Gravenstein Apple Fair: Juicy Fave Ahead

The sweet Sonoma summer shindig will honor pollinators.

GETTING A JOYFUL JUMP ON FALL... doesn't necessarily mean breaking out the paper skeletons, the kind with the movable joints, in the middle of July. Nor do we have to find the freaky jack o'lantern tchotkes in the basement, and all of the other stuff we truck out in early October (or, let's be honest, after Labor Day). Welcoming the fruits of fall, though, especially the actual fruits, is a tradition that happens in August in many spots, from the famous green chile harvest at Hatch in New Mexico (yep, it's a fruit) to the Gravenstein Apple Fair in Sonoma County. It's a fair that'll mark its first half-century birthday in just a few years, which makes it one of the apple-liest hoedowns in all of California. But it isn't just about the eating of pies and the cooking demonstrations at the Sebastopol shindig; Gravenstein Apple Fair will take time to honor a very important contingent in the whole apple-makery field. We speak, of course, of the...

POLLINATORS, our buzz-buzz friends who do the heavy lifting — or, scratch that, the heavy pollinating — where our favorite apples are concerned. The "In Praise of Pollinator" theme will serve as "...a timely focus" given that "...earlier this year the US Fish and Wildlife service listed bumblebees as an endangered species for the first time." No, you don't need to go home with your own bumblebee after the Aug. 12 and 13 fair — let's let them flit on, to fulfill all of the important roles they must — but you can buy some perfect tart-ready, munch-ready apples while there. And the agra-sweet to-do has more goings-on beyond apple shopping, from a mead-making demo to the weaving of a natural hive. It's farm-cool learning, with a fall breeze on the wind. And, of course, just because you start your fall celebrations in August doesn't mean Halloween has to wait; those pumpkins can make a showing even before school starts, if that's your holiday-observing pleasure.

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