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Sonoma County Farm Trails BBQ, Brews and Barn Dance

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I had the great good luck this past weekend to attend an exceptionally rewarding event. The Sonoma County Farm Trails, http://www.farmtrails.org/

annual BBQ, Brews and Barn Dance. This event raises funds to help with the production of their annual autumn Gravenstein Apple Fair. http://www.gravensteinapplefair.com/ Why an apple fair? Well, there was a time when Sonoma County was known as much for it’s fine Gravenstein apples as it was for it’s wine grapes, and the Gravenstein Apple Fair celebrates that, but back to last weekend’s event.

Talk about delectable! Talk about fresh! Talk about fun! It was all there, from beginning to end. A perfect setting was provided by the Dutton Ranch Winery, just outside of the village of Graton. Surrounded by redwoods and rolling vineyards, the evening began with the smell of wood BBQ as you arrived. The evening began with a cheese and brew reception and background music. The cheeses and brews were outstanding. The live background music left a bit to be desired, but who cared; you were way too busy with the delectable cheeses and beverages – botique ales from Woodfour Brewing Co., a wide selection of Sonoma County wines and champagne, Mead from Heidrun Meadery and the Kefiry & Hector Honey Farm. Ciders were provided by Tilted Shed Ciderworks, Devoto Orchards and Ace Cider.

Incredible artisan cheeses were provided by the Cowgirl Creamery, Gypsy Cheese Co, Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery, Pugs Leap Farm, Tomales Farmstead Cheese Weirauch Farm & Creamery. All were outstanding. There were aged cheeses and bloom-ripe cheeses. There were cheeses made from goat, sheep and cows milk and with flavors that ranged from mild, almost a cream cheese to the most robust of aged cheeses – all were superb, and to accompany the cheeses, a variety of breads my Nightingale Breads, and of course fine hand pressed olive oil provided by the Preston Farm and Winery

The cheese, bread and brews alone would have been well worth the cost of admission; but there was more, much more, to come - a BBQ feast prepared by Chefs Daniel Kedan and Marianna Gardenhire.

The fabulous array began with the freshest of fresh mixed green salad with a mustard vinaigrette, provided by Laguna Farm. Hot, tender, succulent and grass fed, fresh off the farm were glazed chicken from Green Star Farm, grilled hand made lamb sausage from Weirauch Farm and perfect Tri-tip from Stemple Creek Ranch.

Now, vegetarians didn’t go a-begging, there was BBQ’d Temphe, shitake mushrooms and grilled onions from Alive & Healing, and rosemary roasted potatoes from Little Organic Farm.

Those who could still manage to waddle to the buffet table were able to further indulge in strawberry trifle from Lao’s Strawberry Stand and there was a superb hand churned buffalo milk strawberry ice cream.

As evening set in two large bonfires were lit and jolly good foot stompen’ music by Cahoots provided the vehicle by which we were able to work off a few of the calories.

Now, this menu would have been outstanding under any circumstances, but remember, every item served was local, organic, fresh off the farm and produced with a total commitment to “SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE,” and this of course is one of the goals of The Sonoma County Farm Trails.At evening’s end, after having consumed way too many delectable calories, having danced holes in my socks and having enjoyed stimulating conversation, this gal drove home; one very happy camper.

Thank you Sonoma County Farm Trails for helping to bring awareness to the concept of sustainable agriculture, shopping local and knowing how your food is produced and where it comes from.

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