marinara sauce and squash blossom is paired with Fleuret Belgian-Style.

The main course, charred flank steak with slow-roasted carrots and a spinach, feta and beet salad, features Black Spot Porter alongside.

Things wrap up with crispy fried chicken wings with buckwheat waffles and maple-barley wine syrup, paired with Beleriand Barleywine.

Cost is $65 per person, which includes tax and gratuity. To reserve your spot, visit hopmonk.com or call (415)892-6200.


Adorn Yourself: On Saturday, August 23, Full Bloom Flower Farm (9516 Graton Road, Sebastopol) hosts a flower crown workshop from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

You’ll learn how to make two styles of flower crowns, using fresh greens and just-picked blossoms. All participants will take home two crowns and a bouquet of fresh flowers.

Cost of the workshop is $50 per person.

Space is limited so if you want to learn this lovely craft, which comes in handy for all manner of celebrations, from kindergarten graduation to wedding celebrations, email hedda.brorstrom@gmail.com right away.

The farm also operates what may be the only CSA for flowers — CSB, community supported bouquets — with weekly bouquets available for pick-up at Peter Lowell’s in Sebastopol.


Loving Our Apples: The celebration of our Gravenstein apple continues through the month. This Saturday, members of Slow Food Russian River will be at the Santa Rosa Original Farmers Market at 50 Mark West Springs Road, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., pressing just-picked Gravensteins and sharing samples.

The following Saturday, Aug. 30, they take the show on the road, with pressing and sampling taking place at the Point Reyes Farmers Market from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The market is held at Toby’s Feed Barn in downtown Point Reyes Station.

I’ll be joining in the celebration at both locations, with apple-inspired recipes from “Vinaigrettes and Other Dressings” (Harvard Common Press, 2014), which will be available for purchase and signing.


Sunset Supper: On Friday, Aug. 29, DaVero hosts its monthly Sunset Supper with a vegetarian extravaganza by Matteo Silverman of Chalk Hill Cookery.

As always, things begin with a reception in the garden at 6:30 p.m. At about 7 p.m., things move inside the tasting room, where guests sit at one long table and enjoy family-style service, which encourages a casual, intimate atmosphere.

Appetizers kick things off in the garden, with watermelon radish ravioli with thyme-scented cashew cheese and basil puree, a kimchee pancake with pickled seaweed, purslane and citrus-ponzu sauce and King Oyster mushroom ceviche with Meyer lemon, avocado and aji-cilantro oil, paired with 2013 Vermentino and Pollo Rosso.

At the table, a summer root vegetable salad with cold-smoked almonds, shiso, mint and lime will be paired with 2013 DaVero Estate Rosato. Next comes farro risotto croquettes with roasted summer vegetables and red curry, paired with 2011 Carignano.

For dessert, it’s a spiced Gravenstein torte with vanilla bean creme Anglaise and lemon verbena nectar, with 2013 Estate Late Harvest Moscato alongside.

Cost is $100 per person, which includes tax, gratuity and wines. Attendance is limited so if you want to join in, call 431-8000 ext. 1 for reservations. DaVero is located at 766 Westside Road in Healdsburg.


Single Malt Society Tasting: Next Friday, August 29, Michael Traverso and Fred Thumhart, founders of the Sonoma County Single Malt Society, host a tasting featuring Glenfiddich Distillery. As of press time, the tasting menu included 12-, 15-, 18-, 19- and 21-year-old malts.

Mitch Bechard, brand ambassador, will be the evening’s special guest.

Cost is $40 per person for members of the society and $60 for nonmembers. The price includes a tasting glass and nibbles, along with the spirits to be tasted.

This is the society’s third tasting this year. Seating is limited; if you want to reserve a spot, email info@sonomasinglemalt.com and be sure to include how many seats you need.

The tasting takes place at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel (170 Railroad St., Santa Rosa). Registration is at 6:30 p.m. and the tasting gets started at 7 p.m.

Michele Anna Jordan has written 17 books to date, including “Vinaigrettes and Other Dressings.” Email Jordan at michele@saladdresser.com. You’ll find her blog, “Eat This Now,” at pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com.