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Almond Festival returns to Capay Valley

After year off, popular event celebrates spring bloom in five towns

Almond blossoms against blue sky
Almond blossoms and the crop itself are celebrated
during the Capay Valley Almond Festival this weekend.
(Photos courtesy Capay Valley Almond Festival)

It’s time to get out and enjoy the almond blossoms (if they’re still there).

This weekend marks the 107th annual Capay Valley Almond Festival, a five-town salute to this major California crop.

After canceling the festival in 2021 due to Covid restrictions, the small cities of Esparto, Capay, Brooks, Guinda and Rumsey will again host all things almond with special events Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 26 and 27. Held on the last weekend in February, the festival showcases the beauty of the almond groves in the Capay Valley while saluting this signature crop.

Started in 1915, the almond festival originally was held in October as a harvest celebration. In 1964, the then-new Esparto Regional Chamber of Commerce breathed new life into the almond fest and switched it to early spring when the blossoms are in bloom.

Will there be flowers? Unseasonably warm weather in early February brought out the blossoms very early. Then, extremely cold overnight temperatures this past week forced many almond trees to drop their flowers prematurely. Nonetheless, there still will be trees in bloom along the Capay Valley almond trail and lots of almonds (from the 2021 crop) for festival weekend.

Each town will have something different going. For example, Esparto will host music, food trucks, vendor booths and an almond bake-off Saturday. On Sunday, Esparto festivities start with a breakfast at 8 a.m. and continue all day with music, food trucks, vendor booths, carnival rides and more (including appearances by the 2022 Almond Queen and her court).

Some Capay Valley landmarks will host their own almond-themed events. Seka Hills Olive Mill in Brooks will host Almond Festival events from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Admission to most events is free. For a schedule of what’s going on when and where, check out and .


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of June 4:

Because of the comfortable weather, it’s not too late to set out tomato and pepper seedlings as well as squash and melon plants. They’ll appreciate this not-too-hot weather. Just remember to water.

* From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, melons, squash and sunflowers.

* Plant basil to go with your tomatoes.

* Transplant summer annuals such as petunias, marigolds and zinnias.

* It’s also a good time to transplant perennial flowers including astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia, salvia and verbena.

* Let the grass grow longer. Set the mower blades high to reduce stress on your lawn during summer heat. To cut down on evaporation, water your lawn deeply during the wee hours of the morning, between 2 and 8 a.m.

* Tie up vines and stake tall plants such as gladiolus and lilies. That gives their heavy flowers some support.

* Dig and divide crowded bulbs after the tops have died down.

* Feed summer flowers with a slow-release fertilizer.

* Mulch, mulch, mulch! This “blanket” keeps moisture in the soil longer and helps your plants cope during hot weather.

* Thin grapes on the vine for bigger, better clusters later this summer.

* Cut back fruit-bearing canes on berries.

* Feed camellias, azaleas and other acid-loving plants.

* Trim off dead flowers from rose bushes to keep them blooming through the summer. Roses also benefit from deep watering and feeding now. A top dressing of aged compost will keep them happy. It feeds as well as keeps roots moist.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushier plants with many more flowers in September.

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