A Lifestyle blog based in Sonoma County, in the heart of Wine Country. Amber is an outspoken voice for local activism, local wine tourism, and more.

Gravenstein Apple Fair, Sebastopol, August 11-12

One of the many joys of living in Sonoma County is the ability to enjoy and partake in the abundance of fresh and local produce. From the berry bush to the apple orchard, the vineyard to the dairy farm, this Sonoma County is its own microclimate of heirloom varieties.

Recently, in preparation for the Gravenstein Apple Fair (Sebastopol, August 11-12), I was able to visit the local Maloney Apple Orchard in Sebastopol. While visiting, I learned about the property and its long history: it was purchased from John Nelson (a long time apple farmer from the area) and is currently worked by the Walker family (it is not unusual to have multiple families working a farm or orchard).

Gravenstein apples have a long history in Northern California: in the early 1800's Russian immigrant-explorers planted the apple trees in Fort Ross as a way to feed settlers. The planting trend slowly trickled down to Sonoma County towns such as Petaluma and Graton. In the late 1800's local Santa Rosa horticulturist, American botanist, and overall pioneer of agricultural science, Luther Burbank, assisted in the cultivation of the Gravenstein apple for commercial sale. He believed that Sonoma County was the Gravenstein's ideal "home" due to its mild climate.

Much like vineyards, apple orchards have more than one fruit variety, and not all are ready for harvest at the same time. Gravenstein apples have a short and early harvest season and a shorter shelf life compared to most apples, making them extra special in that they may be enjoyed for a limited time. They pair well with a wide variety of flavors - both savory and sweet. My personal favorite is a sandwich I first discovered at the Gravenstein Apple Fair: a Gravenstein apple and Brie grilled cheese, sprinkled with cinnamon. The apples also work beautifully in cakes, pies, tarts, and cookies.

While Sonoma County is a famous world-class wine region, it also has deep roots in farming culture. Currently, this culture is struggling. Much like the flourishing plum trees of Dry Creek Valley that eventually gave way to rows of jammy Zinfandel grapes (which the valley is world-famous for), the Gravenstein orchards have also slowly decreased in size over the years. Production in Sonoma County is currently a tiny fraction of its historic high levels and continues to diminish as small farmers struggle to market their heirloom fruit. Thankfully, there is an organization that works to preserve and maintain these traditional practices and farming culture.

From the Pacific Shoreline to Alexander Valley, and down to Petalulma, Sonoma County is bursting with Farm-to-Table culture. On any given day of the week, there are several farmers markets in Sonoma County to attend where the bounties of this beautiful area can be savored and enjoyed, including locally grown Gravenstein apples. And while Farm-to-Table dining may now be more familiar to many of us, are you familiar with the Slow Food movement? The idea is quite similar; to support local food producers and traditional cooking, while reducing our global impact. The Slow Food Presidium works with local farmers and growers to "sustain quality production at risk of extinction, protect unique regions and ecosystems, recover traditional processing methods, safeguard native breeds and local plant varieties." Click here to watch a short video on how the Presidium is working to preserve the Gravenstein from extinction.

If you are in Sonoma County, I hope you will join me in attending the 45th Annual Gravenstein Apple Fair, and exploring all of its offerings, activities, and great food options! I personally am looking forward to all the snacks, grilled cheese sandwiches, and skincare 😄 Details for the event below. And, if you see me please be sure to come and say hello!

➤PS; for outfit details, please come back tomorrow for a full dedicated post!

Photography: Rachelle Rawlings

Gravenstein Apple Fair, Sebastopol, August 11-12

Will you be in town? If so, be sure to attend the 45th Annual Gravenstein Apple Fair:
August 11-12 at Ragle Ranch Park
Sebastopol 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Tickets are less expensive if you purchase early at GravensteinAppleFair.com
$12 for adults ($15 at the Fair), $8 for kids ($10 at the Fair)

This post was sponsored by Sonoma County Farm Trails. All photos and opinions are a true representative of my thoughts, and feelings towards this event. Sponsored content pays the rent! If you have any questions about the sponsored content I selectively choose to produce, please do not hesitate to ask :) 
© A•Mused

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A Mused Blog | A Northern California Sonoma County Blog