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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 www.espartoregionalchamber.com/almond-festival-capay-valley-cache-creek-california and www.facebook.com/capayvalleyalmondfestival .


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Dig In: Garden Checklist for week of April 7

The warm wave coming this week will shift weeds into overdrive. Get to work!

* Weed, weed, weed! Whack them before they flower.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* Smell orange blossoms? Feed citrus trees with a low dose of balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) during bloom to help set fruit. Keep an eye out for ants.

* Apply slow-release fertilizer to the lawn.

* Thoroughly clean debris from the bottom of outdoor ponds or fountains.

* Spring brings a flush of rapid growth, and that means your garden is really hungry. Feed shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer. Or mulch with a 1-inch layer of compost.

* Azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? If leaves are turning yellow between the veins, give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Those leaves gather energy to create next year's flowers. Also, give the bulbs a fertilizer boost after bloom.

* Pinch chrysanthemums back to 12 inches for fall flowers. Cut old stems to the ground.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, radishes and squash. Plant onion sets.

* In the flower garden, plant seeds for asters, cosmos, celosia, marigolds, salvia, sunflowers and zinnias. Transplant petunias, zinnias, geraniums and other summer bloomers.

* Plant perennials and dahlia tubers for summer bloom. April is about the last chance to plant summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* Transplant lettuce and cabbage seedlings.

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