The Gravenstein Apple Fair, a celebration of the heirloom apple that epitomizes Sonoma County’s rural heritage and agricultural diversity, will be held Aug. 9 and 10 at Ragle Ranch Park in Sebastopol.
The beloved country fair is produced by Sonoma County Farm Trails, which for the last 41 years has been supporting agriculture by guiding consumers to farms on the county’s backroads. he Apple Fair is Farm Trails’ primary annual fundraiser, helping pay for the annual map and guide.
Besides being thoroughly entertaining for every age group, the Gravenstein Apple Fair is also educational, showcasing farm life through demonstrations, speakers, displays and products.
Fairgoers can visit the “Life on the Farm” arena, co-sponsored by Sonoma County Farm Bureau and McClelland’s Dairy, to see demonstrations of beekeeping, sheep-shearing and cow milking. Visitors can meet farmers and hear them interviewed by food personality Clark Wolf, watch a blacksmith at work, learn the art of gardening from Master Gardeners and see farm animals.
You can take a trip back in time by hopping on a horse-drawn carriage. Stuart Schroeder of Stone Horse Farm will be giving rides around the park each day starting at 12:30 p.m.
This year, the Apple Fair features a new “Farm Vendor” category. So, in addition to the colorful array of arts and crafts booths and delectable food and beverage vendors, members of Sonoma County Farm Trails will be more visible and plentiful at the fair.
As always, apples will be available by the bag or the box from Dutton Ranch and Walker Apples. Kozlowski Farms will be present with fresh baked Gravenstein pies and other and an assortment of their value-added items.
McClelland’s Dairy of Petaluma will be there with delicious butter and eggs and their precious Jersey milk cow, Maggie. Plants will be sold by Momiji Nursery Japanese Maples, Artful Arrangements and Harmony Farm Supply & Nursery, which also will have apple processing products available.
There will be honey and related goods at the booths of the Sonoma County Beekeepers Association and Bear Foot Honey. Valley Ford Mercantile & Wool Mill will bring their wool bedding and fiber creations, and Amy Chestnut’s Sonoma Wool Company will offer practical wool products for your home.
New this year is an Artisan Cheese Tent, where Farm Trails’ cheesemakers will team up with local cider makers, vintners, brewers and mead makers to talk about their crafts and provide unique pairings. For example, Gypsy Cheese Company’s award winning feta, “Gypsy Rose,” is even more magnificent if you’re sipping Heidrun Meadery’s Madras Carrot Blossom honey wine.
These experiences will be ticketed with limited seats at the table, so check out our website for the schedule, and feel free to call our office if you want to make a reservation.
The Do-It-Yourself Tent is also new. Experts will share approachable, low-tech methods and techniques for various homesteading crafts. Presentations are free in this venue and will include cheese making, home brewing, vegetable fermenting (kraut and kimchi), canning and more. Ariana Strozzi will show us how to make felt from raw wool.
Lou Preston is growing ancient grains in the Dry Creek Valley, and on Sunday afternoon he’ll talk about their revival and give a grain-threshing and bread making demonstration. Of course, experts will teach folks how to process Gravensteins– into cider, applesauce and apple rings from a solar dehydrator.
Favorite attractions and venues from previous years will be back in their usual spots: the Chef’s Tent, Old Engines Display, Beer/Cider/Wine Tent, two live music stages, apple games and contests, and an awesome Children’s Corner provided by Schulz Museum and Circle of Hands.
There will be plenty of straw bale seating and shade amongst the ambling paths and oak trees.
Plan to spend the whole day at the Apple Fair. Come hungry and count on being well-fed. Expect to find an assortment of high quality local products for your shopping pleasure.
Discounted tickets are on sale now at all Oliver’s Markets and Copperfield’s Bookstores. You can also call the Farm Trails office at 837-8896 to purchase directly. Visit the website (gravensteinapplefair.com) and “like” us on facebook to receive updates.
“We’re grateful to the amazing team of volunteers, vendors, sponsors, donors, Apple Core crew and Farm Trails members who make this sweet event possible. We hope you’ll join us for some good old-fashioned fun this August,” said Carmen Snyder, executive director of Farm Trails and manager of the Apple Fair.