Appetizers

It’s blossom — and almond festival — time

This food festival focuses on the beginning of a crop, not the harvest. But anyone who’s wandered the backroads of almond country knows that this is blossom season and a beautiful time to visit local orchards.

Sunday, Capay Valley goes a little nutty as it celebrates its star crop — almonds. Dating back to 1915, the annual Capay Valley Almond Festival joins together five towns on the “almond blossom trail” in a day-long culinary tour.

From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., special events will be held in Esparto, Capay, Brooks, Guinda and Rumsey. Connected by a 21-mile stretch of Highway 16, the towns each will offer almond-related events and festivities including food (of course), arts and crafts, music, dancing and more. Patrons may download a “passport” online and get it stamped at specific sites along the trail. Completed passports may be entered in a contest to win a farm-fresh dinner for two.

Festival headquarters are in Esparto at that town’s community park (on Highway 16) and coordinated by the Esparto Chamber of Commerce. Almonds and other nuts will be offered for sale. But there also will be olive oil tasting, an almond bake-off, vintage car show, family activities, book sale and many local craftspeople. Admission to most festival events are free.

For a complete schedule, click on http://www.espartoregionalchamber.com or call (530) 787-3242.

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