Grape Tasting and More

If Sacramento is America’s farm-to-fork capital, Harvest Day 2018 is the roadmap to getting there. On Saturday, Aug. 4, hundreds of backyard gardeners will enjoy this free one-day celebration of everything that brings the home farm to the kitchen table.

The location of this annual event is the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. For those who have not visited this little-known gem, Harvest Day is the perfect opportunity. The 1-acre center, barely visible from the street, hidden behind a church and to the left of a public library, is a gardener’s paradise. A fruit-tree orchard, grape vineyard, berry patch, and vegetable and herb gardens are ripe with bounty this time of year. Other areas to leisurely wander during Harvest Day include an ornamental water-efficient landscape and a compost-demonstration area complete with bins and worms.

Among Harvest Day’s many attractions—which include scheduled speakers, demonstrations, educational booths, plant vendors and food trucks—will be the ever-popular grape tasting. You know your Thompson seedless, but have you experienced a Fiesta, Summer Royal or Black Monukka? Depending on what vines are laden with ripe fruit on Harvest Day, as many as a dozen different varieties, all grown at the horticulture center, will be available to sample. These table grapes are harvested just a few days prior to the big event, soaked, washed, air dried, separated into clusters and refrigerated until the sampling begins. Line up under the shade of a wooden arbor and get ready to choose your favorite because grapevines will be available to purchase for your own home viticulture.

Volunteer Sacramento County master gardeners have been planning and preparing for this event all year. The horticulture center, established in 1998 as a University of California Cooperative Extension project, is maintained by these dedicated experts.

Need another reason to put Harvest Day 2018 on your calendar? Master gardeners will be on hand at every cobblestone path to provide advice regarding pesky (and pest-y) garden problems, answers to burning horticultural questions and guidance on your home landscape projects, all using UC research-based practices that conserve water and energy and reduce the need for pesticides.

Harvest Day will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fair Oaks Horticulture Center, 11549 Fair Oaks Blvd.; http://sacmg.ucanr.edu.

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